We all know the feeling: when your food craving takes hold. But wait, there are other ways you can have a little bit of what you fancy, with a healthier twist…
What you’re craving: sweets
If your mouth waters when you see sweets, temptation can be hard to resist. A handful of calorific sweets can be gone in well under a minute, so it can be tempting to reach for another, and another…
A little bit of what you fancy: frozen grapes or frozen blueberries
It’s true, these little gems could be the answer when you need a sweet fix. Freezing them turns them into a creamy sorbet-style healthy snack – and they’ll last much longer than a few sweets, not to mention they give you a burst of vitamins to boot. Give it a try!
Keep a serving of your favourite fruits in the freezer, so you’ll always have some to hand (no freezing time to worry about).
Sweets: 12 sweets = 118Kcal, 0.4g fat, 0.2g sat fat, 19.2g sugars
Grapes: 100g = 67Kcal, 0g fat, 0g sat fat, 16g sugars
Craving saving: 51Kcal, 0.4g fat, 0.2g sat fat, 3.2g sugars
Blueberries: 100g = 57Kcal, 0g fat, 0g sat fat, 10g sugars
Craving saving: 61Kcal, 0.4g fat, 0.2g sat fat, 9.2g sugars
What you’re craving: ice cream
Your favourite flavour of ice cream is great in hot and cold weather – that’s often half the problem! It’s very high in fat and that’s before you have the further temptation of wafers, toppings and sauces.
A little bit of what you fancy: frozen banana or frozen low-fat yogurt
Don’t knock it until you’ve tried it – the creamy texture of a frozen banana means it’s a great alternative. Insert a stick into half a peeled banana and freeze it – you’ll think you’re indulging in your favourite frozen treat. Bananas not your thing? Freeze a normal low-fat yogurt to save plenty of calories and fat, but get more of the flavour that you’re looking for.
Ice cream: 100ml = 149Kcal, 9.8g fat, 6g sat fat, 12.5g sugars
Frozen banana: 1 medium = 105Kcal, 0.4g fat, 0.1g sat fat, 3.2g sugars
Craving saving: 44Kcal, 9.4g fat, 5.9g sat fat, 9.3g sugars
Low-fat yogurt (frozen): 120g = 83Kcal, 0.2g fat, 0.1g sat fat, 11g sugars
Craving saving: 66Kcal, 9.6g fat, 5.9g sat fat, 1.5g sugars
(Low-fat products can be higher in sugar so read the food labels to help you choose a healthier option.)
What you’re craving: crisps
That crunch… that flavour… that feeling of 'wanting more' – crisps can be very addictive and difficult to stop eating once you get started. So, what can you have as a tasty alternative?
A little bit of what you fancy: salted popcorn or a handful of nuts
There are lots of things that can keep you munching… Popcorn (a good source of fibre) is very on-trend, so there are lots of places where you can grab a small bag on the go. Even a handful of nuts can satisfy, and is a great source of nutrients.
If you do go for crisps, keep to a single packet, or stick to the serving size of a sharing bag, which serves around five people!
Crisps: 40g = 205Kcal, 12g fat, 1.4g sat fat, 0.2g sugars
Popcorn: 25g = 108Kcal, 5.6g fat, 0.5g sat fat, 0.1g sugars
Craving saving: 97Kcal, 6.4g fat, 0.9g sat fat, 0.1g sugars
Nuts: 28g = 160Kcal, 14g fat, 2g sat fat, 1g sugars
Craving saving: 45Kcal, +2g fat, +0.6g sat fat, +0.8g sugars
Nuts may not necessarily give you enough ‘saving’ but they are more nutritious and contain a good mix of healthier fats.
What you’re craving: milk chocolate
Melt-in-the-mouth creamy chocolate is up there for most people when it comes to cravings, but it’s high in fat and those calories can really add up. Before you reach for that bar, try these…
A little bit of what you fancy: dark chocolate or chocolate-flavoured/covered crackers
Swap milk chocolate to a smaller portion of dark chocolate (around 70 per cent cocoa) for less fat and fewer calories. You’ll be satisfied with a smaller portion, as its richness makes it an indulgent treat. Or, try chocolate rice crackers for a hint of the taste and added crunch. Dip your favourite berries into melted chocolate to sweeten up the taste.
Milk chocolate: 42g = 228Kcal, 13.6g fat, 8.1g sat fat, 23.3g sugars
6 squares dark chocolate: 20g = 120Kcal, 8.4g fat, 5g sat fat, 5.7g sugars
Craving saving: 108Kcal, 5.2g fat, 3.1g sat fat, 17.6 sugar
Chocolate rice cracker: per 15g cracker = 62Kcal, 1.1g fat, 0.5g sat fat, 4.5g sugars
Craving saving: 166Kcal, 12.5g fat, 7.6g sat fat, 18.8g sugars
What you’re craving: cheese on toast
The delicious smell of melting cheese can work those cravings into a frenzy! There’s no getting around it – cheese can be high in fat. But, with a couple of switches, you can still get your grill on.
A little bit of what you fancy: healthier choice cheese on toast
Switch from thick white bread to wholegrain, and use lower-fat mature cheese – you’ll need less cheese for the same great taste. Up that veg count with slices of tomato and onion.
Cheese on toast: 211Kcal, 8.8g fat, 5.4g sat fat, 1g sugars
Lower fat cheese on toast: 152Kcal, 5g fat, 2.7g sat fat, 1g sugars.
Craving saving: 59Kcal, 3.8g fat, 2.7g sat fat, 0g sugars
Always read the label
The amounts (eg calories and saturated fat) will differ depending on the brand and serving size. These are given as a guide only. Make sure you read the labels and check your portion sizes.
Originally printed in Diabetes Balance magazine, September – October 2014. For more articles like this, lifestyle features and advice and guidance for living with diabetes, become a member of Diabetes UK today.