First off, what is Carob? Carob comes from the pod of a tree that grows along the Mediterranean Sea. The pod contains a sweet, edible pulp. Once dried and roasted, the pulp is ground into a powder called carob flour (but more commonly referred to as "carob powder"). It's similar to cocoa powder in color and can be substituted one-for-one in recipes, but carob is unique with its own special flavor and texture. You may want to swap out your Cacao for Carob if you are sensitive to caffeine or theobromine. Carob does not contain either of these like chocolate does.
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Think of the last time you had a strong craving to eat something. Whether it was a tub of haagen daz, or a basket of french fries, you wanted it, and you wanted it bad. We all have cravings. Cravings aren’t always bad. Sometimes we crave what our bodies are truly in need of. For example, Chocolate Cravings are for real! Ok maybe not ALL the time, but there are several components in chocolate that the body may become deficient in, especially magnesium and antioxidants. We’re often told to avoid cravings, suppress our cravings, have will power! But what about the concept of satisfying a craving, in a healthy way, which will then allow us to avoid the deprivation and binge cycle that so many of us fall into. Interesting….
So today I want to talk about figuring out why we’re craving certain foods, checking in with our selves, and satisfying that craving in a healthy way. I’ve been trying to tune in to my own cravings and figure out what it is that I need emotionally or physically, rather than the tub of ice-cream or whatever it may be on my radar.
- First step: Decide what your mood is when you get the craving. For me I’m more of a happy eater than a depressed eater. In the past, I typically associate good times and happiness with eating treats & desserts. When I’m sad or down I don’t really feel like eating. This differs from person to person depending on experiences you’ve had. If you get home from a long day of work and all you want to do is pound a whole Pizza, thats most likely linked to emotions from work, rather then your body really needing that pizza, and chances are you won’t really feel better after eating the pizza.
- Second step: Find an alternative fix to satisfy the root of the craving. If you’re craving a Pizza binge when you get home from work, you’re probably feeling a little stressed out from the day. Try the healthy alternative of going for a quick run when you get home, or calling a good friend to talk or vent, or whatever you need to release that work load. Or sometimes for me, I’m with family & friends, and playing games, just having a great time, and I want to eat the whole bowl of peanut butter m&m’s in front of me because I’m just happy! Well if I’m aware of this, I can make sure I’m not putting a bowl of “happy” m&m’s in front of me and replacing that with a veggie tray or something along those lines. This step is basically just weeding out the emotional cravings from the physiological cravings.
- Third step: Find the healthiest option for what you’re craving and satisfy it. Sometimes it’s a taste, or a smell, or just a texture that we crave. Here’s a list of some that I’ve experienced and my recommended cures:
- Something Warm (Hot chocolate, Molten Cake, Cider) —> Herbal Tea! this has been my favorite lately. They have amazing holiday flavors right now that smell and taste delicious, and I don’t crave the sugar loaded hot chocolate anymore!
- Something Cold (icecream, shake, pudding, popsicle) —> Frozen Grapes or blueberries, Protein shake, Frozen Banana icecream, Homemade fruit popsicles
- Something Creamy (pudding, frosting, icecream, creamy soup) —> Avocado, spoon of natural nut butter, healthified mashed potatoes recipe)
- Something Salty (potato chips, french fries, crackers) —> Homemade baked french fries, dry roasted nuts (in moderate portion), stove popped popcorn
- Something Chocolatey —> a small square of rich dark chocolate
- Stressful eating —> Do 10 burpees and see how you feel!
- Eating out of Boredom —> Drink a large glass of water & Pick up a good book to start reading (its hard to eat when your hands are holding a book! or do 10 burpees and see how you feel :)
These are just a few tips I thought of and that have worked for me! There’s lots of healthy ways to satisfy cravings, so find what works for you, and I would love to hear your ideas! Remember, cravings aren't always bad. Determine the root, healthify your options, and honor your body!
If you haven't completely switched into pumpkin mode quite yet, and you still have Zucchinis coming out of your ears, then indulge yourself with these Zucchini Chocolate Chip Muffins!
I brought these muffins to my cabin retreat getaway this past week and they were the perfect little treat for the drive, or after dinner, or anytime haha. Your friends and family will love them.
Disclaimer: Don't treat these as a Health Food. I am clearly stating that they are a treat with a healthy twist, so don't go overboard eating the whole batch because your "trainer britt suggested them" (yes, they're that good, you have been warned!) haha just sayin ;)
I've adapted this recipe from the original recipe on joyfulhealthyeats.com - awesome foodie blog!
• 1.5 C whole wheat flour
• 1 tsp baking powder
• 1/2 tsp baking soda
• 1/2 tsp salt
• 2 tsp ground cinnamon
• 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
• 1/4 C raw honey
• 1/4 C Organic Brown Sugar
• 1/2 C unsweetened applesauce
• 1/3 C coconut oil, melted
• 1 Egg
• 2 tsp vanilla extract
• 1.5 C grated zucchini
• 3/4 C dark chocolate chips
• Preheat oven to 350 degrees
• Prepare 8x8 loaf pan, or 3 smaller loaf pans, or 12-16 muffin tins, by greasing the bottom and sides with coconut oil spray, lightly dust with flour and shake (or use muffin paper cups to line)
• In a medium bowl, add flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, ground cinnamon, and ground nutmeg. Stir all these dry ingredients together.
• In a large bowl, add honey, applesauce, coconut oil, egg, and vanilla. Whisk all together until smooth. Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients until everything is combined.
• Fold in the zucchini and chocolate chip.
• Pour batter into the prepared dishes. Fill about 3/4 full, or to the rim of the muffin tins.
• Bake 8x8 loaf for 45-50 minutes, the mini loafs for about 35-40 minutes, and the muffins for about 20-25 minutes. Always check with a toothpick to make sure when they are done. If it comes out clean you're good to go!
These make a great gift for a special someone to make sure they know you're thinking of them!
Summer is full of pool parties, back yard barbecues, Weddings, vacations, and a lack of structure. No one wants to be burdened with a bunch of diet rules and regimens with all this fun stuff going on! Which is why I came up with some of my favorite, easy healthy swaps to keep you on track this summer. You can still enjoy all the summer parties, without losing all your hard work in the gym. It just takes learning a few healthy habits and making educated decisions.
- The Ice-cream Swap: Something that always sounds good in the summer is icecream, and its a party dessert favorite for sure. An occasional ice-cream won’t kill you, but an everyday addiction is what we want to avoid. Try making some healthy frozen treats to give you that same sweet and refreshing satisfaction.
- mix plain frozen yogurt with fruit. pour into popsicle molds or plastic cups. Freeze for a few hours. Remove and enjoy like a popsicle or with a spoon!
- Banana Ice-cream: keep frozen bananas in your freezer at all times. Chop them up and blend in blender or food processor. Can mix in PB, coco, or cinnamon for a healthy combo!
- The Cone Trick: If you’re at a party and they’re serving up ice-cream, go for the smallest portion option. When you serve ice-cream in a bowl, you naturally serve up more. When you have to fit it in a small cone or cup, the portion is going to be smaller, but appear bigger when served like this.
2. The BBQ swap: What’s summer with out a BBQ? Well you’re typical BBQ menu can be packed with extra calories and sugar. But don’t worry, healthy swaps to save the day!
1. Go for the green salad over the fruit/jello salad. You’ll save on sugar and calories.
2. Wrap your burger in Lettuce, lose the bun! Lower your carbs, keep the protein.
3. Skip the chip bag. Just by leaving out the potato chips you’ll save loads of empty calories and that unhealthy fat that we don’t want in our bodies. Instead, if you’re in need of something salty, bring some grilled or baked veggies to the party with you’re own salty seasoning. You’ll benefit everyone there with this healthy side dish.
3. The Party Approach: My third tip isn’t necessarily a swap, but more of a strategy. When you have a busy party week coming up, with weddings, holidays, etc. go in with a game plan. Decide on what dessert you want to splurge on, and what you’re going to say no to before you go, so that you don’t have to make the decision when the cake table is staring you down.
- For example, cousins wedding is next weekend. My plan may be, “If there are cookies, i’m having one. But if it’s just cake, I don’t even like cake so that I can skip.” easy enough!
If you know you have a holiday weekend coming up, plan the rest of the week so you’re eating really healthy, then the weekend splurge won’t be as big of a deal. It’s all about being prepared and planning ahead.
- For example, if I know my cousins wedding is next weekend, Friday night, Monday through Thursday I’ll eat my lean and green for dinner, balanced meals throughout the day, and stay clear of sweets. Then when Friday night comes around, I’ll enjoy a slice of wedding cake and really enjoy it, without the guilt.
Keep it balanced, plan ahead, and you’ll be just fine!