16 craving substitutes: Healthy Foods to Eat When Cravings Strike

Craving substitutes, What can I replace cravings with? Most people get the urge to eat unhealthy foods and it even gets more intense when they’re on a diet.

And, according to studies around 50% of people regularly experience food cravings, which can derail their attempts to eat healthily.[1]

However, some healthy foods feel quite indulgent and can be used as craving substitutes. 

This article details 16 healthy foods – craving substitutes, that can satisfy your urge to eat without sabotaging your diet plan.

What should I eat when craving to lose weight?

Here are the 16 best craving substitutes, healthy foods to stop food cravings.

1. Greek Yogurt

You may be familiar with its creamy tastes and indulgence, but it’s also really healthy.

Additionally, it’s very high in protein and lowers in sugar than regular yogurt, and it’s a good source of calcium, B vitamins, and beneficial bacteria.

This combination of essential nutrients makes it a great food for both bone and your digestive health.

Moreover, topping your Greek yogurt with fruit and nuts may provide additional health benefits and nutrients.

2. Fresh Fruit

Fruits are naturally very sweet and can be great craving substitutes when you get a sugar craving.

In addition to just tasting great, fruits are an extremely nutritious snack. Whether it’s prebiotic fiber, antioxidants, and beneficial plant compounds, it provides all, in very few calories.

Moreover, fruit consumption has been linked to better health and a lower risk of diseases like heart disease and obesity.

Additionally, a 2015 review found that just eating 300 grams (or 4 servings) of fruit per day reduced the risk of heart disease by 16%.[2]

If you want to make your fruit feel more like a sweet treat, try dipping it in a little dark chocolate or making a mixed fruit bowl.

3. Fruit and Nut Butter

Fruit-dipped nut butter is a delicious craving substitute that’s popular among health-conscious people as a snack.

Additionally, having a small amount of nut butter with fruit can be the perfect way to deal with sugar cravings and crunchy treats.

Moreover, this craving substitutes option provides all the vitamins, minerals, and fiber found in fruit, as well as the healthy fats, proteins, and beneficial plant compounds found in nuts.

However, note that nut butter can be very easy to overeat so make sure you do not do that.

Also, See… Fiber rich foods to eat

4.  A Hot Drink as craving substitutes

A Hot Drink as a craving substitute is the option if you’re trying to watch your calorie intake. As, drinking a hot coffee, espresso, or tea after a meal can help you avoid the temptation of dessert.

Additionally, it can also satisfy your need to do something, further helping you distance yourself from craving.

Coffee is known to increase the amount of a fullness hormone called peptide YY.[3]

Peptide YY has an appetite-suppressing effect, which may be very helpful for you in reducing your calorie intake and losing weight.

5. Cottage Cheese

This is a mild-flavored cheese product that is low in calories but very nutritious craving substitutes.

It consists of about 70% protein and good amounts of calcium, vitamin B12, and riboflavin in one cup, and only 163 calories.

Additionally, it is the high protein and low-calorie content of cottage cheese that make it a really good healthy snack choice, especially when you are trying to lose weight.

And as per studies, high intakes of protein from dairy foods like cottage cheese have been shown to help people feel fuller longer, which could help you eat less and lose weight.

6. Snack Bar as craving substitutes

Many snack bars are high-sugar junk foods, though it’s possible to find or make healthy ones that can add lots of beneficial nutrients to your diet.

However, choosing a snack bar can be sometimes tricky, always look for one that’s minimally processed and contains whole foods like fruit or oats.

Do not forget to check the label to make sure it doesn’t contain any added sugars like table sugar, coconut sugar, or sugar syrups.

And, when you get confused by nutrition labels and aren’t sure about the right bars, try making your own bar at home.

7. Edamame

Immature soybeans are called edamame and If you’re craving something a bit salty, it can be a great choice.

Additionally, you can also boil them and then sprinkle them with salt before popping out the beans for a tasty snack.

Moreover, it is a low-calorie snack, which is high in fiber, protein, vitamins, and minerals, including vitamin K and folate. 

You will be amazed that it contains 52% of the RDI for vitamin K and over 100% of the RDI for folate.

This makes edamame a really healthy snack and a great craving substitute for halting your salty intake.

8. Popcorn

Popcorn is a great snack to satisfy your salt craving especially if you’re prone to snacking on chips and that too without getting too many calories.

However, some points should be taken into consideration when choosing a healthy popcorn to snack on such as the preparation method, serving size, and topping choice.

Furthermore,  about a 30-gram serving of plain popcorn contains just over 100 calories. 

Note not to eat large servings that have been sweetened with sugar or caramel; it can mean the calories add up.

Additionally, the homemade option is much lower in calories than popcorn that has been popped in hot oil.  

Try to avoid pre-packaged microwave varieties, they are full of unhealthy ingredients and calories.

See, Also… Foods to reduce cholesterol

9. Dark Chocolate

Add a small amount of dark chocolate to your regular milk chocolate if you are craving chocolate.

Dark chocolate contains a high amount of antioxidants and is made with at least 70% cocoa, so is not only delicious but also healthy.

Additionally, including it in your diet may reduce your risk of heart disease, yet you’ll still need to take care of the portion size. 

However, small amounts have been linked to health benefits, larger amounts will add a lot of sugar to your diet and may not have the same protective effects.

Always use a small square or two to satisfy your craving.

10. Berries

For all your sugar cravings, berries are the best craving substitutes. Apart from quenching your need for sugar, they can add some really beneficial nutrients to your diet.

These can be very easy to prepare for recipes and are very nutritious. 

Additionally, sweet, low in calories, high in fiber and a rich source of vitamins and mineral berries are all in one power-packed.

Moreover, its high antioxidant content also has strong anti-inflammatory properties, which may play a role in protecting you from diseases like heart disease and cancer.

11. Dates

Dates are a type of pitted fruit that’s often consumed after being dried In addition to its sweet taste and it contains a high amount of sugar.

However, these are a rich source of antioxidants and contain fiber, iron, potassium, and a number of beneficial plant compounds.

So when you’re craving for sweets, a few dates can help satisfy your urge, while providing your body with other beneficial nutrients.

In addition, try stuffing your dates with almonds when you need a sweet and crunchy treat.

12. Baked Vegetable Chips

Baked vegetable chips are another craving substitute for those who are prone to craving potato chips.

Additionally, these are made from vegetables like seaweed, kale, or parsnips instead of potatoes.

Some commercial brands of chips may be high in calories, salt, and fat so be sure you’re eating a low-calorie one.

Or, just try making your own at home.

13. Olives

Olives are small and If you’re craving something to eat but need to watch your calorie intake, try snacking on some olives.

This pitted fruit is often featured in the Mediterranean diet in the form of olive oil is low in calories and contains a wide range of beneficial plant compounds.

Additionally, oleic acid, which is the main fat found in olives, is known for some health benefits, including reduced inflammation and improved heart health.

14. Banana Ice Cream

Try this healthy alternative whenever you are craving sweets and creamy ice cream, you could try it making yourself.

Banana ice cream is very easy to make just blending ripe bananas in a food processor and freezing them for at least an hour.

Additionally, this craving substitute is not only creamy but full of flavor, and is also much lower in calories and higher in fiber than regular ice cream.

Moreover, to make this treat more interesting, just add other ingredients like milk, fruit, or spices to mix up the flavor.

15. Miso Soup 

This soup can also be an excellent choice for dealing with salty cravings and is best for weight loss cravings.

Miso paste is the main ingredient and is made by fermenting soybeans with salt, grains, and a type of fungus called koji.

Additionally, the soup is very tasty and low in calories. And it is also a good source of protein, fiber, beneficial plant compounds, and several vitamins and minerals.

Moreover, its uses have been linked to good eating & health benefits.

16. Trail Mix

Trail mix is a good healthy crave that’s made up of dried fruit and nuts.

Although its recipe varies, the combination of nuts and fruits can make it a healthy craving if you’re craving something sweet and salty.

Note, Keep watch on your portion size, one cup of trail mix contains nearly 700 calories, avoid overeating.

See, Also…Best Healthy breakfast foods

Some Quick swaps for All Your Cravings

  • Here are a few quick swaps that will help you in Weight loss cravings.
  • Swap your pasta for spaghetti squash
  • Mashed potatoes for cauliflower mash
  • Swap your chips for seeds
  • Alfredo for an avocado
  • Swap fruit Pie for fruits slices
  • Salty Munchies for spiced nuts
  • Swap Your pizza for pita pizza
  • Ice Cream for fruits-cream
  • Swap your Crunchy Snack Food for pistachios
  • Swap your fatty steak for leaner cuts
  • Try Making your own chips
  • Swap chocolate for dates.

Conclusion

Craving substitutes comes useful as your food cravings can be tricky to deal with.

By keeping unhealthy snacks out of sight, and including above mentioned healthy foods options when cravings in your diet will satisfy your cravings. 

Luckily, these craving substitutes also serve as nutritious additions to your diet.

See, Also… Yoga for weight loss.