Jodi Balis is Capital Area Food Bank’s Resident Dietitian. Follow her on Twitter at @TheRedLentil
I am going to put this out there. Sometimes a nice chocolate, gooey treat or a salty, crunchy snack brings a certain comfort and soothes the nerves. Of course, a leisure walk or deep breathing are healthy ways of mitigating stress, but there are times that call for flavorful comfort.
This week is one of those times. It’s an exciting time at the food bank as we are moving from the past and into the future to better meet the increased demands of our community. Our new distribution center – located at 4900 Puerto Rico Avenue, NE Washington, DC – will allow us address the rise in hunger more efficiently and effectively.
While the sense of newness brings hope, there is also a desire to stay rooted in what’s familiar.
It was when I was packing boxes this week that a desire for comfort presented itself in the form of a donut. All my thoughts formed around donuts and lingered throughout the day. That’s what cravings do.
So I reasoned with my craving and asked, “What else could satisfy this itch?” Would a salty and chewy treat do the trick? Or perhaps a sweet and gooey bite? Maybe a crunchy and sweet bowl of something?
This inner dialogue is key to managing cravings. Ask your craving some questions, explore flavor profiles and look for alternatives. Are you craving ice cream? Try a smoothie instead. Are cookies at the forefront of your mind? Graham crackers may just do the trick. Sometimes it works. Sometimes you just want the cookie but getting to know your craving is a way of forming a new relationship with it.
This week, my donut craving was satisfied with zucchini bread. While the chewy and sweet were soothing to my senses, the recipe also encompassed principles of Healthy Eating on a Budget – seasonal ingredients paired with healthy kitchen pantry basics.
I’ll eat the donut another day, but this time, I asked my craving some questions and got some tasty answers.
Basic Zucchini Bread
This recipe is not meant to be super sweet. The chocolate chips offer just enough sweetness while the whole wheat flour provides a satisfying heft.
1 cup white flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
1 ½ cups shredded zucchini
1 ripe banana, mashed
1 egg, beaten
¼ cup canola oil
1 cup milk or milk substitute
½ chocolate chips
Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees. Oil a bread loaf pan. In a large bowl, mix dry ingredients together. In a separate bowl, mix together wet ingredients. Combine wet ingredients and dry ingredients and do not over mix. Add chocolate chips. Pour into loaf pan and bake for 35-40 minutes or until knife inserted into center comes out clean.