Anyone that knows me, knows that I have a huge sweet tooth (well more like "chocolate tooth")! I used to eat chocolate (in all kinds of form) every day......even more so after our son was born! During both my pregnancies I didn't have any cravings, but once the kids were born I had huge chocolate cravings. I would literally eat a bar of chocolate while I was breastfeeding at night and then go back to sleep!
We all know that chocolate and sweets in general are just empty calories that have absolutely no nutritional value, and don't contribute in any way to our health. As having chocolate on a daily basis was not an option, I was determined to find healthier ways to satisfy my "chocolate tooth". Not only because it is unhealthy, but also because I want to set up a good example for our kids. Throughout the years I have found number of ways to keep my chocolate cravings in check:
I will usually get my chocolate cravings in the afternoon, so one option is to make me a healthy smoothie. I will usually use self-made almond milk with some fruits; or coconut water with some berries and acai powder
I usually prepare chia puddings on a regular basis (such a pudding can hold up in the fridge to about three days). I will prepare them with self-made almond milk, and either some berries (or other fruits) or with some raw cacao powder. I will usually have a little serving in the afternoon
Depending on when I have had my lunch and how late it is, I might go for a fruit (although I tend to have more fruits in the morning). However, because fruits are digested by our system quicker than veggies, grains, etc, I will wait two to three hours to have a fruit after my lunch. Some experts also recommend that fruits should not be consumed after 4 or 5pm
I will have a glass of water, or in winter will make me a cup of tea with some honey - sometimes it helps and sometimes it doesn't!
Sugar-free chocolate / sweets
Meanwhile there are number of different vegan chocolates, however they also contain added sugar so I try to stay away from those! However there are a few options (chocolate and chocolate bars) that don't include any added sugar, and are just as good (make sure that you check your local health food store - that's where they are usually sold). Please be aware that meanwhile manufacturers used over 50 different names to hide sugar from us (for more on that www.slowolution.com)
Nuts and seeds
I will have some nuts or seeds. However, keep in mind that although healthy, nuts and seeds are very high on fats, so enjoy in moderation
I always make sure that I have a healthy snack in my back - nuts, seeds, healthy chocolate bar. Depending on where we are going, I might take some pre cut and pealed veggies and fruits (this is also a great option for the kids!)
Enjoy an ice cream or chocolate
If I have been having real bad cravings for two or three days, then I will just enjoy some chocolate, M&M's, my favourite Starbuck frappuccino, or an ice cream. For me it is extremely important to maintain healthy nutrition and lifestyle, but at the same time I think that is counterproductive to not given in at times to your cravings
I think that overall it is important to keep a good balance between your nutrition, workout and your overall lifestyle. For me it is important to always keep the big picture in mind. And most importantly to always try and solve the chocolate craving "problem" with a healthy option first before giving in to something unhealthy right away. My experience has shown me two things:
- once I got used to the healthier solutions, then the cravings decreased automatically
- once you stop looking at chocolates and sweets as the "bad guy", or stop consciously depriving yourself from them, then the cravings decrease automatically as well
As you can see there are number of different healthy options you can try next time you are craving something sweet.