Everyone has a weakness. Whether it’s a bag of barbecue potato chips during a new TV show or a chocolatey pick-me-up during an afternoon slump, food cravings can often get the best of us. The key to outsmarting these pesky cravings isn’t avoiding them–it’s outsmarting them. The next time you get a hankering for something sweet, greasy, or covered in salt, follow these tips to help you satisfy your craving, while keeping your blood sugar in check.

First things first.
It’s important to determine whether or not you’re actually hungry. Food cravings tend to sneak up on us when we’re tired, stressed, or just bored. The next time you have a sudden urge to nosh on a double-chocolate brownie, drink an 8-ounce glass of water instead. If your stomach still says “feed me” after 20 minutes, it’s time for a snack. Here are five diabetes-friendly options that are sure to help you refuel and stay satisfied until your next meal.

You’re craving: Potato chips
Try this instead: Annie’s Veggie Boats
Crispy, salty, and full of addictive crunch, it’s no wonder potato chips are one of the most-craved foods in America. The next time you’re tempted to reach for a bag sour cream and onion munchies, try these Veggie Boats instead. Created by Chef Robert Lewis (The Happy Diabetic), these little bowls are just as fun to make as they are to eat. The creamy salad dressing is full of flavor, while the fresh-cut veggies give you the hearty crunch you crave.

You’re craving: French fries
Try this instead: Homemade fries
Most restaurant-style fries are chock-full of unnecessary salt and grease. (Not to mention all those preservatives!) Instead of swinging through the drive-through the next time you want a salty snack, try making your own instead. These potato wedges from Diabetic Gourmet are baked, not fried, which cuts the calorie-count way down. You can also customize the recipe with sweet potatoes for a snack that’s rich in fiber and Vitamin A.

You’e craving: A chocolate bar
Try this instead: Dark chocolate
Chocolate often gets a bad rap. While the milk and white varieties can be full of fat and sugar, dark chocolate can help lower bad cholesterol and improve brain function. At just 170 calories and 6 grams of sugar per ounce (about a 1-inch square), it’s okay to indulge every once in awhile. Just make sure to keep your portions in check.

You’re craving: Ice cream
Try this instead: Frozen banana “ice cream”
It tastes just like ice cream, but there’s no cream or sugar at all! In fact, this fruit-based snack has just one ingredient: bananas. It’s just as cool and silky as the sweet treat you crave, without all the added fat and sugar. To bump up the protein, swirl in a teaspoon of peanut butter. Aching for chocolate? A small dash of cocoa powder will do the trick.

You’re craving: Soda
Try this instead: Low-sugar fruit smoothie
The average American drinks 40 gallons of sugary beverages a year–that’s enough to fill a small bathtub. Even though soda is known to give you a nice little energy boost, sugar and caffeine aren’t enough to sustain you for long. Before you know it, your energy levels will drop, and you’ll be left reaching for another can. Try slurping a smoothie instead. These diabetes-friendly options from Diabetic Living are low in sugar and high in nutrients–the perfect cool and creamy alternative to filling up on empty calories.

Photo courtesy of Nomadic Lass on Flickr