There are many reasons we might find ourselves craving certain foods. It could be hormone imbalances, stress, nutrient deficiencies, and even simply environmental cues that make us yearn for specific snacks. However, sometimes when we reach to satisfy our cravings, we choose unhealthy quick fixes that don't do much for our bodies. Instead, they often leave us feeling worse. So we spoke to three top nutritionists to find out which satiating foods you'll always find in their fridge.
"I always recommend keeping dates stuffed with almond butter in your freezer for the times you want something a little sweeter," says nutritionist Jenna Hope. "You can also coat them in dark chocolate for an extra magnesium hit and to satisfy your chocolate cravings during the time of the month. Chocolate has been shown to reduce stress due to the magnesium and theobromine (a chemical compound found naturally in chocolate), which is often why we crave chocolate during times of stress or discomfort," she says.
Greek Yogurt With Cinnamon and Berries
"Greek yogurt with cinnamon and berries is also another great way to satisfy cravings," suggests Hope. She says that cinnamon helps to stabilize your blood sugar levels and keep those sweeter cravings under control.
Soups and Stews
Everyone has lazy days where a takeout seems way more tempting than cooking. But Hope recommends keeping your fridge stocked up with fresh stews and soups for when the temptation of a takeaway arises: "I always recommend keeping your fridge stocked up with fresh vegetables, stews, and soups for lazy days. Loading up on spices in a stew can also help to reduce salty cravings."
Roasted Sweet Potatoes
"If you're craving carbs, roasted sweet potatoes are a great option. Serve them with a meat or lentil Bolognese for something hearty and filling, or if you've got a sweet tooth, they're delicious with honey and cinnamon," suggests Hope.
Chickpeas, Beans, and Peas
"Roasted chickpeas, beans, and peas are a great way to satisfy saltier cravings. The Food Doctor bean mix and Brave Foods peas are the best," says Hope.
Naturally Salty Snacks
Salt cravings could mean that you're dehydrated; therefore, it's best to drink a couple of glasses of water first to see if the craving subsides. If you just can't kick your salt craving, Hope suggests opting for naturally salty foods such as olives, anchovies, and seaweed.
For a healthy mid-afternoon snack that'll combat any sweet and salty cravings, Hope recommends a spread of cottage cheese served with sliced apple on an oatcake. "This is the perfect way to satisfy the sweet and the salty cravings together whilst packing in some water from the apple," advises Hope.
Popcorn is a great way to satisfy either sweet or savory cravings. "It's important to read the label to make sure you buy a brand which isn't loaded with excess oils, though," suggests Hope.
Pea Crisps and Hummus
"Crisps are definitely a weakness of mine," says Libby Limon, nutritional therapist and yoga teacher. "I substitute with pea crisps or microwaved poppadums made from chickpea flour. These are high-protein, high-fiber options made from healthy legumes. Perfect with a dunk of hummus."
Rye Crackers With Avocado, Cooked Salmon, and Cucumber
"If you are watching your weight, research shows viewing your 'snack' as a mini meal can help prevent overeating," advises Limon. "I like to have a couple of rye crackers with avocado, cooked salmon, and cucumber for a balanced but filling mini meal."
"I'm a big fan of herbal teas," says Gabriela Peacock, nutritionist and founder of GP Nutrition. "Redbush, peppermint, or ginger tea help with digestion, or if you're craving sweeter treats, then cinnamon is perfect."
"In general, I tell patients to eat snacks that comprise of protein and carbs such as mixed nuts and seeds with a piece of fruit," says Peacock. "Protein bars or balls such as bounce balls are great for on the go. I sometimes make my own variations of these too."