10 Ways to Kill a Chocolate Craving without Killing Your Diet
Even if you aren't a chocolate fanatic, if you're a woman, you probably get a serious - I mean SERIOUS - chocolate craving at least once a month. There just something about that deliciously creamy, endorphin releasing substance that makes it more than tough to resist. But working too hard to ignore a craving can backfire on you. When your body feels deprived, it can act out. You could end up gorging yourself in delirious rebellion. Instead, find ways to soothe that cocoa craving with some of these guilt free favorites below. You may find that once you given in a little, you many no longer feel like you have to devour the entire chocolate aisle at the supermarket.
Don't be a Sucker - Eat One Instead
Staying in control, while indulging a fierce craving, isn't easy. For me, there are two secrets: 1) Use some serious portion control, 2) Make the experience last as long as possible. Don't unwrap an entire chocolate fudge cake, thinking you can just eat one piece. You won't! Don't even put yourself if that vulnerable situation. Instead, reach for something that's already small, but still delicious. Tootsie Pops have only 60 calories per pop, and even the outside lollipop comes in a chocolate flavor. Lollipops take a long time to eat, meaning you can savor them long enough to let your craving subside. If you're not a Tootsie Pop fan, there are also tons of other chocolate flavored hard candies you can try. Make sure to choose hard candies though, because most soft chocolates contain lots of fat and way more calories than their sugar-based buddies.
If You Can't Skip It - Sip It!
Drown out that urge to splurge with some Diet Hot Cocoa. Today's light hot cocoas are nearly indistinguishable from their calorie-packed counterparts, and they have only a fraction of the calories. The other great thing about drinking your chocolate instead of chomping it is that liquids help to fill you up faster. Sipping on a nice hot, soothing cup of cocoa will also help to calm the part of your craving that may be caused by anxiety, stress, or boredom. If you aren't a cocoa lover, you may want to try chocolate flavored coffee instead. Flavored coffees come in insanely delicious flavors like German Chocolate Cake, Chocolate Caramel Swirl, and White Chocolate. Coffee will also give you the same energy boost you'd get from real chocolate, plus the added benefit of being a natural appetite suppressant.
Cream Your Craving
One of the best things about chocolate is that melt-in-your-mouth creaminess that makes us sigh with relief. If your body is calling for creamy, don't try to fool it with chocolate flavored candy or fat-free cookies. You have to find something that will FEEL just as good to eat as chocolate would. When creamy is the key, try reaching for some Fat-Free Pudding Snacks, like those by Jell-O. These snacks taste great and their super soft and soothing. For something frostier, stock up on fat-free fudge pops. There are brands that make fudge pops with fewer than 50 calories each. You may also want to try chocolate sorbet. I love Haagen Dazs chocolate sorbet, but I recommend it with caution because it doesn't come in a container smaller than a pint. If I'm really having a craving, I'll kill the entire thing. If you're like me, you may want to only stick with treats that come in single portion sizes.
Look for Lesser Evils
If you're looking for an authentic chocolate flavored candy, Tootsie Pops and Hard Candies may not do the trick. You'll want to get as close as you can while still staying within your caloric limits. Consider reaching for some Malted Milk Balls, Junior Mints, or Milk Duds. While these candies have real chocolate coatings, they use other ingredients for their centers, allowing them each to have fewer than 180 calories per serving. The brilliant people at Hershey's and many other chocolate manufacturers are now started to offer 100 calorie packs as well. That's right...100 calorie packs of chocolate. But be warned - 100 calorie packs only serve their purpose if you eat just one pack. Eat six, and you're back were you started.
Another great option for a more authentic chocolate flavor is sugar-free chocolate. Russel Stover and other candy makers offer these. Sugar-free chocolate, however, is made with ingredients that can cause adverse digestive side-effects, and these are NOT pleasant. I have been burned by these side effects enough times to know that I simply have to stay away from these products. But if you don't have a sensitive system, you may be able to handle them...just take it slow and don't overindulge.
Join the Dark Side
Ever noticed how much more satisfying dark chocolate is than milk chocolate. While you may be a milk chocolate fan, dark chocolate can also be delicious, and I found that I liked it more the more often I chose it. It grew on me. There are health related reasons to go dark too. Dark chocolate contains flavanoids which help protect our cells from damage. Anti-oxidant rich dark chocolate may help to prevent cancers and other diseases as well as slowing the aging process. While you're experimenting with dark chocolate, you may also want to check out raw cacao. Several companies offer cacao nibs, tiny bits of raw cacao, in handy snack packs. One of my favorites is Sweetriot. Sweetriot offers three flavors of chocolate coated cacao nibs in cute 140 calorie tins. These relatively low calorie snacks are crunchy and still super-chocolately minus much of the guilt.
Harness Your Chocolate Passion - Become a Cereal Killer
Are you embarrassed because you often crave chocolate first thing in the morning? As good a time as any, I say. Putting a little chocolate in your breakfast bowl is actually a great way to indulge your craving without destroying your diet. And there's no reason you can't also have cereal for dessert! Cocoa Puffs contain a mere 120 calories for a 1 cup serving. You can eat ‘em plain or add a calcium-rich cup of skim milk for an angelic 90 calories.
Get in the Moo-d
A very simple and simply delicious chocolate treat is plain old chocolate milk. Not only is chocolate milk creamy, satisfying, and ice cold, but the calcium and protein in milk will help you strengthen your bones and build muscle. Choose nonfat milk with just 90 calories per cup, and then add a serving of Hershey's Sugar-Free Chocolate syrup with a scandalously slim 15 calories per serving.
Cookies, Cakes, and Brownies Oh My!
Not only do I love chocolate, but I also tend to crave carbs...lots of carbs. I love cakes, cookies, muffins, cupcakes, scones, you name it. When a chocolate craving strikes me, I'm not happy until I've left a chocolately crumb trail all over my kitchen. If you're like me, check out Oreo 100 calorie packs. No, they don't have cream fillings, but they've got a great crunch and a truly chocolately taste. There are also tons of other 100 calorie cookie packs out there. Just make sure you only eat one pack at a time. Hostess has also started offering 100 calorie packs of its coffee cakes and crème filled (yes cream filled!) cupcakes. These are very worth trying if you're a cupcake freak like me. Finally, you may want to whip up a batch of No Pudge brownies. These brownies are really authentically gooey and light, but they're not portion controlled so stay away if you can't handle ‘em.
Cheer Up With Chocolate
Does just the thought of chocolate make you happy? What about the smell? For some of us, just the suggestion of chocolate can be enough to make us feel better about the world. If all you need is a hint of the chocolately goodness, check out MetroMint's Chocolate Mint Water. This real water with no other ingredients, but they've somehow magically infused it with a chocolate fragrance and slight chocolately-minty taste. It's different, but it actually does taste like a treat. You could also try chocolate flavored lip gloss or chocolate scented body lotion. You could be walking around in a chocolate scented cloud all day long. There are worse things!
Shaken, not Stirred
When was the last time you tried a chocolate flavored protein shake? I'll agree with you that years ago these chalky mixtures weren't much to write home about, but these days I'm starting to come around. The great thing about chocolate protein shakes is that you can make ‘em in the blender with ice, so they end up tasting similar to a chocolate milkshake. The other great thing is that protein shakes can fill you up enough to act as meal replacements or mini meals, and they also provide a healthy protein punch. I'm not a meat fan, so I'm happy to get my protein from chocolate any day. Experiment with different brands, and make sure you're buying a protein shake designed for weight-loss, if that's your goal. There are a few calorie-packed protein shakes out there designed for serious body builders, so be careful. Make sure you check the nutritional information before you buy. I am confident that you can find a brand you'll really like, and you're body will appreciate the low-fat, high-protein shake a lot more than the fat and sugar laden candy bar.
The point of this article is to let you know that it's okay to have a little of what you're craving. What's the point of being healthy if you have to chew on shrubs all day? You might be skinny, but not much could be said for your quality of life. Have fun, indulge, and enjoy the journey to your goals as much as you'll enjoy reaching them.