I’m trying really hard to stick to my New Year’s diet, but I feel myself craving sweet and salty snacks more and more. What can I do about it?

Megan Zimmerman, lead dietitian and health coach with Solstice Health in Oconomowoc, explained that “When you don’t eat enough calories, your body starts looking for fuel fast resulting in sugar cravings.” Sugar provides a quick rush in energy, but not the kind of energy your body needs, which triggers the cycle of more sugar cravings. Additionally, carbohydrate heavy meals without enough fat and/or protein to balance it out can cause sugar cravings."

Sugar cravings indicate that your body may need chromium, magnesium and/or zinc, Zimmerman said. Healthy sugar craving substitutions include fruit and cottage cheese, frozen grapes, fruit leather fruit strips, flavored Greek yogurt cups and fresh fruit.

Cravings for salty, crunchy foods can indicate frustration, anger or stress.  Curb stress salt cravings with healthy options such as apple slices dipped in peanut butter, air-popped popcorn and veggies dipped in hummus, Zimmerman suggested.

Salt cravings may also indicate that your body may need calcium and/or potassium.

Zimmerman recommended that people stick to a schedule of three balanced meals per day, plus a morning and afternoon snack. A healthy dessert such as 1 ounce of dark chocolate with blueberries in fat free milk is just fine, too.

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