Cravings Food Swaps
If, despite reading the posts on The Whys and Wherefores of Cravings and Curb those Cravings you still have a craving but don’t want to fall victim to processed, low nutrient foods, this post is for you. Cravings usually fall into 4 main categories: sugar and carbohydrates, salty foods, chocolate and cheese or creamy foods (ie: high fat foods). But what if you could sate your craving without sabotaging your health? Here are some ideas for how to do just that:
Sugar and Carbohydrates
This category includes all fast releasing carbohydrates including savoury foods made from processed ingredients as well as sweet foods. So think crisps, biscuits, cakes, confectionary, white pasta, white bread, many breakfast cereals and cereal bars and most fast foods.
If you are craving these it probably means your blood sugar needs a lift. These fast releasing foods will give you a quick spike in blood sugar, closely followed by a crash when you’ll need another pick me up.
Sugar cravings can also be a sign of dehydration so always drink something before eating.
Swap the refined and processed carbs for combinations of complex carbohydrates and protein:
- Protein bars
- Trail mixes
- Fruit and nuts
- Oat cakes with hummous
- Protein powder stirred into almond milk
Here’s a delicious smoothie that should hit the spot:
Almond Hemp Chocolate Smoothie
250ml almond milk
2 tbsp hemp protein powder
100g blueberries or strawberries
1 tsp raw cacao powder
2 tsp bee pollen (optional)
- Blend all the ingredients together and sip slowly.
Salt cravings can be a sign that your adrenal glands are working under par. The adrenal glands are responsible for your stress response so can get depleted if stress is on-going. They also help to control water and electrolyte balance in the body. Sodium is an essential nutrient but it is often found in excess quantities in processed foods and snack foods. When your body wants salt you may reach for salted snack foods, crisps, salted nuts or chips.
Swap for foods containing:
- Rock salt, sea salt or Himalayan crystal salt which contain a broader range of minerals than table salt.
- Tamari and miso – both are fermented soya bean products that add saltiness as well as umami to foods.
Here’s a recipe for salty seeds that will hit the spot and be satisfying and nutritious than any bag of crisps:
100g pumpkin seeds
100g sunflower seeds
50g sesame seeds
1 dsp tamari soy sauce
- Put all the seeds into a heavy bottomed frying pan. Heat gently until the seeds just begin to colour, stirring frequently.
- Add the tamari (it will sizzle dramatically!), turn off the heat and stir well to coat all the seeds in the tamari.
- Transfer to a bowl to cool. Once cooled store in an air tight container. Use as a snack or sprinkle onto salads or cooked grains.
Craving chocolate can indicate a need for an energy boost. Chocolate usually contains plenty of sugar and fat as well as caffeine, all of which may give you an initial boost followed by a slump.
Swap high sugar chocolate for:
- Raw cacao and cacao nibs.
- Hot chocolate made with cacao powder and almond milk.
- Cacao smoothies
- Cacao fruit and nut energy balls
- Healthy snack bars.
Here’s how to make your own healthy snack bars…
Chocolate Hemp Protein Bars Recipe
3 tbsp coconut flour
½ cup of oat flakes or buckwheat flakes
2 tbsp cacao powder
½ tsp Himalayan salt
4 tbsp hemp protein powder
4 tbsp almond butter
2 tbsp hazelnuts
½ cup of dried figs, chopped
- Put the coconut flour in bowl with ½ a cup of water. Leave to sit for 10-15 minutes.
- Put the oat flakes or buckwheat flakes, cacao powder, salt and hemp protein powder into the food processor with the S blade. Add the coconut flour paste and blend briefly.
- Add the almond butter, hazelnuts and figs and blend to combine the ingredients. It does not need to be completely smooth so don’t overdo the blending.
- Line a shallow baking dish and spread the mixture into it. Cover and refrigerate for a few hours. Once set cut into bars. Store wrapped or covered in the fridge.
Cheese or Creamy Foods
Craving high fat foods may indicate a need for the essential fats which are vital for many aspects of body function.
Swap creamy foods for:
- Nuts and seeds
- Nut butters
- Cold pressed oils
- Cashew nut cream
1 ripe avocado, peeled and stoned
1 tbsp vegan pesto
Pinch of cayenne pepper
1 tbsp lime juice
½ tsp Himalayan crystal salt
Freshly ground black pepper
- Blend or mash the avocado, pesto, cayenne, lime juice, salt and pepper.
- Serve with oat cakes or vegetable crudités or use as a filling in tortilla wraps, nori or lettuce.