Written by: Tara Garrison, NASM, ICANS, CFSC and Superfeet Wellness Panel Member. Tara is a health optimization coach who is passionate about human potential. Tara specializes in the ketogenic diet and teaches people to "Do Keto. Not Forever" for metabolic flexibility and optimal human nutrition. Follow Tara on Instagram for more tips about how to live your best life.
Some people say that in order to get fit and healthy, you should never put a sweet thing in your mouth again.
I say more power to you if you can pull that off. But, the reality is that’s just not going to happen for most people.
I’ve found as a nutrition coach that a restrictive mindset is what eventually lands people knuckles deep in the peanut butter jar while pouring an entire bag of chocolate chips down their face. Or 78 Doritos down watching their favorite movie from 1998.
It doesn’t have to be like that.
Living a fit lifestyle is about finding a groove that works for you.
It’s about making your food work for you both in terms of enjoyment and well-rounded nutrition.
For me, I love treats and I love chips.
This is how I approach nutrition in regards to treats:
- I use the be your own mom approach. That means eat real food first. The you-can-have-that-after-you-eat-your-real-food thing that we say to our kids. Fill up on meat and veggies first.
- If I’m really jonesing for a treat, I think, will this help my body or does my body have to deal with it? How can I appease this craving with something that’s actually good for me? Can I have a chocolate peanut butter protein shake instead of sugar/gluten-bomb brownies? Can I have a low-carb protein ice cream instead of a giant tub of fat and sugar?
- How can I upgrade? If I’m going to have nacho cheese chips, can I at least get the high quality ones cooked in avocado oil and made out of cassava root, without any weird chemicals or preservatives?
Here’s a list of my go-to healthy substitutes:
- Protein Bars & Shakes.
I know, old school. It works. This is my first line of defense.
- Keto Bars.
If I’m needing some healthy fats, I’ll snag a bar made specifically for keto.
- Protein Ice Cream.
I regularly eat a bowl of 1/2 pint of Halo Top Ice Cream, a drizzle of peanut butter, a small handful of protein granola and whipped cream. Like almost every night after dinner. It kept me super happy with my lifestyle and I felt good about getting a protein boost while I was at it.
- Low carb baking mixes.
Holy cow there are so many good ones now. I love Keto & Co Brownie mix on Amazon as well as all of the mixes from Good Dee’s Mix. They’re amazing. There is no need to slam your body with sugar anymore.
- Lily’s Chocolate.
When I really want chocolate, I go for Lily’s. It tastes amazing and has no sugar.
- High quality chips and pork rinds.
If I’m going to have chips, I dip them in cottage cheese to get a protein boost, and so I get full and don’t eat the whole bag. I love Siete Foods chips because they are cooked in avocado oil. I only buy chips cooked in avocado or coconut oils to avoid inflammatory canola/soybean oil. Pork Rinds have zero carbs and have fat & protein. Go for quality brands like Epic & 4505. Also, I don’t buy chips all the time or I would eat way too many. But I do enjoy them sometimes to keep my lifestyle sustainable and enjoyable.
If you find yourself constantly wanting a certain junk food, how can you upgrade it? How can you make your food work for you instead of against you?
Finding healthy alternatives that bring joy to our healthy lifestyle is, to me, one of the keys to long-term health and success.