Friday, August 10, 2012

3 alternatives to high-calorie cravings

Trying get healthy can be a REAL bummer. I mean, I don't get to indulge in all my favorite food vices: juicy cheeseburgers with heaping mounds of hot salt n' peppered french fries, big fluffy pancakes dripping in syrup, or hot fresh-outta-the-oven cookies. BIG BUMMER.

And while I'm all for keeping to a consistent diet low in fat, sugar and carbs, I also believe that life is short and I don't want to feel like I'm depriving myself. So my solution is alternatives. Things that give me the same feeling of indulgence that some of my favorite cravings do but with less of the bad stuff.

Please note: In no way shape or form am I saying that the items below are "good for you." If you had them every day and didn't exercise, you'd gain weight. Easily. BUT, they are good alternatives - the lesser of two evils if you will - if you have an intense craving. Especially for sweets which will break the bank on sugar and fat content if you're not careful. [End disclaimer.]

Below I've outlined three of my biggest cravings/food weaknesses and the alternative solution I've come up with for each. Maybe it's something that will be helpful to some of you out there!

[Starbucks photo source]
// Craving: Starbucks //

I'll be honest, my Starbucks craving comes with its own set of psychological factors too - wanting to get out of the house, the artificial sense of motivation, the feeling of having that green-logod cup in my hand - but at the very base level is a need for that sweet caffeine. My normal order before all of this would have been an Iced Grande Hazelnut Latte. I could easily go three or four times in one week. For a while I downsized to a Tall (like that was going to make a huge difference...) and even changed to soy milk but the more I thought about it, there's really no way around avoiding the sweetness and unnecessary calories (unless your one of those I-enjoy-bitter-disgusting-black-coffee aliens. I don't trust you people.)

// Alternative: Iced Hazelnut Coffee w/ Vanilla Protein Powder & Almond Milk //

(or as I like to refer to it to our home barista [myself], it's an Iced Hazelnut Vanilla Almond Latte. What? You can take the girl out of the Starbucks but you can't take the Starbucks out of the girl.)

In the morning now I whip up a quick cup of Hazelnut flavored coffee in our Tassimo (love that it's so fast) and I add a scoop and half of my vanilla protein powder. It kind of acts as a sweetener and thickens it up slightly like a non-dairy creamer. Now I'm a big Latte fan and love the milky-ness of my old Sbux latte order. But by adding almond milk I get no dairy and it's easier on the stomach (and the thighs.) I mix it all up in a big glass and add ice! I have a nice kick of caffeine and some protein in the morning. Perfecto!

{shoutout to Madalyn for making me try the protein powder in coffe thing! It's my new go-to!}

[Ice cream image source]
// Craving: Ice Cream (slash really any dessert or anything sweet.) //

I miss cookies. I miss cupcakes. I miss brownies. I miss ice cream. I miss cheesecake. I miss it all! I have a KILLER sweet tooth, but when I'm craving something sweet and decadent, this tides me over.

// Alternative: Peanut Butter Banana Protein Smoothie //

Now like I said, don't go swigging these down twice a day or anything, but for one of my "snack"meals I will blend one of these up and it's the same satisfaction as a milkshake. One whole banana, 2-3 scoops protein powder, one small spoonful of peanut butter (I get the low sodium natural peanut butter and you don't have to use a ton because it goes a long way) ice and almond milk or water. Blend until perfectly icy and thick. If I'm feeling like I need a little extra indulgence, I add a few dark chocolate chips.

Better for you than a bowl of ice cream or the entire tin of brownies (which I could EASILY clear in one sitting.)

[Popcorn image source]
// Craving: Movie snacks - popcorn, Diet Coke, M&Ms //

As most of you know, Jason and I are movie addicts. We probably average seeing a movie a week or so in the theaters. It's a bit much but it's totally our thing and we love it. Even crazier is that when we used to go to the movies, we would get a large popcorn, Diet Coke and pack of M&Ms to share. Like.... I don't even want to know how many calories that is. Bad news bears. But obviously now that we can't do that anymore, when snacking during a movie is engrained in your routine, you can't help but feel like something's missing when it's not there. What's a movie lover to do?

// Alternative: Almonds, Grapes, Water, TicTacs //

I know that list above sounds awful compared to salty popcorn and sweet candy, but I've found that key here is about bringing things that give you that same "snacking" feeling. Natural, unsalted almonds are great because you can kind of eat a few at a time and same with grapes. The almonds bring the savory taste and the grapes bring the sweet. Also we make sure we bring two big Camelbaks of ice cold water because just sipping on water can be good for food cravings. Lastly, Jason has this theory about TicTacs. He calls it "dessert." We all know they're pretty flavorless little mints but again there's something about being able to eat like five at a time that tides you over a bit. Who knows.

Anyway, there you have it. These are completely unscientific things we've integrated into our lives but it helps me feeling like I'm not completely depriving myself.

// Do you have any healthy alternatives you've come up with that replace some of your cravings? //

1 comment:

  1. another great article!!!! love what you write!! your such an inspiration!!