As needy humans we all have that one to two things that pushes us to have a cheat meal every once in a while. Sometimes our once in a while cheat meal ends up being a daily routine (who would attest to this fact say I). I most a times love to have that sugary feel at night by taking a bar of chocolate or M&M while watching a movie before I sleep, sometimes I intend to take a bite at one stick of shortbread and I end up taking a total of 5 sticks. You can’t blame my sugary mouth.
Research shows that for a bar of chocolate, its calorie count is 270 (1 bar 2 oz. (56 g). For M&M’s chocolate it is 142 (1 x serving, 28 pieces (1 oz.), and 240 calories for a package (1.7 oz.). For shortbread it is 142 (1 oz. (28.4 g)
This count increases with every attempt to satisfy my guilty pleasure, at this point I forgot the calories I consumed with every meal I took during the day. So by the time my weight changed, I was reminded when I got to the point where, my shirt does not fit anymore, my skirt could not slide through easily, the arm slide was more forceful and then a protruding stomach. Reality check. I had to create a substitute, because you cannot totally eliminate guilty pleasures, that’s why it is tagged guilty (LOL).
For a bar of chocolate, my healthy guilty pleasure options were,
- Frozen Chocolate banana: 1/2 a small banana dipped in 2 squares dark melted chocolate and frozen. This is about 75 calories. This treat involves chocolate so you still get that chocolaty taste, but by combining it with the healthy, low fat banana you are likely to eat less actual chocolate. The banana also provides important vitamins and minerals such as potassium and adds fiber and bulk to your snack, meaning it will keep you feeling satisfied for longer. As an added bonus frozen banana tastes just like banana ice cream.
- Hot cocoa: Made with one cup of non-fat milk and two teaspoons of unsweetened cocoa powder. This is about 100 calories. It is another way to get that chocolaty flavor without the fat and calories, this drink also provides a good dose of calcium for strong bones and protein to keep you full.
For my M&M cravings, I substituted it for a healthy guilty pleasure of,
- Dried fruits: A small handful of about 40-80 calories (depending on fruit type). Dried fruits are a great way to satisfy a sweet tooth and gain nutrients in the process. Dried fruits contain all the same vitamins and minerals as fresh versions but in a more concentrated form. This means they taste sweeter to help curb cravings. Buy small packets such as boxes of raisins for a portable, portion controlled, and sweet treat. Make sure you choose natural varieties and avoid those packaged in oil or with added sugar as this will add to the calorie count.
- Dark chocolate: 2 squares per serving. It contains 30-80 calories (depending on square size, brand and % cocoa). While this is not really an alternative to chocolate, it is the best way to satisfy a chocolate craving with the real thing, but minimizing calories. Choose the highest percentage cocoa that you can, as these contain the most beneficial antioxidants. To help you stick to just two squares, buy an expensive luxury block and savor each bite. The more expensive it is, the best way to minimize the amount you take (LOL).
For my cravings for shortbread I substituted with my healthy guilty pleasure of,
- Granola bars: Eating granola may help lower your cholesterol and prevent certain chronic diseases, such as heart disease and cancer. It’s a type of breakfast cereal consisting of whole grain oats, nuts and dried fruits. The oats are commonly toasted with a small amount of oil and sweetener, giving the cereal a crunchy texture. Each variation of granola has a slightly different nutritional value. Some may have more sugar, fat, calories or protein, depending on the ingredients. Whole grain oats and nuts, two main ingredients in most granola, contain dietary fiber. From just 1/3 cup of granola, you’ll get about 4 grams of fiber. Although it’s indigestible by your body, fiber helps to regulate digestion and prevent constipation. It may also help control your blood sugar and promote a feeling of fullness after eating, allowing you to cut calories with less hunger
Try figuring out what you could substitute for that thing that wakes you up at night, to sneak into the kitchen. Or you could as well follow my healthy guilty pleasure trend and see how that works wonders.
Follow us on:
By Blessing Nwachukwu | [email protected]