Food cravings, which are stubborn desires (usually involving calorie rich, nutrient empty foods) of what to eat at a certain time, may also underline a desire for a specific texture. Considering the food craved food texture can be a good way to find a middle ground between our own desires and the healthful food options that best meet our needs.
Creamy: Ice cream is a common example. Instead try fresh avocado or pureed berries into a cup of low-fat yogurt without added sugar.
Crunchy: Instead of pretzels and chips, which are high in sodium; try whole grain cereal without added sugar, plain nuts, or plain popcorn with spices such as cinnamon.
Liquid: This is a large source of empty calories in today’s dietary habits, examples include sweet iced tea, coffee drinks and soda. Instead, try plain iced tea with lemon, add fruit slices to club soda, choose nonfat milk and no sugar (use non-caloric substitute instead) for coffee.
Squishy: These are the fun jelly-like such as gummies candy. This texture can be similar to fresh grapes frozen for a few minutes, tapioca pudding (using non-fat milk and non-caloric sweetener) with tapioca pearls, or cherry tomatoes and room-temperature string cheese
Crispy: Typically, these cravings come in the form of salty chips. When choosing snacks to substitute for this the specific type of fruit or vegetable is important. For example, look for crisp apple varieties like: Braeburn, Honey Crisp, Fuji and Gala; avoid Cortland, Red Delicious or Rome which tend to be softer. Another option are red potatoes or white potatoes when they are not overcooked; avoid Russet potatoes which are high in starch (good for mashed potatoes).
Take-Home Message: The texture of food cravings can be something we can keep in mind for deciding suitable substitutes. Be creative and train your taste buds to associate food textures with healthier food options.
American Heart Assiciation. (n.d.). Conquer cravings with these healthy substitutions. www.heart.org. https://www.heart.org/en/healthy-living/healthy-eating/losing-weight/conquer-cravings-with-these-healthy-substitutions