“A diet high in refined carbohydrates and low in fibre and protein is likely to lead to cravings,” says Lauren Walsh, Head Dietitian at Best10. “Cravings are generally caused by rapid increases or drops in blood sugar. So to alleviate those highs and lows in general, it is best to eat a well-balanced, portion-controlled diet with lots of lean proteins, veggies, fruit and fibre. Let’s also not forget about the importance of exercise, water and sleep”.
With this being said, we also understand that there will be those days when cravings hit, especially when setting out on a new lifestyle journey. Allow your body time to reach its equilibrium – you don’t have to completely deprive yourself – there are healthier alternatives to take the edge off.
The most important thing to consider when choosing a snack is combining two different food groups as this helps to lower the impact on blood sugars. This means a fat with a carb or protein, or a carb with a protein. For example, if you’re thinking of snacking on some fruit (carbs), try to have it with a little bit of yoghurt (protein) or some nuts (fat).
Despite the higher carb and calorie content in dates compared to fresh fruit, dates have a great nutrition profile which consists of fibre, protein, potassium, magnesium, copper, iron and vitamin B6. Fibre aids in slowing digestion and helps in reducing increased blood sugar levels after eating.
To make this an even more sustainable snack, pair 4 pitted dates with 1 tbsp of nut butter (contains fat & protein). (Serves 1)
Yoghurt is a healthy snack that aids in regulating your appetite and controlling your cravings because it is high in protein. It’s also high in calcium, vitamins and probiotics which enhance gut bacteria, offer protection for bones and teeth, prevent digestive problems and boosts immunity.
For a delicious yoghurt snack, try combining 1/2 cup plain low-fat yoghurt with 1 tbsp chia seeds (contains fat) and 1 tsp honey (contains carbs). Mix and allow to soak for 3 hrs. (Serves 1)
Berries are a great, nutritious choice to curb sugar cravings. They are sweet-tasting but low in calories and high in fibre. Additionally, berries are high in plant compounds and have strong antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. This means that when eaten as part of a healthy diet, the risk of developing chronic diseases like diabetes and heart disease is reduced.
If you’re looking for an alternative to ice cream, look no further. Mix 2 cups of frozen berries, 1/2 cup plain low-fat yoghurt and 1 tsp vanilla essence in a food processor. Serve soft or transfer to an airtight container and freeze for at least 3 hours or overnight. Store it in the freezer for up to 2 weeks. (Serves 2)
Almonds are full of omega- 3 fatty acids, which are excellent for the heart and brain as well as a great source of protein and fat. Additionally, almonds are also loaded with a hormone (tryptophan) that has a soothing effect on the brain and helps you sleep better. Cinnamon may also help lower blood sugars, so we can’t think of a more perfect combo.
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius (356F). Mix 1 cup of raw almonds, 1/2 tbsp honey, 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon, and a pinch of salt in a bowl. Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray, spread almonds evenly on the pan and bake for 10 minutes. So simple, so delish and it contains all the nutrients to curb a craving. (Serves 4)