If you’re trying to lose weight, stocking problem foods in the house is the same as it would be for an alcoholic to stock a cabinet full of liquor. Bringing that food in the home keeps you enslaved to its calling every time you have a craving. Let’s face it – it makes it impossible to lose weight and keep it off for good.
The best place for problem foods to stay is on the shelf at the grocery store…or convenience store, or restaurant.
But what about cravings?
Unfortunately it’s impossible to leave cravings at the store with the unhealthy foods they usually require. However, there are ways to get “the fix” you’re looking for from healthier foods. Overtime these foods will make it easier for you to ignore the catcalls from the Oreos next time you walk down the cookie isle.
Problem Food and Their Healthier Counterparts
One cup of baked zucchini fries packs only 34 calories, but is chock full of antioxidant Vitamins A, C, and folate. One cup of French Fries packs 126 calories. Both fries have 2 grams of fiber. To make zucchini fries, slice 1 fresh zucchini and bake at 400 degrees for 13 minutes. Sprinkle with 1 Tbsp cheese.
Fix your chocolate craving with 2 tablespoons of our chocolate fruit dip. After eating a plateful of strawberries, blackberries and raspberries, you won’t crave the candy bar anymore. You’re also counting up 9 grams of fiber for around 150 calories. By contrast, the candy bar has only 1 gram of fiber and 250 calories.
When you crave a pastry, you want something crunchy, sweet, and most of the time fruity. So why not try these Wasa crackers with banana and a drizzle of honey. You can even add a thin layer of Greek yogurt if you want more creaminess. Instead of one pastry, you can enjoy 3 crackers. It all amounts to 4g of fiber and 229 calories. A peach turnover has 290 calories and just 1 gram of fiber.
Instead of regular ice cream, try blending up some frozen fruit, or give our Avocado Ice Cream a try. You can have 3 scoops of the avocado ice cream for about 150 calories and 6g of fiber. Regular ice cream has upwards of 200 calories in 3 scoops and 0g of fiber. But it’s really the healthy fat from the avocado and antioxidants from the pears that will always make this the better choice.
Looking at the numbers alone between potato chips or 48 pistachios, there isn’t really a difference. Both servings are 160 calories. Potatoes have 1g of fiber and the nuts have 3. But the real distinction comes in the nutrition of the food. Potato chips are high in saturated fat are the type of food that increases bad cholesterol. By contrast, the pistachios actually lower bad cholesterol and contain lutein, a compound that decreases the risk of heart disease.
Cheez-Itz Crackers are a quick on the go snack that packs 180 calories in one serving. You can enjoy 28 peanuts for 167 calories and three times the amount of fiber (3g). Eating peanuts has also been linked to a lower risk of coronary heart disease by lowering the levels of bad cholesterol and triglycerides. In the diet realm, people that enjoy peanuts/or peanut butter vs. other snacks report feeling fuller longer and needing less of the snack to feel full.
Portion controlled pieces of cake have become the rage in many bakeries. But they still pack overwhelming amounts of calories. This piece of cake packs a whopping 320 calorie and 1g of fiber. By contrast a mini piece of angel food cake with a cup of strawberries and ¼ cup of blackberries and raspberries has 158 calories and 8g fiber. Not to mention the quick injection of phytochemicals your system gets – those nutrients that keep cells from getting damaged and dying.
Air popped popcorn is actually a great healthy option. It’s what goes ON the popcorn that can deduct points from its benefits. Keep it simple by giving it 5 sprays of olive oil spray and sprinkling with a tiny bit of seasoned salt. Eat 2 cups of this instead of cheese puffs and you get less than ½ the calories (70) and twice the fiber 2.4g.
Try this next time you crave a fizzy drink. Squash 4 fresh raspberries and put them in a cup with ice, then top off with some mineral water. For only 18 calories and 2 g of fiber you’re getting a deliciously cool drink. Most sodas pack at least 160 calories in just 8 oz, not to mention all the sugar and sugar alternatives that are not waistline friendly.
It’s hard to ever stop at just 1 cookie. And each cookie usually packs around 120 calories. Turns out that dry figs satisfy the craving we have for cookies. 3-4 dry figs are only about 84 calories and can have anywhere from 3-4g of fiber. Figs also curb acid levels in the body, and aid in red blood cell production making them a good choice for those suffering from anemia. Figs are also a natural aphrodisiac.
Dark chocolate is actually full of antioxidants and minerals: copper, magnesium, potassium, and iron. It increases blood flow to the brain (improving cognitive function) and it can help lower blood pressure. Three squares have 3g of fiber and 170 calories. Just 1 brownie has 250 calories. To reap the health benefits of dark chocolate make sure that it contains at least 72% cocoa. All other chocolate is simply glorified candy.
One slice of good old-fashioned pie packs around 350 calories and a measly 1g of fiber. But you can get the same taste and texture by substituting canned fruit topped with granola. In this case, we used 3 halves of canned peaches with 3 tablespoons of granola for 250 calories and 6g of fiber.