Many people have a weakness for chocolate and suffer from the dreaded chocolate cravings. Allowing yourself to cave in to these cravings can be detrimental to a healthy diet or weight loss goal. Having a huge bowl of chocolate ice cream or big piece of chocolate cake several times a week is not going to allow you to meet your goals. But, the good thing is that there are some healthier ways to satisfy those cravings and keep you on track.
1. Wait Period
Give yourself 10 to 20 minutes before caving in to a chocolate craving. If, after that time has elapsed, you are still having the craving then have a small piece of chocolate or try one of the alternatives listed below. Usually, however, if you allow yourself this period before giving into a a craving, you will find that after the waiting period your chocolate craving has diminished significantly or even disappeared.
2. Dark Chocolate
Dark chocolate, in moderation, is actually good for you. It is full of antioxidants, which help protect the body from aging, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and heart disease. Try to avoid dark chocolate that contains nuts, caramel, or other fillings, however.
When you are craving something sweet, fruit is a good alternative to other sweet treats that are full of fat and calories. In addition, fruit is good for your body. Some good choices are oranges, grapes, grapefruit, watermelon, cantalope, honeydew melon, strawberries, blueberries, and bananas. Fruit juices are also a sweet alternative to chocolate.
Carob, while naturally sweeter than chocolate, is much better for you than chocolate. It does not have the caffeine, cholesterol, oxalic acid, and theobromine that chocolate contains. Carob is low in fat and sodium and high in fiber and calcium. Carob is smooth and rich, but for some, it is an acquired taste. Many prefer chocolate to carob initially but, with time grow to enjoy the flavor and benefits that carob provides.
Okay, water is definitely not as tasty as chocolate and probably will not satisfy your sweet tooth. However, if you drink plenty of water throughout the day, it is more likely that you will not feel as hungry and will have fewer cravings overall.
6. Cocoa Powder
Try adding a little bit of cocoa powder to different drinks and snacks. It is a good addition to yogurt, cottage cheese, smoothies, shakes, tea and skim milk.
7. Have a Little
Moderation is key. Allowing yourself to have a little chocolate every now and then is really not going to cause a lot of damage. In the larger scheme of things, having a small piece of chocolate once or twice a week is not going to break a diet or cause weight gain. However, do not allow yourself to cave and eat an entire chocolate bar or big piece of cake. You have to be able to have some control if you do choose to include chocolate in your diet. Also, eat the piece slowly, enjoying each bite. This will stop you from not feeling satisfied when done.