Four healthy swaps to keep your cravings in check
When you've decided to clean up your diet and start taking your nutrition more seriously, the first couple of weeks are usually the easiest. It's new, it's exciting, and you're still highly motivated to do what you need to be doing.
But once that period is over, and you've committed to not eating certain things that you used to, something comes along to throw a monkey wrench into your diet plans.
The part of your brain where cravings originate also deals with memory, pleasure, and reward. Cravings happen partly because your body misses certain nutrients from the foods you've given up, but more importantly, it misses the feeling that those foods provide. You've trained it to anticipate certain things at certain times, but there's good news: you can untrain it too.
There are certain foods that can replicate the taste and comfort of those more fattening foods, while also keeping your diet on track. Here are five food switches you should make right now to stop cravings from ruining your plan.
Swap french fries for roasted potatoes
Especially during the summer holidays, there will be a lot of opportunities to take down some french fries. Friends will invite you over for burgers, barbeque, and wings, and the french fries will call to you every time. But throw some salt and pepper on some Mealfit roasted potatoes and you can have a much healthier option that still satisfies that need for potato deliciousness.
Greek yogurt for sour cream and mayonnaise
Sour cream goes great on those summertime tacos, and who doesn't love mayonnaise on their burger? The problem with both of these is that they're high in saturated fat and can have an obscenely high calorie content for a small serving size. Greek yogurt not only has less fat than either of these two but also has a solid amount of protein and probiotic cultures for your gut. It can fit the same flavor profile as sour cream and mayonnaise and can satisfy the craving without destroying your progress.
Swap pasta for zucchini noodles
We love pasta. Pasta is delicious and can be a very good source of carbohydrates, but it can also be the undoing of a good diet, especially if it's consumed in butter or other high-fat oils. Using vegetable noodles can be a way to keep your favorite pasta dishes like spaghetti and scampi in your diet without using up your entire daily caloric budget. We have an excellent article on our blog about how to make zucchini noodles for your next guilt-free pasta indulgence.
Use better salad dressings
Most people won't even eat veggies at all without some sort of dressing on top of them. And if you're one of those people, getting them down in higher quantities for your new diet plan is going to take a little bit of incentive. But when you feel yourself starting to crave salad just as an excuse to use the dressing you bought at the store, you need to be careful. Most dressings, even if they're fat-free, contain some sort of processing agent (like MSG) to help them keep longer or taste better, which can add calories and mess with the breakdown of the vegetables' key nutrients. Use Mealfit's made-from-scratch ranch or strawberry vinaigrette dressing as a healthy alternative to satisfy that craving.
- Thomas Cox