Today, a healthy lifestyle is considered important for anyone. Every day more people join this movement by noticing the shocking benefits they produce by maintaining the proper well-being of the body and mind.
We all love to eat whatever we want at the time we want, without thinking about the long-term consequences for our health but, if we want to start a healthy lifestyle, one of the first steps is to control and set aside those rampant cravings for processed foods, sweets with high calories, refined fats and sugars, soda and excess carbohydrates. All these meals are “empty” because they do not provide essential nutrients for the body, they take away energy during the day, cause difficulty in falling asleep and keep us from our goal of staying healthy.
Eating healthy does not have to be boring and monotonous, it is a myth, just as everything we eat as healthy as it should always be in moderation, remember that all foods have a certain contribution of calories, carbohydrates, and sodium that you should moderate, the important thing is to find the ideal balance for you.
Therefore, I want to share healthy foods that you can consume when you have a craving. These foods will improve your physical and mental health, decrease anxiety levels, produce satiety by providing your body with vitamins, antioxidants, proteins, fibers and thousands of other benefits … Ready to meet them?
- Drink water
The hours during the day pass quickly and when we realize we have not drunk water, the vital liquid to keep our organs functioning properly. Being dehydrated increases anxiety and the desire to eat the first thing we imagine. Currently, there are many applications for mobile or tablet, which can remind us to drink water during the day to cover our daily water requirement.
You can accompany your meals of the day with water or if you feel like it, each food that I will provide in this article to control cravings can be eaten with a glass of water, you will notice how good you will feel.
- Natural fruits
The natural fruit is sweet and pleasant to the palate, few are those who refuse it, therefore, they are a great option when you have a sugar craving.
The fruit is an extremely nutritious snack with an excellent flavor that will give you energy for having an ideal caloric intake. Natural fruits help prevent cardiovascular diseases due to the high content of fiber, antioxidants and plant compounds beneficial to your health. Preferably, fruits such as banana, papaya or mango, you can eat them before 5 in the afternoon if you want to lose weight. If you want a wonderful explosion of antioxidants for your body the ideal ones are blackberries, strawberries, blue or red blueberries, raspberries, and cherries.
You can eat a handful or 300 grams of your favorite fruits for breakfast, along with lunch or in the afternoon. Mix them and enjoy it!
- Healthy fats
Although fats have had a bad reputation in the past, experts have finally realized that healthy fats are great for the body. The best fats you can add to your diet are avocado; extra virgin olive oil; and foods rich in omega 3 fatty acids, such as nuts, fish, seeds and green leafy vegetables. A rich and healthy snack, if you are at home or to take to the office, is a toast of Ezekiel bread, avocado, and feta cheese or if you are a lover of the sweet touch at meals, you can add a teaspoon of organic honey on top.
Another option if you want something that does not take up much space in your bag is a handful of natural nuts without added salt (almonds, nuts, pistachios, peanuts).
- Greek yogurt
For ice cream lovers, you can substitute that caloric craving for Greek yogurt. It has a creamy taste, but it is also very healthy because it is a good source of calcium, B vitamins, and probiotics. This combination will bring benefits to your bones by calcium and helps your gastrointestinal system, thanks to the content of probiotics that improve bowel movement (peristalsis) and prevents episodes of constipation.
To the Greek yogurt of your choice, you can add fresh fruit or nuts that add an extra delicious flavor and additional nutrients.
- Drinks with powerful antioxidants
They are ideal for controlling calories, provides the energy needed to continue the routine of the day or just relax and enjoy a good time. Coffee or the infusion of your choice will help you control anxiety and give you satiety because, when consumed, they cause the increase in “the hormone of fullness” known in the world of science and medicine as a YY peptide. This hormone is responsible for suppressing appetite, therefore, consuming some of these drinks will help you reduce calories and lose weight.
You can drink decaffeinated coffee without sugar or any variety of tea infusion that you like (ginger, mint, green, black, red fruits, chamomile) and will be a great source of antioxidants.
- Protein Bar
These well-known bars are indispensable for those people who go to the gym and want to increase or maintain muscle mass but, they are also ideal to eat as a snack and to satisfy the sugar craving you have. The variety of flavors are incredible, from chocolate bars to cinnamon roll flavor, you will feel that you are eating your favorite dessert but with caloric and nutritional contribution beneficial to your body. It is important to read the nutritional table and choose a protein bar that can meet these standards:
- Caloric contribution of 220 or less.
- 20 grams or more of protein.
- 1 gram of sugar or less and sweetened with Stevia
- 10 grams or more of fiber.
You can eat it in the middle of the morning or in the afternoon, it is also a good option to eat it as a dessert after lunch.
- Dark Chocolate
If your passion is chocolate, you can try to exchange milk chocolate for a small amount of dark chocolate. Dark chocolate made with 70% cocoa is a delight, the flavor is so intense that it produces satisfaction and also, it contains a lot of antioxidants that make dark chocolate one of the best choices to cover your cravings. You want to know more? Dark chocolate with 70% cocoa is recommended by cardiologists to improve cardiovascular health.
As I mentioned earlier, nothing in excess is beneficial to the body. If you want to enjoy the antioxidant and cardioprotective properties of chocolate, you should consume a small amount a day can be in the middle of the morning or in the afternoon.
The ideal consumption per day is 40 grams and you can have a good glass of water, you will see how it will become your favorite moment of the day.
- Peanut Butter
Natural fruits spread with a teaspoon of natural peanut butter without added salt, has become a popular snack among people who follow a healthy diet for a few years. This healthy craving substitute provides vitamins, minerals and fiber found in the fruit, as well as healthy fats, proteins and beneficial plant compounds found in peanuts.
Eating a small amount of peanut butter with fruit can be the perfect way to satisfy the desire for sweet and provide a crunchy texture to the palate.
I am 99% sure that we are all lovers of this snack but I propose a homemade and healthy option to avoid unnecessary calories and fat. Popcorn contains only 31 calories per cup, if you want to eat 100 grams you will get a caloric intake of 350 and 395 calories, of course, all this if you avoid oil or butter at the time of cooking. If any of the mentioned ingredients is provided, the amount rises to 55 calories per cup. Being a whole grain snack, they provide much more fiber than any other. To be more specific, the fiber it provides is approximately 8 grams per 100 grams. In this sense, it is a good snack to help and regulate our digestive system. It is a good source of antioxidants, thanks to its high concentration in polyphenols so they are good for fighting free radicals and for the body in general.
Another favorable aspect is that they do not contain gluten, therefore it is a food suitable for coeliacs. We must emphasize that they offer the necessary energy because they produce complex carbohydrates, they are also low in fat and have no additives or preservatives (as long as we do not add them, of course).
They also make you feel happy…
It is scientifically proven that in the gluten-free whole grain there is enough serotonin to create a relaxing effect that ensures you are in a good mood while eating them.
And last but not least, it offers satiety and tends to eliminate hunger, surely we have checked it when we have eaten a bag in the theater, although these would not be the healthiest.
You can take 100 grams and place them in a machine to make popcorn or in a pan with a lid, deep enough to let them grow freely. Do not add butter or oil salt and you will have the perfect afternoon snack.
- Cottage cheese
Cottage cheese is a product made from dairy products with a smooth, unctuous flavor with a rich texture, low in calories and very nutritious. Despite containing only 163 calories per cup, it contains calcium, vitamin B12, vitamin B2 (riboflavin) and approximately 70% protein. The high protein content and low caloric content of cottage cheese can make it a very good snack option, especially if you want to lose weight. Concerning the previous information, it has been shown that the high protein consumption of dairy products such as cottage cheese helps people feel full longer, which could help them eat less and lose weight.
You can spread the cottage cheese on an Ezequiel whole wheat toast and add a teaspoon of olive oil on top and a little pepper or chili flakes, this will give a unique flavor.
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For Moms By Moms
I am Dr. Christiana Stephen, a wife, a mom of 4 under 4 year old kids, a photo lover, makeup artist, a wellness coach and a lecturer. Motherhood for me is ongoing, its a period of learning and unlearning. I am passionate about a lot of things but most importantly helping mothers around the world reach their wellness goals comes as top priority. Hence, I have created this community for every woman out there. Feel free to be part of this amazing journey of motherhood and wellness. I will say raising this community is inspired by my experience and learning process. The main essence is to empower moms on the benefits of healthy living as well as the need to create a life work balance.
I am nice so a lot of people say and I believe I am very approachable even when there is a lot to be done. I love teaching. I can teach on a lot of things including time and stress management.