Nutrition Articles

7 Nutritionists Reveal How They Crush Cravings

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Cravings happen to all of us. Yes, even nutritionists have to battle off sweet and salty desires that strike in the middle of the afternoon. They also know what to eat when a craving hits, though, which is key in continuing to work toward your ultimate weight-loss goals. In addition to learning to recognize the subtle differences between cravings and real, genuine hunger, educating yourself on how to satisfy a chocolate, soda or crispy chip craving is an important step in any weight-loss plan.
 
To get you on the track to developing your own action plan before your most aggressive craving strikes next, seven nutritionists weighed in on what they turn to when salty, sweet or bubbly knock on the door.
 

Eat This, Not That
 

The Craving: Soda
To Fight the Craving: I grab seltzer flavored up with fresh fruit or a splash of 100 percent fruit juice. It's cool, refreshing and all about those fizzy bubbles—except this is much better way to stay hydrated.
 
Dana Angelo White, registered dietitian and certified athletic trainer at Dana White Nutrition.
 
The Craving: Dark chocolate with a sprinkle of salt
To Fight the Craving: One of my favorite sweet satisfactions is a frozen banana, sliced, with melted crunchy peanut butter and dark chocolate shavings on top. This works to satisfy my craving because not only does it have the sweet and salty satisfaction with the natural sugar in the banana, cocoa in the dark chocolate and salty peanut butter, but it also has the right texture and mouthfeel. Cold, warm, crunchy and creamy—what more could you ask for?
 
Elizabeth Shaw, M.S., R.D.N., C.L.T., Nutrition Communications Consultant at Shaw's Simple Swaps.
 
The Craving: Tortilla Chips
To Fight the Craving: I grab Que Pasa's Thin and Crispy Tortilla Chips in Twist of Lime flavor and usually pair it with salsa. I find that when I have a small amount of the food I'm craving, that tends to fully satisfy my craving. For me, my focus is honoring my craving in a way that makes me feel good for the short term and long term. A handful of tortilla chips with salsa and a glass of seltzer when I get home from the office really hits the spot.
 
Willow Jarosh, M.S., R.D., co-author of "Happy, Healthy Pregnancy Cookbook.
The Craving: Cookies
To Fight the Craving: My craving for cookies tends to hit during the 4 or 5 p.m. afternoon slump. I often make energy bites to keep on hand. I make them with a combination of sunflower butter, rolled oats, hemp hearts, shredded coconut, maple syrup and vary up the extras like cacao nibs, nuts and dried fruit. I roll this “dough” into little two-inch balls and keep them in the fridge. They are my perfect bite and provide me with the energy I need as I transition from work to mom life.
 
Stephanie Middleberg, M.S., R.D., author of "The Big Book of Organic Baby Food" and founder of Middleberg Nutrition.
 
The Craving: Any type of salty snack
To Fight the Craving: I munch on whatever is around—popcorn, pretzels or tortilla chips—and limit portions. Sometimes to satisfy the craving I eat a salad or vegetables with ginger dressing because that is savory, too. Each snack has salt and it's important to drink plenty of water, as well.
 
Dr. Felicia D. Stoler, D.C.N., M.S., R.D.N., F.A.C.S.M., F.A.N.D., author of "Living Skinny in Fat Genes"
 
The Craving: Ice cream
To Fight the Craving: I go out and buy sea-salted caramel ice cream with full fat and sugar. I don’t like anything fake because it will not satisfy my cravings. I sit down and eat a half cup slowly, savoring every spoonful. I am careful not to keep it in my home regularly and I only do it on the weekends if the cravings come.
 
Manuel Villacorta, M.S., R.D.N., founder of Whole Body Reboot
 
The Craving: Chocolate bar
To Fight the Craving: Instead of a candy bar or bag of M&M's—which clocks in at 240 calories and 10 grams of fat—I have a tablespoon of semi-sweet chocolate chips for 70 calories and four grams of fat. It satisfies my sweet tooth and need for some texture or crunch. When I’m "hungry" for chocolate, I know I’m not truly "hungry" so this small amount does the trick.
 
Melissa Joy Dobbins, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E. of The Guilt-Free RD
 
The next time a craving strikes and consumes your mind without relenting, remember that moderation is key and consider if there are other healthy snacks that can satisfy the urge for a salty or sweet snack. 

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Member Comments

  • So, you satisfy a salt craving by eating salt, hmm, you satisfy an ice cream craving by....you guessed it, eating ice cream. This article was a joke. First thing you do to not indulge in any of your favorite snack foods is DO NOT KEEP THEM IN THE HOUSE. If they ain't there in the kitchen you can't eat them. Another good thing to do is if you do have a craving give it a 1/2 hour, usually the craving will actually go away, drink a sugar free drink or diet soda instead while you wait for that 1/2 hour to go away. 99% of the time that actually will work for me, not to mention I NEVER keep potato chips in the house, they're my weakness and I don't consider substituting fritos (another salt product) a good substitute for a chip craving, but apparently that's the advice this author will tell you. Go figure!
  • This makes sense! After you've eaten the nuts, grit your teeth until the craving goes away. lol
  • Great tips! Thanks
  • I do the chocolate chip thing too! I use semi sweet chocolate chips and that's enough to help me get over it.
  • Sorry, but this article is not helpful at all. Most of the substitutions are just about as bad as the craved foods.

    And if you're having a "slump" between 4 and 5, you've had too many carbs already. That's your insulin and blood sugar talking.

    From my own experience and what I've seen repeatedly on my Spark Team, eliminating the foods that drive cravings in the first place is the best tactic. The less you eat of foods that spike your blood sugar (and let's face it, all of the foods on this list are empty calorie carbage) the fewer cravings you will have.

    That doesn't address emotional eating - quite a different subject - but for actual "craving" sensations, then go as low on carbs for two weeks as you can go, and then focus on whole real foods going forward. Bye bye to the mid-morning and mid-afternoon slump!
  • I use 1 T of dark mini chocolate chips spread over a rye crisp cracker and covered with another. I microwave for 8-10 seconds on one side then carefully turn over and heat again. This satisfies my chocolate craving while upping my fibre intake. It's more satisfying than just chocolate chips.
  • I disagree with the dark choc chips~ way too EASY to overdo as I HAVE DONE!!!!!!!!! I just think fruit is the answer! I'm trying the "Eat an apple first" approach { before making a poor snacking choice } ,and also trying to KEEP OUT chips, dip, pretzels, etc.!!!
  • I'm a little surprised that so many of the fixes are just as fattening and unhealthy as the cravings.
  • 15 months ago I quit eating processed sugar treats so I don't have to worry about ice cream, cookies, and chocolate. I've never been a big soda drinker and so that was easy to eliminate. I still eat ketchup, some bread, and other foods with "hidden sugar" in moderation that don't intensify my cravings like doughnuts, for example, do.

    Just this week I ate tortilla chips on two occassions and they just made me sluggish. I'm not supposed to consume sodium. The doctor actually said, "No salt" for me. How does one not eat salt? I am back to NO CHIPS. I have to make that a rule.
  • Good information. Thanks for sharing

About The Author

Toby Amidor Toby Amidor
Toby Amidor, M.S., R.D., is the founder of Toby Amidor Nutrition and the author of "The Greek Yogurt Kitchen" and "The Healthy Meal Prep Cookbook."