How to take control of your salty and sweet cravings

You know the feeling; It’s 3:30 pm at work and there’s still a couple of hours to go, but the urge to get to the vending machine and grab a piece of candy is palpable. So why do we have such an intense meal cravings? And more importantly, how can you take control before demolishing an entire day’s calories in a matter of minutes?

Food cravings can be caused by timing, nutritional insufficiency, fluctuating blood glucose levels, or even boredom. One of the biggest problems with trying to manage a craving is that feeding the whim with more of the same stimulus, for example, more sweet or salty foods, it will probably only result in a greater desire for more and more of the foods that you crave; think of the times you were able to finish off an entire bag of flavored potato chips or an entire tub of ice cream regardless of hunger. On the other hand, looking for a smart combination of nutrients can help you regain control of your appetite Instantly.

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Craving something sweet?

Treat…

Peanut butter and banana

Combining protein-rich peanut butter with the natural sweetness of bananas on top of crackers, corn cakes, or toast is not only delicious, but a nutritional mix that will satisfy your sweet tooth with the added satisfaction of a little protein and good fat. You will feel full and satisfied for several hours, while your blood glucose levels will remain in control for at least 2-3 hours afterward.

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Banana and peanut butter is a classic combo to combat sugar cravings. (iStock)

ricotta and honey

Not always thought of as a way to combine sweetness with protein, a drizzle of honey enjoyed with a hearty serving of calcium-rich ricotta on a slice of sourdough, rye crackers, or some chopped fresh fruit is a food with controlled calories, but sweet and tasty. combination

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Craving something salty?

Treat…

cheese and crackers

It’s very easy to overeat crunchy, salty snacks like flavored rice crackers, potato chips, and crispy cheese snacks, so portion control is key when it comes to curbing your cravings for salty snacks. Try a combination of yellow cheese or thin white cheese spreads like goat cheese or feta along with salad greens like tomato or cucumber on your favorite crusty bread. Here you will have created a delicious and indulgent snack with all the richness of flavored packet snacks for a fraction of the fat and calories.

Your own trail mix

If you prefer your snacks to be bulky and a mix of different foods that can be enjoyed for a couple of hours, it’s exceptionally easy to make your own healthy trail mix. All you need to do is combine some chopped greens, popcorn, some roasted legumes like edamame, and a handful of nuts and seeds for the perfect mix of protein, carbs, and good fats. You can even add some dark chocolate chips or chocolate covered fruit to add a little sweetness to the mix.

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Craving something yummy?

Treat…

greek yogurt with fruit

When you have a craving for rich, intense flavors and are trying to steer clear of high-fat, high-sugar ice creams and cakes, the growing range of Greek and protein yogurts can be your best friend.

Just like ice cream, when frozen you can mix in your favorite crunchy additions like chocolate chips, seeds, nuts or fruit for a delicious yet nutritious snack.

Yogurt bowl topped with mixed berries and honey.
There’s nothing better than a bowl of rich yogurt to satisfy that creamy craving. (iStock)

frozen banana

It’s so simple we rarely think about it, but if you haven’t enjoyed a frozen banana, you’re missing out. Rich and creamy like ice cream, you can even dip your banana in some dark chocolate and pecans for a delicious, filling snack with a fraction of the fat and calories of other frozen desserts.

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Author susie burrell is a prominent Australian dietitian and nutritionist, founder of shape meco-host of The Nutrition Couch podcast and prominent media spokesperson, with regular appearances in print and television commenting on all areas of diet, weight loss and nutrition.

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