When it comes to food cravings, have you ever heard that “food cravings are our bodies’ way of letting us know that we need a specific type of nutrient?” #nottrue #myth #soundsgood #butfalse. Instead, an emerging body of research suggests that our food cravings for say, cookies, may actually be shaped by our gut bacteria.

Gut Bug & Cravings Research

Studies conducted in mice showed that mice raised in a germ-free environment preferred more sweets and had a greater number of sweet taste receptors compared to mice raised in a normal environment with gut bacteria. (1) Another study demonstrated that individuals craving chocolate had different microbial breakdown products in their urine compared to chocolate “indifferent” individuals despite eating identical diets. (2) Both of these studies suggest gut bacteria play a role.

What’s a Chocolate Craving Girl To Do?

While this kind of research is still in its infancy, what can a chocolate craving individual do? Choose a variety of plant-based foods that contain a variety of different types of fiber. Bacteria diversity = better health, and perhaps…we’ll find more evidence, fewer unhealthy cravings.

In addition, it’s important to remember, we shape our tastebuds by our frequent food choices. For example, if you’re trying to eat foods with less added sugar, it takes time for your body to adjust to lower sugar foods, but you can adjust. We can change what our brain craves if we are consistent overtime. Instead of denying or ignoring creeping food cravings; a better approach is to fuel up on foods that not only satisfy your sweet tooth, but also offer up a dose of healthy nutrients.

Date, Walnut, Yogurt Bark (Nature’s Candy)

Enter this date, walnut, yogurt bark. Date are like nature’s candy. They’re sticky sweet and easily curb a craving for sugar and high in fiber. Prebiotic fiber in the dates combined with probiotic-rich nutrients in the yogurt make it the ideal treat for supporting beneficial bacteria, such as Lactobacillus acidophilus, a bacteria that improves our immunity and may play a role in cravings.

For more healthy food ideas to curb sweet cravings, check out the article Jennifer was quoted in: 7 foods to curb sweet cravings !

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Date Walnut Yogurt Bark


  • Author: Jennifer McDaniel
  • Prep Time: 10
  • Cook Time: 60
  • Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
  • Yield: 12 pieces 1x

Ingredients

Scale
  • 2, large bananas, frozen
  • 3/4 c. plain Greek yogurt
  • 8 Medjool dates, pitted
  • ½ tsp. vanilla
  • 1/4 c. walnuts
  • 1/4 t. kosher salt + pinch of salt

Instructions

  1. Peel and slice bananas into 1-inch slices.
  2. Freeze solid, about an hour.
  3. In a food processor or blender, blend all ingredients together using the pulse tab, scrape down sides with a rubber spatula to distribute the ingredients evenly.
  4. Blend until you have a creamy consistency.
  5. Spread onto a small sheet pan covered with parchment paper.
  6. Freeze for at least one hour.
  7. Sprinkle with salt.

Notes

Even better if the bark is slightly thawed.

  • Category: Dessert/Snack
  • Method: Freezer

Keywords: date walnut yogurt bark

Jennifer McDaniel

Jennifer McDaniel is a Registered Dietitian, Media Spokesperson, and co-author of Prevention's Mediterranean Table Cookbook. She and her team of Registered Dietitians aim to help their clients go further, make change last, and unlock their potential. She lives in St. Louis, MO with her husband, and three young sons. If you are interested in working with Jennifer, please visit our contact page.