It's midnight. You've had a healthy dinner and told yourself you were done eating for the day. But you're craving chips...and mac and cheese...and ice cream. If you can't go to bed without giving in, at least satisfy your hunger the smart way—by picking a healthier alternative to the sweet or salty snack you're craving. For suggestions, we reached out to Devin Alexander, celebrity chef, New York Times best-selling author, and host of America’s Chefs on Tour, who shared these 10 snack substitutions.
Curb it: Enjoy a look-alike snack. “When I’m craving ice cream, I opt for my 'True Love in a Bowl', which you would swear was chocolate-banana ice cream if you didn’t know better," Alexander says. To make, blend two frozen bananas and 1-2 tablespoons of cocoa powder together in a high-powered food processor.
Curb it: “If nothing but actual candy can kill your craving, have fruit snacks on hand. They're sweet and seemingly similar to gummy candy without [as much] sugar,” Alexander says.
Curb it: “If you’re craving chips, skip the deep-fried kind and opt for kale chips," Alexander suggests. Cut washed kale leaves into chip-size pieces, place them in a single layer on a nonstick baking sheet (or baking sheet lined with nonstick foil), mist with olive oil cooking spray, and sprinkle with a dash of sea salt. Bake at 250 degrees for about 30-40 minutes until crispy.
Curb it: "If you’re craving gooey cheese, which is often what the mac and cheese craving is all about, microwave a couple pieces of light string cheese for a few seconds, and eat it with a spoon," says Alexander. "It gives you that gooey craving-satisfier with only about 50 calories and 2.5 grams of fat each, and you get 6 grams of protein, so you don’t go to bed with a ton of carbs sitting in your stomach.”
Curb it: “For pasta, get one that’s high in fiber and top with lean meatballs or cubes of grilled chicken so you don’t consume so many heavy carbs that will kill that six-pack,” Alexander says.