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How to Work with Your Cravings, Not Against Them

A recent British survey found that women abandon their lofty diet goals after only five weeks, two days, and 43 minutes. The reason we can’t stick to healthy eating? Almost 60 percent of women said food cravings made diets difficult, while “simply loving food” was an obstacle for 42 percent.

One of the biggest dieting mistakes I see is people labeling their favorite foods as off limits. Like a young women sticking with a bad boyfriend or a toddler grappling at mom’s fragile designer sunglasses, as humans we tend to seek out the forbidden fruit. That’s why I encourage clients to work with their cravings, not against them.

I’ve found that there are three camps when it comes to dieters: handlers, beaters, and bingers. Imagine that you’re at a party and spot a plate of freshly baked, chocolate chip cookies. How would you deal with it?

Handlers: One cookie brings you joy and satisfies your sweet tooth. You walk away from the plate of cookies and life goes on. If you fall into this group, you’re likely to be at a happy place with your weight and have a good relationship with food. You exercise regularly and know that it will all balance itself out.

Beaters: You see cookies, obsess about if you should have one, eat two, and beat yourself up about it for the rest of the day. You realize you can’t handle your cravings and eventually end your diet.

Bingers: You devour three cookies and decide that the day is shot, so you don’t care about what you eat the rest of the day-healthy or not. The downward spiral begins, and next thing you know you’re off of your diet for good.

RELATED: Learn the right portions for the 10 times serving size matters most.

I’ve fallen into each of these groups at one point or another. Fortunately in my late 20s I discovered mindfulness and eating just until comfortably full-no matter the menu. If you’re not a handler, here are a few ways to join the club.

1. Decide which of your favorite foods you don’t want to part with. If you adore dark chocolate like I do, why would you want to end that happiness? Get a good bar and break off a square when you want a piece. Then put it away from sight until the next day or week. On the other hand, if you realize that you’ve simply become accustomed to keeping potato chips on hand as a snack when in actuality you’d be just as satisfied with hummus and rye crackers, rewrite your shopping list.

2. Set some guidelines. Cheese is a nutrient-rich food, but it’s not all created equal. If it’s your favorite food, keeping triple-cream Brie in the house is probably not a good idea, but keeping a package of portion-controlled reduced-fat cheese snacks on hand is smart for a protein and calcium-rich snack.

RELATED: Satisfy your craving for pizza, quiche, soup, and more with these healthy cheese recipes.

3. Make it count. When you dive into the restaurant breadbasket, stop after the first bite: Is it stellar bread? There’s nothing wrong with enjoying just one piece of the good stuff-maybe two if it’s divine and portioned small. But make sure it’s really good and send the basket away after your one roll.

4. Never attempt to eat around your cravings. If you crave a cookie and 15 minutes later still want it, it’s better to have a cookie than have fat-free ice cream first and later give into the cookie.

5. Imbibe intelligently. I love a good glass of wine almost nightly-5 ounces or less. Once that glass is gone or it’s your night off from drinking wine, I recommend flavored sparkling water. Its fizz and flavor makes it more special than water, yet it’s still zero calories.

6. Start anew. No matter how badly you derailed from your goals, the meal is your next opportunity to start fresh.

Michelle Dudash is a registered dietitian, Cordon Bleu-certified chef, and author of the cookbook Clean Eating for Busy Families. As a food writer, healthy recipe developer, television personality, and eating coach, she has spread her message to millions of people. Follow her on Twitter and Facebook, and read her blog for clean eating recipes and tips.

  • By Michelle Dudash, R.D.

7 Things Nutritionists Do When a Sugar Craving Strikes

Photo Courtesy of Oxmoor House

When a sugar craving stops by uninvited, it’s hard to ignore your sweet tooth and mosey on with your day. As much as you want to be the person who eats carrots and hummus instead of the cinnamon bun that taunted you in the break room this morning (and, you know, not devour the cinnamon bun anyway), you’ve accepted the fact that you won’t be adding this particular skill to your resumé anytime soon.

But you’re also aware that too much sugar is awful for your health, and you’d like do your best to conquer cravings as healthfully as possible—which is why we went to the pros to find out how they personally keep their sweet tooth in check. Take note:

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1. They Make Sure the Craving’s Legit

“The body knows that glucose is the best hit for energy, so we tend to crave it when we’re hungry,” says Kristin Koskinen, RDN, a registered dietitian based in Richland, Washington. “If I recognize that I haven’t eaten in a while, I start with a healthy choice (fruit, a green salad, leftovers from dinner) and then evaluate if the sugar craving is real, or indicative of more basic hunger.” If legit, Koskinen turns to raisins covered in dark chocolate (70 percent cacao or more). Because they’re intensely sweet, they hit the sugar craving hard, thus minimizing total amount eaten.

2. They Eat a Hard Candy

Many people have issues controlling their sweets intake—particularly, if it’s a favorite. “To quell a craving, I’ll have a small piece of candy (usually, a hard candy), one that’s sweet but that I won’t overdo,” says New York-based registered dietitian Katherine Brooking, RD. The candy offers a shot of sugar when you’re feeling extra ravenous for the stuff, but takes longer to eat—and by the time you’re done, your craving might be too.

3. They Meet in the Middle

Instead of caving to your sugar craving entirely, try making healthier versions of your favorite desserts—ones that still taste like dessert, but offer way more nutrients. “When I’m craving an ice cream-like dessert, I blend 1 frozen banana with 1/2 tablespoon of dark cocoa powder and 1/2 tablespoon of peanut butter,” says Connecticut-based registered dietitian Summer Yule, RDN. The banana provides the sweetness, as well as that satisfying, dessert-like texture, while the nutrients from the banana and peanut butter keep you from crashing later.

To satisfy candy bar-like cravings with fewer calories and more nutrients, Yule prepares a packet of plain instant oatmeal with water, stirs in 1 tablespoon of dark cocoa powder and some non-nutritive sweetener, then melts 1 tablespoon of peanut butter on top. “It has all of the flavors of a peanut butter cup, but is filling due to the fiber in the oatmeal and the balance of protein, carbohydrates, and healthy fats,” says Yule. (In a word, yum.)

Interested in learning more about sugar and how it can affect your health? Read these next:

  • 4 of the Biggest Myths About Sugar
  • Yes, You Still Need to Keep Sugar Around—Seriously
  • What to Do After You’ve Eaten Too Much Sugar

4. They Use the Pillow Method

When our emotions are at an all-time high and a healthier substitute isn’t cutting it, try sitting with the craving instead of flooring it to the nearest 7/11 for a bucket of ice cream. “This, for me, typically involves sitting with—and clenching—a pillow until the craving passes,” says Kristie Veltkamp, RD, registered dietitian at Spectrum Health in Grand Rapids, Michigan. “Usually, after about 10 minutes, the craving peaks and subsides.”

5. They Munch on Dried Fennel Seeds

Because chewing gum can actually make a sugar craving worse (the artificial sweeteners and consistent chewing both reinforce the need to keep eating), New York-based registered dietitian Brooke Alpert, RD, is all about chewing on dried fennel seeds instead. “They’re similar to licorice in flavor, so the slightly sweet taste can help prevent the need for actual sweets,” she says. Bonus: They can help aid digestion too.

6. They Chill Out (Literally)

Sometimes when we want something sweet (like, now), it’s because we’re dealing with uncomfortable emotions, like anxiety or overwhelm. When this happens to Chicago-based registered dietitian Christy Brissette, RD, she turns to a technique called the diver’s response. “When divers hit the cold water, they breathe deeper and are instantly more relaxed,” she explains. “You can emulate this effect by placing something really cold on your neck or face.” This super-cool move (pun totally intended) can help you snap out of a tizzy—and step away from the bag of cookies—in no time.

7. They Eat Dessert Every Night

It may sound counterintuitive, but enjoying a serving of dessert each night can help curb your sweet tooth when presented with more indulgent options, says New York-based registered dietitian Rachel Fine, RDN. “When celebrating a friend’s birthday, for example, I’m happy to try some cake without feeling the need to eat two or three pieces, since my sweet tooth has been satisfied all week long,” she says. “There isn’t a feeling of ‘I have to pack it all in now because I won’t have another chance for a while.’”

Bottom line: Less restriction equals more control over your sweet tooth.

9 Stay-Slim Snacks That Will Satisfy Your Cravings

Here’s some good news. Snacking doesn’t need to destroy your diet. In fact, research shows that, sometimes, snacking when you’re really hungry can help control weight gain — because you’re likely eat less later at dinner. The issue with snacking, in truth, is that we don’t always make the best snacking choices. These top-rated, low-cal snacks are here to help with that. They’re the smart way to snack.

1. Super Easy Hummus

2. Quick Mango Salsa

A super-fresh fruit-and-tomato salsa that weighs in at only 35 calories per serving!
Rave Review: “This is so quick and easy! I use more tomatoes and more peppers, but you can easily adjust this recipe to your own tastes.” — mlk05925

Image zoom Photo by lutzflcat

3. Strawberry Goat Cheese Bruschetta

Tangy, slightly salty goat cheese and balsamic-coated strawberries top toasted bread — and it’s all just 303 calories.
Rave Review: “We LOVED it!! Very simple to make! I will make this over and over!” — UrbanskiCircus

Image zoom Strawberry Goat Cheese Bruschetta | Photo by Jennifer Baker

4. Roasted Chickpeas

This super-quick snack is just 161 calories.
Rave Review: “I love this recipe. It makes a great snack sitting in front of the TV. And so filling too!” — Paige S.

Image zoom Roasted chickpeas. Photo by larkspur

5. Cinnamon Sweet Potato Chips

A terrific alternative to regular potato chips. It’s only 157 calories per serving.
Rave Review: “Amazing! These were easy to make and healthier than regular potato chips. As stated before, the thinner you slice them, the better.” — cookingx

Image zoom Spicy Sweet Potato Chips | Photo by Meredith

6. Baked Kale Chips

Kale is a sensational source of Vitamins A, C, and K. So much goodness, and only 58 calories per serving.
Rave Review: “Mmmm yummy! These taste nutty and are really crisp! Delish!” — Bernadette

Image zoom Baked Kale Chips | Photo by bd.weld

7. Playgroup Granola Bars

Rolled oats combine with wheat germ and raisins — and only 161 calories per serving.
Rave Review: “These are wonderful. I double the recipe, and we still eat them in less than a week. I have also substituted dried blueberries for the raisins.” — jenni alexander

Image zoom Photo by Molly

8. Annie’s Fruit Salsa and Cinnamon Chips

This tasty fruit salsa, combined with the cinnamon tortilla chips, comes in at 312 calories.
Rave Review: “I expected it to be good, but I never dreamed it would be as good as it was. Excellent recipe!” — Sarah

Image zoom Photo by lutzflcat

9. Cauliflower Popcorn

This easy three-ingredient recipe makes snack time extremely low-cal — only 83 per serving.
Rave Review: “This works perfectly for a light-night snack. I used garlic powder instead of salt. Perfect!” — Buckwheat Queen

Image zoom Cauliflower Popcorn | Photo by bd.weld

Check out our complete collection of Healthy Snack Recipes.

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The Sweet Cookies You Can Eat on a Sugar Detox (2:20)

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Chocolate cookies are a household staple. Most everyone can reflect back on their childhood to the smell and anticipation of enjoying a freshly baked chocolate chip cookie coming out of the oven or even eating the raw and gooey cookie dough right out of the bowl. The experience of making cookies can form a connection to our past and create an emotional attachment. Some people cherish the experience of making cookies with loved ones, sharing them with others, or simply indulging in them when they are in the mood for a treat.

Aside from the emotional comfort of the classic dessert, studies suggest that ingredients in chocolate chip cookies may have addictive properties. Sugar, the main ingredient in a traditional chocolate chip cookie recipe, has been proven to activate the reward and cravings parts of the brain comparable to the way one craves addictive drugs, like cocaine.such as cocaine. In addition to containing sugar, chocolate contains small amounts of a compound known as anandamide. Consuming high-fat, sugary cookies raises the level of anandamide in our brains, which targets the same cell receptors as THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), the active ingredient in marijuana that is responsible for its mood-altering effects. While chocolate chip cookies do not produce the same high as marijuana, there may be a chemical explanation for our desire and enjoyment of cookies.

The texture and flavor of cookies are other key addictive characteristics. The result of browned butter, caramelized sugar, vanilla, and chocolate creates beautiful rich flavor and when combined with salt enhances the flavor complexity. Gail Vance Civille, founder and president of Sensory Spectrum, describes the texture to CNN, “Every bite will be interesting… You hit the cookie, which has crispiness due to air pockets in the cookie crumb, and then the chocolate, which is dense and uniform when you bite through it.” The personal preference of texture varies from soft and gooey to crispy, crunchy cookies. The flavor also is dependent on the person, whether it be the ratio of chocolate chips, type of chocolate, more or less salt, etc. However, no matter which chocolate chip cookie preference an individual has the experience remains indulgently enjoyable. Just try to resist eating too many at once to avoid a sugar crash.

Find more of the latest health news here.

Related:

Coconut Oil Chocolate Chip Cookies

7 Sugar Substitutes Satisfy Your Sweet Tooth

Greek Yogurt Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Dip

XL Serious Craving Chocolate Chip Cookie

Quick and easy recipe for ONE extra large, thick and chewy chocolate chip cookie! Perfect for those moments when a cookie craving strikes, but don’t want to bake up a whole batch. (Can also make 2 regular sized cookies or mini skillet cookies a la mode!)

Is it just me, or does everyone else have those “I NEED A CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIE RIGHT NOW!” moments?

You know…those “NO a chocolate bar won’t do, an Oreo doesn’t count, ice cream is too cold, and there’s nothing sweet in the house I want more that a warm, freshly baked cookie, loaded with gooey chocolate, but I’m too lazy to make some” situations?

Sounds familiar? Can you relate?

Judging by the fact that I get called up at the most inconvenient times by my brothers, sisters-in-law, their children, best friends and their families to rescue their aching sweet tooth, by making them a batch of these cookies, I don’t think I’m alone on this one.

Now as much as I enjoy baking, sometimes laziness (but let’s call it tiredness 😉), is stronger than my passion.

I absolutely LOVE my favorite chocolate chip recipe; its THE BEST! But the mere thought of bringing eggs to room temperature, browning butter, chilling the dough, scooping out 16 balls, then chilling again, then baking one sheet a time, sounds just plain daunting when all you need is A SINGLE cookie to tame a monstrous craving…STAT!

The rest of the scenario usually ends up taking one of two routes: 1) Eating a regretful amount of chocolate bars, Oreos and ice cream, then hating myself for it or 2) forcing myself to sleep.

That is until I found the perfect solution.

A super quick and easy recipe that makes exactly ONE oversized chocolate chip cookie, to satisfy the sweet tooth emergency.

This rescue cookie is big enough to share with a fellow cookie lover, or eat all by yourself if you’re pregnant, going through that time of the month, overly stressed, having a cheat meal, or just really really hungry. I’m the last one to judge.

It’s about 5 inches/13 cm in diameter and double the size of an average cookie.

It whips up in a cereal bowl in a matter of 5 minutes and bakes up in 16. The most difficult part of the process is leaving it to cool after baking so the inside sets up. That is ofcourse unless you like raw cookie dough. In that case, it is immediate satisfaction for you my friend!

Judging by the popularity of the microwave Molten Chocolate Mug Cake, its obvious that you guys LOVE a quick chocolate fix! Who doesn’t?! They cater to our psychological wellbeing and overall stability in the littlest time possible with minimal amount of effort #ChocolateAddictProblems. So for those same reasons, I have no doubt that this cookie will become your new go-to dessert in times of need.

Cookie dozens have their time and place in life, but this one right here will be your cushion. Your saviour. Your rescuer. Your confidant. Your Bae❤️

In short, if you’re the kind who often gets some serious cookie cravings, but don’t always feel like whipping up a whole batch, then you need this recipe in your life!

It is exceptionally thick, perfectly soft in the middle, slightly crisp around the edges, with layers of gooey chocolate chips in every bite. A touch of sea salt flakes on top, tickles the tastebuds with the perfect balance of sweet and salty. Feel free to leave it out though, if you’re not into that combo.

The secret to making these cookies so thick, is a little cornstarch mixed in with the flour. We use cornstarch to thicken gravies and sauces, and it has been proved to work wonders into thickening up cookies too.

I added a little more than the usual amount of salt here, to cut down the sweetness, but you won’t taste it in the final product. Baking soda is also added for just the right amount of lift.

All that gets whisked together. I happen to have the cutest little whisk, but a fork will do the job just as well.

In a microwave safe bowl (cereal bowl size is perfect), you’ll heat the butter until almost melted, but not all the way through. The reason for that, is that you don’t want to get the butter too hot, or it could cook the egg and melt the chocolate chips.

A few more whisks is all you need to fully melt it.

Then in goes soft brown sugar and granulated sugar.

A quick mix to blend.

Then 2 teaspoons of whisked egg get added. I know! But remember, we’re only making one cookie here, so a full egg will result in more like a cookie flavored omelet😷. A single yolk is too much for that amount of dough too. So how on earth do you measure out 2 teaspoons of egg you ask? Simple…In a small bowl, whisk a full egg really well, then measure out 2 teaspoons. Cover the rest and store in the fridge for later use, like for making a real omelet the next morning. Or another one of these cookies the following night.

A fragrant splash of vanilla goes next.

Whisk again until smooth.

Then drop in your flour mixture.

Stir it in until a dough form, then throw in your chocolate chips.

Fold those in and voila! your dough is ready.

At this point, if you feel that the dough is too soft from the warmth of the melted butter, just stick it in the freezer for about 5 minutes, until you clean up a little.

If not, then just drop it on your baking sheet and shape it into a shaggy ball. Stick on a few more chocolate chips on top for looks, then a sprinkle of sea salt if your heart desires. Then off to the oven it goes.

Now because this is a fairly large cookie, you want to make sure that you’ve oven is set at 338F/170C, which is lower than average. This relatively low heat will ensure that your cookie gets enough time to cook through on the inside by the time it bakes on the outside. When I tried a higher temperature, the cookie baked in less time, but the exterior was fully baked, while the interior remained on the raw side. And when I flattened the dough into a disk instead of a ball for more even baking, I ended up with a thin cookie, which I’ve never a fan of. So round dough at 338F/ 170C for 16 to 17 minutes until golden and set around the edges, proved to be the winning method.

All baked! Now ready for the torture?

Set your timer for at least 20 minutes, more if you can resist and don’t touch the cookie till the timer goes off. You can stare and smell if you want, but don’t sneak a bite.

Here’s why: The secret to achieving soft and chewy cookies, in general, is baking them just until the edges set, but the center is still undercooked. So if you lose your patience and break open the cookie as soon as it comes out of the oven, you’ll be greeted with a raw inside. You absolutely need to leave it to cool on the hot baking sheet, as it is the residual heat of the baking sheet that gently bakes it through without hardening it.

Did I convince you?

See? Worth the wait.

Perfectly cooked through, yet still super soft and gooey on the inside. Now break it in half, pour some cold milk, call your partner in crime, and share the yumminess.

“Joey doesn’t share food?” No problem!

Make 2 average size cookies instead. No need to fight over food guys.

Now you both get a cookie of your own.

Or…OR…

OMG OOOOOORRRR….

You can get all fancy and make mini skillet cookies instead. Or pizookies!!! Eeeeeeeekkkkk!

In love with these babies. I’m not sure if you could tell from the photos, but these are literally the tiniest cast iron skillets you will ever see! I can’t even. Adorbz!

They are 3.5″ inches in diameter and 100% fun. Found them on Amazon. Ofcourse it goes without saying that you could use double the size of this skillet (or pan) and make ONE larger skillet cookie instead of two.

But something about these individual sized servings that makes me want to squeal. Something’s missing though. Hmmmmm…..

Yup! Much better.

Vanilla ice cream and warm drizzles of Nutella and dulce de leche.

Can I get an OH YEAH?!

But whether you choose to bake up a gigantic cookie, fit for a cookie monster.

Or one for you and one for “Joey.”

Or go over the top with an a al mode experience.

This is a recipe you’re gonna need in your back pocket.

Prep Time 10 minutes Cook Time 17 minutes Additional Time 25 minutes Total Time 52 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon (1 1/3oz/ 38g) all purpose flour, spooned and leveled, preferably weighed
  • 1/4 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 1/8 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons (3/4oz/ 21g) unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons packed (1oz/ 28g) soft brown sugar, light or dark
  • 1 tablespoon (1/2oz/ 14g) granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons whisked egg (whisk the egg well in a small bowl then measure*)
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 tablespoons (1 1/2oz/ 42g) semisweet chocolate chips
  • Sea salt flakes, for sprinkling on top (optional)

Instructions

  1. Adjust oven rack to lower middle position and preheat oven to 338F/ 170C). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or silicon mat; set aside.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, cornstarch, baking soda and salt to combine.
  3. Place the butter in another small microwave-safe bowl. Heat the butter in the microwave until about two-thirds of the way melted; about 30 seconds. Don’t melt it all the way, because you don’t want it too hot or it could cook the egg and melt the chocolate chips. Take the bowl out of the microwave, and stir the butter around to fully melt.
  4. To the melted butter, add in both sugars and whisk until blended.
  5. Add in the whisked egg and vanilla and whisk until well combined.
  6. Add in the flour mixture, then stir until just incorporated. Fold in the chocolate chips until evenly distributed. If the dough is too warm to be able to hold its shape well into a roundish ball, then place in the freezer to stiffen until you clean up, about 5 minutes.
  7. Drop the dough onto the prepared baking sheet, roughly shaping it into a shaggy ball. It doesn’t have to be perfect; keep it loose and DON’T compress it into a tight ball. Add a few chocolate chips on top for looks. Sprinkle with sea salt flakes if desired.
  8. Bake until golden and the edges have set well enough that you could easily lift it with your finger, but the center is still semisoft; 16 to 17 minutes.
  9. Allow the cookie to cool almost completely on the cookie sheet, at least 20 minutes, more if you can resist. I know this sounds like torture, but you absolutely need to give it enough time to finish baking from the residual heat of the baking sheet, otherwise it will still be raw in the middle. Enjoy!

To Make 2 Average Size Cookies:

  1. Follow recipe up until Step 6, then divide the dough into 2 tall balls and place on the prepared baking sheet. Add a few chocolate chips on top for looks. Sprinkle with sea salt flakes if desired.
  2. Bake until golden and the edges have set well enough that you could barely lift it with your finger, but the center is still soft; 10 to 11 minutes. Continue with Steps 9 and 10.

To Make 2 Mini Skillet Cookies:

  1. Spray 2 (3 1/2″) cast iron skillets with non stick cooking spray or lightly butter them. Arrange on a baking sheet.
  2. Follow recipe until Step 6, then divide the dough among the 2 skillets. Flatten the dough into disks, then add a few chocolate chips on top for looks. Sprinkle with sea salt flakes if desired.
  3. Bake for 13 to 15 minutes or until golden around the edges and center is just set but not overcooked. Since skillet cookies are best eaten very warm, make sure they are mostly cooked through (unlike regular cookies), because they won’t get enough time to set while cooling.
  4. Allow to cool for about 5 minutes, then serve warm, topped with vanilla ice cream and drizzled with your favorite toppings, if desired. I used slightly warmed up Nutella and dulce de leche. Hot fudge sauce and salted caramel sauce will also be amazing here.

Recipe Notes

  1. To measure the 2 teaspoons of egg, whisk an egg in a small bowl, then measure out 2 teaspoons. Cover the rest, and refrigerate for later use, like making an omelette the next morning, or another cookie the following night 🙂
  2. I got the mini cast iron skillets from Amazon, here’re . They so cute and tiny; 3 1/2″ in diameter. Feel free to make the skillet cookie in one larger skillet (about 5″ to 6″) in diameter instead of 2, but note that baking time will need to be adjusted.

Recipe is A Cleobuttera Original

Measurements Note: All recipes of this site have been developed using weight measurements. Although US volume measurements have been included for your convenience, it is highly encouraged that you weigh your ingredients using a kitchen scale to get the best possible results. Due to the sensitive nature of baking, kitchen scales are proven to yield more accurate and consistent results than measuring cups. Enjoy!

10 Insane Recipes to Satisfy Your Chocolate Chip Cookie Craving

Image courtesy of Wilton

It seems everyone has a special memory tied to freshly baked chocolate chip cookies–whether it’s a secret family recipe or an ‘oops’ baking mishap. To celebrate the classic sweet treat, we found ten recipes from some of our favorite bloggers to show you how to reinvent the chocolate chip cookie.

1. Super Soft Chocolate Chip Cookie

Image zoom Image courtesy of Baked by Rachel

Something about a warm chocolate chip cookie brings you right back to the younger years at your grandparent’s house. Some might prefer a little crunch in their cookie, but for those who say soft is the way to go, this classic recipe is for you. These cookies will fall apart as you lift them off the baking sheet.

Get the recipe from Baked by Rachel

2. Cookie Bowl

Image zoom Image courtesy of Wilton

Turning a muffin pan upside down in the oven sounds like a terrible mess, right? Well apparently you can make edible chocolate chip cookie bowls if you do it like this! These are perfect for a movie night or a sleepover with the kids. You can fill it with anything you like, but we recommend a big ice cream sundae!

Get the recipe from Wilton

3. Chocolate Chip Cheesecake Cookie Bars

Image zoom Image courtesy of Mom on Time Out

Double the dessert, double the fun. These chocolate chip cheesecake cookie bars combines the best of both worlds and it only takes five ingredients! You might as well make a double batch, too, because these are going to be gobbled up right away.

Get the recipe from Mom on Time Out

4. Baileys Chocolate Chip Dip

Image zoom Image courtesy of Lemon Tree Dwelling

Because chocolate chip cookies aren’t just for kids. This booze-infused dip is made with Baileys Irish Cream and is EXACTLY what you should make for your next dinner party dessert. While you can eat it by the spoonful, it tastes extra delicious when paired with vanilla cookies.

Get the recipe from Lemon Tree Dwelling

5. Cookie Monster Fudge

Image zoom Image courtesy of Something Swanky

If there was any character we related to the most on Sesame Street, it was the Cookie Monster. The fuzzy blue guy is the inspiration behind this chocolate chip cookie fudge, and we can’t get enough of it! Plus, with only four ingredients, what’s not to love?

Get the recipe from Something Swanky

6. Deep Fried Cookie Dough

Image zoom Image courtesy of Handle the Heat

Chocolate chip cookies come in all shapes and sizes, but you’ll really have a ball with this one. These deep fried cookie dough bites are fried to golden perfection. We think they’re even better than the latest deep fried state fair trend!

Get the recipe from Handle the Heat

7. Nutella Stuffed Skillet Cookie

Image zoom Image courtesy of Cafe Delites

The chocolate chip cookie just got upgraded. This warm, ooey-gooey, deep dish treat is cooked in a skillet and stuffed with Nutella. As if your mouth isn’t watering already, imagine how amazing this tastes with a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top. Yumm.

Get the recipe from Café Delites

8. Milk and Cookie Shots

Image zoom Image courtesy of Pop Sugar

Don’t be deceived by the name. This dessert and drink combo is a kid-friendly delicacy inspired by the booming dessert trend in New York City. While it is intended to be filled with milk, we won’t tell if you add a little something stronger after the kids go to sleep.

Get the recipe from Pop Sugar

9. Chocolate Chip Waffle Cookies

Image zoom Image courtesy of Cooking with Curls

These yummy chocolate chip cookies are baked right in your waffle iron, so they are perfect for summer days when you don’t want to heat up the kitchen with your oven. And yes, we totally think these are acceptable for breakfast.

Get the recipe from Cooking With Curls

10. Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Cake

Image zoom Image courtesy of Sugar and Soul

For times when you can’t decide between cookies or cake, go ahead and have them both! This chocolate chip cookie dough cake recipe is layers of moist cake and rich cookie dough topped with thick chocolate frosting dripping down the sides.

Get the recipe from Sugar and Soul

  • By Hannah Bruneman

7 Smart Ways to Satisfy Your Chocolate Cravings

Melissa Neiman February 10, 2017 Food & Nutrition Email Print Twitter Pinterest Facebook

This post was most recently updated on February 13th, 2017

Craving chocolate? You aren’t the only one. In fact, the coveted confection accounted for an estimated $21.1 billion in sales in the U.S. alone in 2014, according to the National Confectioners Association.

White chocolate, milk chocolate, dark chocolate… When it comes to this sweet treat, it’s okay to play favorites. For many chocolate lovers, nothing beats a slice of velvety, rich, chocolate cake topped with chocolate frosting, whereas others prefer a bowl of cool, creamy chocolate ice cream crowned with hot fudge and chocolate sprinkles. Then, of course, there are the purists who choose chocolate in its bar form without a lot of added ingredients.

Regardless of your chocolate preference, one thing is certain. Like all good things, chocolate is best consumed in moderation. So what can you do when your brain practically begs for the sweet stuff? Following are seven smart alternatives to help you conquer your cocoa cravings—and avoid succumbing to the post-chocolate sugar slump:

  1. Reach for your favorite fruit
    When the chocolate cravings come knocking, they may be satisfied by a different sweet treat. And there’s no better choice than fresh fruit. Unlike most chocolate confections, fruits like grapes, strawberries, blueberries, bananas, oranges, grapefruit and melon are low in fat and calories.
  2. Go for the yogurt
    Yogurt is another sweet and satisfying substitute for chocolate (not to mention a good source of vitamins, minerals and beneficial live probiotics). There are many different varieties available, but to achieve a feeling of fullness and quash cocoa cravings, a high-protein option is your best bet. Read the nutrition label and choose one with around 20 grams per serving.
  3. Nut butter to the rescue
    Nut butters are full of flavor, packed with protein and low in carbohydrates. They also contain fiber, which can make you feel full and quell your chocolate cravings. And talk about variety! The next time you go to reach for a king-sized chocolate bar, enjoy a few spoonfuls of rich, satisfying almond, cashew, peanut, hazelnut or walnut butter
  4. Hit the trail (mix)
    Tamp down your chocolate urges with a sweet trail mix that contains dried fruit, nuts, seeds and other tasty ingredients, such as yogurt-covered raisins. You can make your own or opt for one of many delicious, nutritious pre-packaged trail mix varieties.
  5. Get loco with cocoa (powder, that is)
    To replicate the flavor of chocolate, try experimenting with cocoa powder. Add a small amount of it to milk, coffee, tea, yogurt, cottage cheese, shakes and smoothies. You’ll enjoy the rich, chocolatey goodness without the added fat, calories and sugar! For more ideas, check out 10 creative ways to use cocoa powder
  6. Consider carob
    Carob is hands-down a healthier choice than chocolate. Unlike chocolate, carob doesn’t contain caffeine or cholesterol and it’s low in sodium and fat and high in calcium and fiber. For some, carob is an acquired taste. However, many people grow to enjoy carob’s sweet flavor and even sweeter health benefits in time.
  7. Wait it out
    When you feel as though no substitute will do, try waiting 10 to 20 minutes to see if your chocolate craving subsides. If you still feel the pull of the mighty cocoa bean after that time has passed, indulge in a small piece of your chocolate of choice (but keep in mind dark chocolate is typically the best for you!).

Melissa Neiman

Melissa Neiman is a seasoned wordsmith who traded in the beautiful beaches of South Florida for the majestic mountains of Colorado. Her work has appeared in numerous publications and on websites, including eDiets.com, iVillage.com, Bankrate.com, MSN.com and Yahoo! Finance.

Melissa Neiman is a seasoned wordsmith who traded in the beautiful beaches of South Florida for the majestic mountains of Colorado. Her work has appeared in numerous publications and on websites, including eDiets.com, iVillage.com, Bankrate.com, MSN.com and Yahoo! Finance.

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20 Clean Eats for Every Craving

Eating clean is all about eating real foods—not fake ones. But there are a bunch of other “rules,” too, which makes it a little tricky at times to eat what you’re really in the mood for, even if you’re not the type to reach for boxed or bagged processed foods anyway. Good news: You can still indulge and eat clean! From chocolate urges to salty chip fantasies, these healthy alternatives will keep you on the clean eating course while outsmarting your cravings.

RELATED: No-sugar-added recipes you’ll actually look forward to eating.

1

Craving Bacon?

Yep, you can have your bacon and eat it too. “Eat center cut bacon; yes, real pork bacon not turkey!” exclaims says Sarah-Jane Bedwell, RD, LDN, a Nashville-based nutritionist and author of Schedule Me Skinny: Plan to Lose Weight and Keep it Off in Just 30 Minutes a Week. “Center cut pork bacon, considered the highest quality bacon in the meat industry, is actually similar in nutrition to turkey bacon—but tastes way better. The fatty portions from the top and bottom have been removed, resulting in leaner, more uniformed slices that include more meat and less fat. A serving of center cut pork bacon has only about 25 more calories than a serving of turkey bacon. And although turkey bacon is a bit leaner only by about half a gram of fat per serving—it’s actually quite a bit lower in protein; turkey bacon has about two grams of protein per serving, whereas center cut bacon has six grams of protein per serving.”

2

Craving Pasta?

Get ready to twirl your fork into something just as good as the real deal. “Spaghetti squash is a lot easier to cook than it looks,” says Lisa Hayim, registered dietitian and founder of The WellNecessities. “It comes in at just 30 calories per cup and 10 grams of carbohydrates, compared to the 180 calories and 35 grams of carbohydrates in one cup of pasta. The spaghetti squash is also rich in antioxidants and nutrients like beta-carotene and potassium.” To cook: Slice in half the long way. Scoop out seeds. Rub the inside of the squash with olive oil. Place in oven face down at 350 degrees for 35 minutes. Remove squash and fork out the insides!

3

Craving Mashed Potatoes?

Pass the potato-less taters, please! “With cauliflower mashed ‘potatoes,’ you’ll slash about 200 calories per serving and cut out the artery-clogging fat found in the butter and whole milk used in traditional mashed potatoes,” The Nutrition Twins, Lyssie Lakatos, RDN, CDN, CFT and Tammy Lakatos Shames, RDN, CDN, CFT, and authors of The Nutrition Twins’ Veggie Cure explain. “Cauliflower is also part of the cruciferous family, so it is a superstar when it comes to fighting cancer. Cauliflower mashed potatoes are easy to make: Steam the cauliflower, mash it with a fork, and add a little skim milk, garlic, and pepper, and blend in a food processor until smooth.”

4

Craving Alfredo?

“Alfredo on the brain? Try this easy avocado pasta sauce. It may seem odd to utilize this green fruit in a pasta dish, but avocado is full of healthy fats and will feel decadent and delicious added to soba, whole wheat, or zucchini noodles,” offers Nutritionist Kayleen St. John, RD at Natural Gourmet Institute, a health-supportive cooking school in New York City, that also offers public classes. “Combine two ripe avocados, a cup of basil, a clove of garlic, lemon juice from one lemon, and salt and pepper in a food processor. With the motor running, add olive oil in a slow stream until emulsified.” This makes four servings total, but feel free to double the recipe and store some for later; we’re betting you’ll certainly want more of this.

5

Craving Chocolate?

Yes, the rumors are true: Dark chocolate can help you lose weight. “If you are craving chocolate, try the brand new dark chocolate Luna bar flavors that each has only 5 grams of sugar,” advises Bedwell. “The Dark Chocolate Hazelnut, Dark Chocolate Mocha Almond, and Peanut Butter Dark chocolate chunk bars also have seven to eight grams of protein and three grams of fiber each.”

6

Craving Apple Pie?

Ready for an easy, healthy version of this decadent comfort food favorite and all-American dessert? You betchya! The Nutrition Twins break it down: “Place 1/4 -1/2-inch slices of an apple on a microwave-safe plate, add a teaspoon of cinnamon, and just a drop of water. Pop it in the microwave for about five minutes. Remove from the microwave and place it on a graham cracker or ginger snaps.” They say this treat is only 140 calories, and it contains powerful flavonoids, which protect against disease. FYI: A piece of traditional apple pie can set you back 450 calories and is packed with sugar and bad-for-your-heart fat.

7

Craving Tuna or Egg Salad?

“Can’t give up that creamy goodness? Try substituting your favorite tuna or egg salads with avocado,” suggests Hayim. “Avocado provides just a quarter calories compared to mayo and is rich in the healthy monounsaturated fatty acids. Try a tangy egg salad and you won’t even miss the mayo between the peppery arugula and silky avocado!”

8

Craving Salty Munchies?

Chicken soup may be good for the soul, but chomping on almonds is good for the waistline. “When craving something salty, try Blue Diamond’s Salt and Vinegar almonds. They’re full flavor, and much better than chips,” says Bedwell. “Plus, 28 nuts have just 170 calories and provide six grams of filling protein and three grams of fiber.” If you like a more variety-filled snacking experience, try making your own trail mix!

9

Craving Pizza?

Just because you’re eating clean, doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy this comfort food staple. Instead of takeout, make it healthy by whipping it up yourself, advise The Nutrition Twins. “It’s easy,” they say. “Use a small, whole wheat pita bread for a high-quality, whole-grain carbohydrate with fiber and nutrients. It will also keep the calories in check and avoid the insulin-surging, refined bread that is used in typical pizza. Add a low-sodium tomato sauce, both canned and jarred are fine, as they contain four times the cancer-fighting lycopene of fresh tomatoes. Lastly, top it with your favorite veggies to boost fiber, nutrients and antioxidants.”

10

Craving Ice Cream?

Who isn’t craving ice cream? But “nice cream” awaits! “Instead of the heavily processed cream, try blending a frozen banana with a tablespoon of unsweetened nut butter. Top with cinnamon and enjoy this sweet and light treat whenever you wanna bust open a pint of ole B&J’s,” suggests Hayim.

11

Craving a Crunchy Snack Food?

If you crave a crunchy snack food like chips, try pistachios, advise The Nutrition Twins. Buy the shelled variety: The extra work you have to do to pop open each nut will slow down you’re eating and make you more mindful of your consumption. “Potato chips give you processed ingredients and are fried. Pistachios, on the other hand, are guilt-free with a satisfying crunch, creamy texture, and rich flavor,” The Nutrition Twins explain. “Unlike potato chips, pistachios offer a good source of protein and fiber, with over three times as many pieces per serving.” Exactly how much? Well, pistachios give you 49 nuts per serving, compared to just 15 potato chips per serving. (And who eats just 15 potato chips?) Pistachios also have three times the protein, fiber, and pieces per serving compared to chips.

12

Craving Cheese?

Those plant-based peeps might be onto something. “Nutritional yeast has a parmesan-y taste that pairs well with anything from popcorn and salads to pesto and soups,” says Hayim. “If you like cheesy eggs, try sprinkling a bit of ‘nooch’ into your next scrambled eggs. Bonus: It’s also a nutritional powerhouse that’s rich in vitamin B12 and protein. Compared to cheese which is about 110-calorie per ¼ cup, nutritional yeast is just 45 calories and fat-free.”

13

Craving Steak?

Beef often gets a bad rap, but lean beef is actually a great source of important nutrients including protein, iron, and zinc. “In fact, just a three-ounce serving of lean beef provides nearly half the daily value for protein, 10 essential vitamins, and minerals, and has less than 10 grams of fat and just 150 calories!” shares Bedwell. “Besides just tasting great, the nutrients in lean beef, such as protein, iron and B-vitamins can help satisfy you and maintain a healthy weight, build muscles and fuel a healthy and active lifestyle. Plus, research suggests that eating lean beef can also improve cholesterol levels.” A three-ounce serving is about the size of your fist, like a regular-sized hamburger.

14

Craving Cheese Puffs?

Celebrity nutritionist Lisa DeFazio, MS, RDN, tells her clients to make their own quick chips when craving cheese puffs. “Just toss thinly sliced potatoes with olive oil, lay them out on a microwave-safe plate lined with a couple of paper towels, and microwave the slices for three minutes. Turn over and then microwave at 50% power for another three minutes. Continue cooking the remaining chips at 50% power in one-minute intervals until they are all crispy and golden.”

15

Craving Veggie Chips?

Try these homemade (baked) cumin-spiced beet chips instead of store-bought varieties. St. John explains what to do: “Preheat your oven to 350°F. Wash and dry three medium beets or golden beets (no need to peel). Using a mandoline, thinly slice the beets and in a large bowl, toss beet slices, a teaspoon or two of olive oil, a teaspoon of cumin and half a teaspoon of salt. Spread beet slices onto baking sheets lined with parchment in a single layer. Bake beet chips for 35-45 minutes until crunchy, flipping slices once halfway through baking time. Allow chips to cool thoroughly and blot any excess oil with paper towels. Store in an airtight container.” Voila! You’ll satisfy your salty craving with baked, nutrient dense chips rather than a fried, sodium bomb.

16

Craving Churros?

Sounds weird, but don’t knock it until you try it. Soon, you may just be spreading the chickpea gospel high and low. “Instead of this calorie-loaded fried treat, try roasting chickpeas in cinnamon, salt, and a touch of sugar, for a playful twist on a churro,” offers Hayim. “It’s higher in protein and low in sugar!” P.S. With a guilt-free snack as good as this, we promise we won’t tell if you sneak that extra handful.

17

Craving Chocolate and Nuts?

Lusting over Snickers? Dreaming of Mounds? Can’t get Almond Joys out of your head? “Try KIND’s Nuts & Spices Bars like their new Dark Chocolate Almond Mint or their Dark Chocolate Nuts and Sea Salt,” offer The Nutrition Twins. “You can see and pronounce the ingredients in the KIND bars and they contain delicious flavors. Plus you get nutrients like fiber, protein and antioxidants.” While candy bars give you processed ingredients and can clog your arteries, KIND bars can satisfy those cravings without killing your health goals.

18

Craving Eggs and Bacon?

Beeline your way to the kitchen to cook up a batch of eggs with dulse. Yes, you read that right “Dulse is an edible red seaweed rich in fiber and nutrients. Uncooked it tastes like the ocean, but when it is cooked, it takes on a smoky flavor similar to bacon. To roast, cook it at 300 degrees. To saute: Place in a pan with a tablespoon of coconut oil,” offers Hayim.

19

Craving a Handful of Chocolate Balls?

We wish we thought of this ages ago. “Try dates rolled in cocoa powder. Dates are super sweet and gooey and they rank towards the top of the list when it comes to antioxidants. Plus, they contain powerful disease-fighting compounds,” offer The Nutrition Twins. “Roll them in cocoa powder and you won’t believe how much it tastes like the real, decadent chocolate deal. And cocoa powder is rich in heart-healthy antioxidants as well.” Mmm. We’re sold!

20

Craving Chips?

Craving a salty-crunchy treat? (Okay, who isn’t?) “Instead of traditional potato chips, try Cassava pops or chips, which are 30 percent lower in fat,” suggests Hayim. Looking for a Chex mix-esque experience? Throw some weight-loss friendly nuts in the mix, along with pumpkin or sunflower seeds for added texture.

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Cravings: What Do They Mean and How Can You Beat Them?

We all have cravings but what are they exactly? According to Monica Auslander Moreno, MS, RD, LD/N, and nutrition consultant for RSP Nutrition, “Cravings are largely psychological or emotional in the absence of malnutrition. This isn’t to say they aren’t ‘real.’ You feel them very intensely, but it’s important to dissect the causes and stimuli and honor them with intention and truth.” Cravings are largely psychological and can’t always be trusted. Moreno gives an example of how social media can play a role in our urges for certain foods. “If you just had lunch and you’re scrolling through an Instagram feed and see a post about a local restaurant’s ice cream sundae, obviously that’s a triggering stimulus and you aren’t really hungry.”

Dr. Robyn Odegaard, the co-founder of The Whole Food Muscle Club, shares a few common tips for cravings:

What causes cravings?

  • Lack of sleep – If you aren’t getting enough quality shut-eye, your body is going to be looking for quick-fix energy. Nothing works better for that than fat, sugar, and salt. Throw in some caffeine and you can continue to ignore the call of your bed. Study after study shows that most adults are sleep deprived. It is highly unlikely that you are an exception.
  • Lack of nutrients – The standard American diet that most people eat doesn’t have nearly enough nutrients in it. Your cells could be starving. Your evolution says, “Find something calorie dense” because it makes the mistake of assuming that calories = nutrition. For example, sugar addiction is your body screaming for nutrients, but we mistake it for wanting energy (calories). We and our clients have found that the desire for sugar (especially in the evenings) goes away when breakfast and lunch are low calorie dense and high nutritional dense foods (not supplements or fake foods).
  • Lack of bulk (fiber) – If you’ve eaten enough calories, yet still crave something it could be that you’re not getting enough fiber in your diet to make you feel full, and feed your gut bacteria.
  • Unhappy gut flora – The human gut is an amazing place. Healthy bacteria can reduce inflammation, make you feel better, and generally keep things humming along. But, unhappy gut bacteria can make life miserable, including creating cravings.
  • Social setting – Sometimes a craving is just about where you are and who you’re hanging with. When junk food is easily available (like at a party) it can feel almost impossible to not have some.

In other cases, cravings can also be a learned behavior. When you feel you need something sweet after a meal, this may purely just a habit or a psychological need. This isn’t always a bad thing, the body wants what it wants and it is better to honor your cravings in some cases instead of depriving the body. Dr. Moreno says, “If days go by and you find yourself thinking about a certain food, you should consider honoring the craving as opposed to sweeping it under the rug and then you’d eventually binge on something else to cope.”

Tapping into the root cause of your cravings and your body is a simple way to keep them under control. “Cravings now widely considered a key characteristic of diverse pathologies, including weight and eating disorders also playing a role in food addiction,” explains Dr. Ryan Neinstein. According to a study in the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI), frequent food cravings can lead to unwanted consumption of foods that are being craved, and, as a result, trigger feelings of guilt or shame. This explains why food cravings may be associated with disordered eating and eating disorder psychopathology.

Need chocolate?

Nealy Fischer, founder of The Flexible Chef, says there are a few reasons why you may be hit with a chocolate craving—stress being a popular reason. “Studies have actually shown the overall experience of eating chocolate can help lift our spirits. It’s because when we indulge in a nibble of this yummy treat, dopamine (a feel good neurotransmitter) is released into our brain. When this happens, stress levels lower and our joy level rises,” explains Fischer.She adds that if you’re planning to indulge in a few bites that dark chocolate is the best option because it’s free of processed sugars, unlike milk chocolate.

Fatigue is another common reason why you may start feeling the need for chocolate. Your body may just be screaming for a caffeine boost.

Where’s that burger?

If the body is craving iron rich foods you may automatically think of think of red meats. “Iron deficiency (ID) is the most prevalent nutrient deficiency within the developed world,” as explained in a NCBI case study. This may be a craving you want to honor, as iron deficiency affects over 30 percent of the U.S. population. This is a cause of concern as iron in the human body contributes to many important physiological functions.

If a burger or juicy steak isn’t on the menu for you, there are several other options. “There are a lot of vegetarian-friendly foods out there that boast this essential nutrient,” Fischer explains. Vegetables, like spinach and other leafy greens, can offer an excellent source of iron. Kale, swiss chard, collard greens, broccoli, legumes, nuts, pumpkin seeds, quinoa, and tofu are all great options.

Need something salty?

Regardless of your food preferences, there’s something satisfying about a salty snack when you crave it. In some cases this could be a simple craving out of a result of boredom. In other scenarios it could also be a sign that you’re stressed, haven’t had enough sleep, or are experiencing PMS. Once again, tapping into your deeper emotions to pinpoint the root cause will help you create a better understanding of your cravings as they happen.

Fischer says excessive sweating could be another reason for this craving! “Since our body’s sweat contains salt, excessive sweating can actually cause a dip in our sodium levels,” she explains. She suggests that if you work out a lot or run outside in the high heat, your desire to dive into a bag of potato chips may actually be the result of an electrolyte imbalance, and your body’s way of telling you it needs salt! Next time salt cravings hit, try snacking on some olives or pickles as a healthier, more beneficial alternative.

Now that you understand more about cravings, it’s time to work out! Check out all the programs and training classes that are live now in the Aaptiv app.

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Foods that satisfy cravings

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