Afternoon and late night cravings don’t have to sabotage health. By replacing your unhealthy binges with healthy options, you can still munch out and be healthy.
It’s mid afternoon, you’ve been at work for a while, and you’ve been up for even longer. You feel a little tired and perhaps a little bored. So you start looking for something to perk you up and provide a distraction. Suddenly you can’t get the idea of chocolate or potato chips out of you head, and before you know it you’ve scoffed down a whole block of chocolate or big bag of chips.
Or perhaps it’s just been one of those days, and it doesn’t matter what you try, you need to feel the comfort of a late night junk food binge, whilst you sit in front of the TV and watch your favourite show.
We’ve all been there. But these afternoon and late night cravings don’t have to sabotage your health. By replacing your unhealthy binges with healthy options, you can still munch out and be healthy. So here are some healthy snack ideas.
Oh and by the way, healthy doesn’t always mean low calorie, since many low calorie snacks may not contain essential nutrients and can still leave you hungry and craving for more.
CHEAT FOOD: Soft drinks
OK, so technically this is not a food, but it’s really important, and it’s definitely worth mentioning. The average can of soft drink contains about ten teaspoons of sugar and more than 150 calories. And regardless of whether it’s sweetened with sugar or artificial sweeteners it also contains phosphoric acid, which erodes tooth enamel and can leach calcium from your bones. There is nothing nutritional in a soft drink!
FOOD YOU CAN EAT: 100% fresh juices and smoothies
Fresh juices and smoothies make a great snack. They are nutritious, delicious, and relatively easy to prepare. Additionally, there are endless combinations of flavours you can put together. By mixing different types of fresh fruits and vegetables together, you can invent a different flavour for every day of the week if you choose. And if you’re on the go, you can always get a fresh juice or smoothie from a juice bar or café. Just remember, the key to making healthy juices is to make green vegetables the bulk of every serving.
CHEAT FOOD: Fries and potato chips
Not only do these tasty foods contain high levels of trans fat, the artery-clogging fat that’s been linked to raising bad cholesterol (and lowering the good kind), and increasing the risk of heart disease and stroke, but also when potatoes are baked or fried at high temperatures, they produce acrylamide, a cancer causing carcinogen and neurotoxin!
FOOD YOU CAN EAT: Raw nuts, seeds, and popcorn
Any kind of raw nut or seed is a great source of protein, fibre, vitamins and minerals. Or for a little variety, try a trail mix. A trail mix can be homemade with healthy choices, like raisins and dried fruit, and mixed raw nuts. My favourite supercharged trail mix combo is goji berries, raw cacao nibs, and raw almonds. The possibilities are endless!
Popcorn also makes a great snack as it is low in calories. You can pretty much eat all of the plain popcorn you want, and it will not make much of a difference as far as your waistline goes. A great choice for a home movie night!
CHEAT FOOD: Sweets, cookies, biscuits, cakes and pastries
These foods are really bad for us, even when they are vegan, because we can just never seem to get enough of them! They are loaded with trans fat and sugar that have absolutely no nutritional value, and they often contain preservatives and other artificial additives. Actually, most commercially baked goods typically contain more trans fat than any other food because not only are they often made with hydrogenated oils, they’re fried in them too.
FOOD YOU CAN EAT: Fruit and dark pure chocolate
Try fresh or dried fruit. You’ll get vitamins, minerals, fibre, enzymes and other healthy nutrients, along with the sweetness you’re craving.
Pure dark chocolate (cacao) is loaded with key neurotransmitters like serotonin, dopamine, and phenylethylamine (PEA), which are associated with feelings of well-being. These neurotransmitters also help suppress your appetite and food cravings. But remember quality over quantity is the key here.
Fiona Halar is a wholefood nutritionist, whose aim is to inspire others with engaging ideas, perceptive insights and passionate action to create vibrant health, and live ecologically sustainable and compassionate lives. Follow Fiona on Facebook
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