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5 Healthy Foods To Satisfy Your Chocolate Craving

Few foods are more crave-worthy than rich, sweet chocolate. But, as a more-or-less responsible adult, how do you manage your chocolate cravings?  After all, chocolate beckons from every vending machine, coffee shop, and checkout line you encounter throughout the day. It’s everywhere! But with a standard Hershey’s bar clocking in at 210 calories, chocolate will have to remain a treat instead of a daily meal replacement.  

There’s a reason we crave chocolate (some of us, all day, every day.) According to Psychology Today, eating chocolate releases dopamine, the neurotransmitter that activates the reward centers of the brain. So not only does chocolate taste delicious, it also makes you feel good. No wonder this sweet treat is so addictive. But there may be other reasons you desire a dark chocolate Milky Way that have nothing to do with happiness.

By addressing the reason why you want chocolate, you can redirect your snack needs to healthier alternatives. Whether you’re in need of something sweet, an energy boost, or just plain hungry, there is a snack option for you. Sweet fruits, creamy yogurt, and even crunchy chickpeas can make for great snacks as well. By having some of these healthy foods on hand, you’ll be less tempted to raid the office candy dish several times a day.

1. If You Need Something Sweet

Fresh fruit is a great choice when you’re craving something sweet. A honeycrisp apple, for instance, has far fewer calories than a chocolate bar — and you get the added benefit of about 5 grams of dietary fiber, which can help you feel full and control blood sugar levels.

2. If You Need Energy ASAP

You may think sugar will get you through the 2 p.m. slump, but may be better off with a iron-rich snack like hummus. The National Health institute reports that fatigue may be a sign of iron deficiency, so it’s important to stock up during snack time. And, unlike chocolate, things like hummus and pumpkin seeds won’t cause a sugar crash later.  

3. If You’re Just Hungry

Studies have shown that protein is more filling than carbohydrates and fats, and you don’t have to eat as much of it to feel satisfied. So next time your stomach is screaming for food, grab a protein-rich snack like Greek yogurt or almonds.

4. If You’re Bored And Have The Munchies

It’s normal for bored people to snack more, as it’s an easy way to break up the monotony. But devouring an entire bag of M&Ms won't keep you entertained for long and will leave you feeling sick. Instead, much on some air-popped popcorn, which, according to the Mayo Clinic, is packed with fill-you-up fiber. And, provided you skip the butter, popcorn is fairly low in calories. 

5. You Just Really Need Some Chocolate

Sometimes, a girl just needs a piece of chocolate. Try munching on some cacao nibs, which are the least processed form of chocolate and, according to the Huffington Post, provide a nice boost of antioxidants.

Images: Fraser Reid, Zoghal, Jennifer, Mikel Ortega, Cyclone Bill, Daniel Brock / Flickr