Food cravings. They can make you forget your best intentions, cause you to head to the freezer at midnight and even, as Oprah Winfrey once did, lure you to make such strange concoctions as pouring maple syrup over an entire pan of frozen bread rolls. So we asked registered dietitian Ellie Krieger, author of "The Food You Crave: Luscious Recipes for a Healthy Life" and "Small Changes, Big Results, Revised and Updated: A Wellness Plan with 65 Recipes for a Healthy, Balanced Life Full of Flavor", to explain how to deal with those darned diet-derailing cravings.
Food cravings are both physical and psychological, Ellie told us in our exclusive interview. "It is important to differentiate when you are craving something for an emotional reason or you have a real physical hunger. If your craving is emotional it is best to address it in a non-food way if possible. For example, you could take a relaxing stroll outside or a nice long bath to cope with stress, rather than munch your way through it."
Ellie, who has a new book coming out in December entitled "Weeknight Wonders: Delicious, Healthy Dishes in 30 Minutes or Less," offers these tips on specific cravings:
- Fresh or dried fruit are great options for sweet cravings. "I especially love fresh mango or dried cranberries," she says.
- For salty cravings, Ellie makes popcorn or kale chips.
- Craving something creamy? "Veggies and hummus or some Greek yogurt are my go-to snacks when I’m craving something creamy."
- And for crunchy cravings: "Definitely almonds. They have a super crunch and are a rich source of vitamin E, protein, calcium and fiber."
Want tips for specific brands? Here are some suggestions:
- Craving something sweet and crunchy? Go for Kellogg's, Special K, Granola Cereal.
- Longing for something salty and crunchy? Try low on calories, big on crunch Skinnypop Popcorn Popcorn, 100 Calories bags.
- Want something creamy? Make rich, low-calorie, sweet Jell-O Sugar-Free Instant Pudding & Pie Filling, Butterscotch.
- Ellie also recommends Special K's Nourish line of products, which includes hot cereal and nutrition bars.