Better alternatives to our favourite treats…

Better alternatives to our favourite treats…

No one needs or wants to eat perfectly all the time.  The 90/10 rule is a more realistic ‘guideline’ to live by.  If you are eating healthy most of the time, there is nothing wrong with the occasional splurge.  It’s all about balance!

We all have those moments when we want crunchy chips, a bubbly can of pop or a sweet and rich chocolate bar.   Have it in moderation becasue restricting foods, as we all know, can lead to binges that we end up regretting.

However, if moments of ‘giving in to cravings’ are starting to become the ‘norm’, listen to your body, something is out of balance.

Here are some healthier alternatives to your favourite snacks that will provide you with more nutrition so that you can give your body what it needs to get back into balance.

1.  Instead of milk chocolate, choose dark chocolate that has at least 70 percent cocoa.  Did you know that your craving for chocolate is sometimes your body’s way of telling you that you are low in magensium?  Or, it could be an emotional craving which is a whole other blog. 🙂  A small amout of dark chocolate should do the trick.  Dark chocolate is naturally high in flavanoids which have been found to lower cholesterol levels and are good for heart health.  Even better, try raw cacao.  Raw cacao is unprocessed and is considered a super food.  It’s high in immune boosting antioxidants. The serving size for chocolate is 1 oz which is the size of 2 dice.  If you are craving chocolate ‘every day’ then add a tbsp of raw sunflower seeds for their magnesium content, to see if this helps.

Or, give these black bean brownies a try.

2. Chips – Well, there are some great options to chips out there right now.  Try baked lentil chips as they are higher in protein and fiber and lower in saturated fat.  A serving of lentil chips will give you 3 grams of fiber and 4 grams of protein.  The higher the fiber and protein, the more balanced your blood sugars will be and hence fewer ups & downs and subsequent cravings.  Stick with the sea salt flavour to avoid artifical colourings and flavourings.  A shorter ingredient list is usually a better choice.  Better yet, dip them in hummus or refried beans for added protein and fiber goodness.

Or, try kale chips.  They can be purchased at health food stores like Organic Garage and Whole Foods but are quite pricey at $7 a bag. But, they are simple to make and worth the effort…try these BBQ kale chips.  Maybe some roasted chickpeas?  Or, simply brush a tortilla (whole wheat or brown rice) with some coconut oil and sprinkle with sea salt and bake for about 10 minutes, or until crispy, for a delicious chip-like snack.  If you are craving salt more than ever, this could be a signal that your adrenals are taxed and you may want to see your naturopath or doctor.  Adrenal Fatigue Blog

3. Pop – We know that sugar and aspratame (carcinogen) are not good for us – so if you must have pop, then try healthier versions sweetened with stevia to satisfy those cravings for bubbly, caffeinated sweetness.  Zevia and Krisda are available at many health food stores in the area.  I would encourage you to slowly wean pop out of your diet as they interfere with they way our bodies absorb calcium which is important to growth and aging well.

Try a green drink instead. It will provide you with the energy and sweetness that you need with loads of nutrition.  There are so many to choose from like Genuine Health’s greens plus drinks or Vital Greens (naka).  Or try your own bubbly drink by mixing perrier with a splash of fruit juice and stevia to taste.  Greens Smoothie

4. Ice cream – It is usually the smooth, sweet and fatty texture that we are craving.  So try coconut yogurt, *Greek yogurt (goat milk yogurt is easier to digest) or kefir with a sprinkle of stevia, cocoa powder and walnuts.  So good.

Or, you can try making your own ice cream by blending a banana with a pinch of nutmeg, stevia and some ice cubes.  Add a splash of coconut milk and freeze.  You can experiment with this one.  Try adding cocoa powder, cinnamon, dark chocolate chips, almond butter, vanilla or whatever your heart desires.  Enjoy!  Dairy Free Ice Cream

*remember to read the label as you will want one with low sugar (less than 4 grams), lower saturated fat and preferrably one that is organic.  Liberty has a good organic variety.

Linda Ljucovic, Registered Holistic Nutritionist, Balance Point Health Centre, Oakville

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