Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Five Things I Reach for When I Get the {Munchies}

We've all experienced it.  You're watching your favorite television show when suddenly every actor on the screen is grabbing a back of potato chips and chowing down or tossing handfuls of M&Ms in their mouth.  The feeling that follows is almost unbearable. The gnawing, nagging sensation that tells your brain you MUST have a snack or you will perish!!  You aren't really hungry but the urge is very real and very present. Please, please don't reach for the bag of Oreos.  I try my best not to eat carbs after 7:00 PM and since most of my snackish cravings happen in the late evening, even foods like gluten-free, organic pita chips are out of the question.  Here are five healthy alternatives that help me cut through those intense cravings and leave me feeling like I've won a tiny little battle in the great big war of healthy eating.

  1. Baby Carrots:  When I get the munchies, I actually want to MUNCH DOWN on something. Carrots are the perfect juicy, crunchy snack full of vitamins and low in calories.  You may be saying, "When I get a craving, veggies are NOT something I reach for." Believe me, eventually you will if you just give these bite-sized babies a chance.  Try dipping them in hummus or almond butter to add a little flavor.  They are my number one go-to snack. Update 3/12/14: Some very supportive friends kindly reminded me of some of the concerns surrounding the production of baby carrots.  I have done some research myself in the past and am not concerned.  However, you may want to do your own research just for your own peace of mind.

  2. Raw Almonds: Almonds are an amazing source of protein, omega-3 fatty acids, and fiber and really help me stay feeling full. I stick to raw or dry roasted instead of salted or oven roasted (they could be roasted in oils). They are low in calories and fat per serving compared to most other nuts. Just remember to eat these little bits of yumminess in moderation.

  3. Bananas: Bananas are another food that help me feel full quickly.  They also help kick that nasty empty taste out of my mouth.  When my sweet tooth gets out of control, bananas are the answer. You can also add a little almond butter to beef this snack up a bit. 

  4. String Cheese: Let's add one more food group to the mix.  Go ahead and admit it.  You love the fact that there is an adult snack out there that makes playing with your food socially acceptable. Just try to resist reaching back into the fridge for a second stick : )

  5. My Toothbrush: Um…well…not technically a food but it's almost better.  I will have to admit that my toothbrush is NOT the item I reach for the most often, thus its #5 standing.  But it literally works like a magic wand when it comes to cravings.  Can't explain why but a fresh, clean, minty mouth takes all food cravings away. It really does. 

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