Has anyone ever seen those articles that say, “If you’re craving chocolate, you just need to eat more protein!” And you’re left thinking, “Um, no. A piece of chicken does not equal a Reese’s cup.” While it is true that a lot of the food cravings we have are rooted in some sort of nutritional deficiency or imbalance, at some point you just want to eat that darn piece of chocolate and have everyone shut up about it. Yeah you ate that whole freaking piece of cake, who cares?
Well, you might.
There’s nothing worse than doing really well with all of your healthy eating goals and then feeling like you messed everything up by indulging in that bowl of ice cream. Now, hear me out – I actually really recommend having a cheat meal or a treat once a week to help keep your sanity and also make sure your metabolism doesn’t plateau. But sometimes, and I’ve experienced this myself, you just can’t stave off the guilt and negative thoughts that come from eating too many french fries, even if by all standards it was a perfectly legitimate indulgence.
Today I want to share with you guys some of the things I have found to eat that will satisfy your sweet tooth, taste delicious, and won’t leave you feeling like you got off track.
So how do you hack your cravings?
1. Introducing my all time favorite, Quest bars. I referenced these amazing protein bars in another article, but right now I want to talk about them in greater detail. These bars come in a million flavors, but my favorite for a treat is the s’mores flavor. The bar is thick, chewy, and actually has tangible pieces of chocolate and marshmallow in it. This amazing bar has 20 grams of protein and only 1 gram of sugar (thank zero-calorie sweeteners for that!). Simply pop this bar of happiness into the microwave for a few seconds for an ooey-gooey and guiltless treat.
2. I recently just discovered Halo Top Creamery ice cream, but it was probably one of the the best things that has ever happened to me. This ice cream is protein based, so it fills you up quickly, and get this – only has 240 calories in an entire pint. Plus, unlike other protein-based ice creams I’ve tried, the texture is actually exactly like real ice cream and is just as sweet. Check out their website here for flavors and to see where you can find them at a store near you.
3. Take a trip to Starbucks. There are plenty of healthier options on their menu if you just put your mind to it. Start by ordering a smaller size, getting non-fat milk, and asking for sugar-free syrup. One of my favorites when I just need something sweet is getting an a tall skinny mocha, which can be ordered iced (YUM) or hot and only has 70 calories total. If you want to know more about how to order healthier at Starbucks, check out this article I wrote about how to navigate the menu for the healthier options.
4. Stock up on the indulgent flavors of Chobani Greek Yogurt. I always keep some of these in my fridge for emergencies. Because they are higher in protein, they’ll fill you up and help calm cravings when you don’t have anything else lying around. Plus they’re healthy enough that you can basically eat them for a snack whenever. But you can also make these easy go-to’s even sweeter by adding in Hershey’s sugar-free chocolate syrup and topping it with some fat-free and low calorie whipped cream by Reddi Wip.
5. Make a healthy peanut butter banana milkshake. This is perfect for the evenings when you just need something cold and frozen and that gallon of ice cream is taunting you. Grab your blender, and toss in a frozen banana, a tablespoon of peanut butter (or PB2 powder for way less calories) and ice and milk, preferably skim, until you reach your desired consistency. If you want to jazz it up even more, add some of that Hershey’s sugar-free chocolate syrup for a truly decadent clean cheat.
Those are some of my tricks to help get you started. Remember dark chocolate is also a great treat to munch on, but like anything else, it should be consumed in moderation. Also make Splenda your best friend, which can be added to shakes, Greek yogurt, drinks, etc., for added sweetness with no calories. But if you happen to reach for that extra cookie, don’t beat yourself up about it. One cookie here and there will not ruin your results, so just enjoy it, and be kind to yourself. But have fun with those clean cheats and recipes, and try to figure out some ways to cheat clean on your own as well!