As you try to create healthier meals, never eliminate. If you have been eating Doritos with your sandwiches for the past 10 years, don't just assume that you will instantly be able to go chip-free at lunch time. Think of a crunchy & heart-friendly substitution that would go well with your sandwich to fulfill your crunchy need. Some people may be able to swap the chips for fruit or veggies whereas others may need to find a similar taste or texture in order to feel satisfied with the swap. Perhaps you satisfy your afternoon cravings with a sweet treat like a frappe or cappuccino and a candy bar (or a handful of portioned controlled bite-sized chocolates). Well, dark chocolate (70% cacao or more is recommended) is certainly on my list of heart-healthy treats so how about having a piece of fruit AND 1/2 ounce dark chocolate. As you work on improved meal preparation (many afternoon cravings are due to unbalanced breakfast and lunch meals, lack of healthy snacking) as well as better sleeping habits (so that you wake up rested on most days of the week) if you still need your "caffeine" have a tall glass of water and a 12 ounce decaf coffee w/ a little skim milk.
My other suggestion for changing habits is to look forward to something with all meals.
As you know, I am not a big fan of veggies from the Brassica oleracea family (Broccoli, cauliflower, brussel sprouts, Kale and collard greens). I like broccoli the best out of this family but I can't admit that I "crave" these foods like I do with my other staple veggies. However, if I know that I am having chickpeas w/ Kale or Tofu with Cauliflower, I am much more likely to want to prepare those "not crave-able" foods because I crave the other parts of my meal. I have found that after a few times of preparing foods that I once didn't enjoy, I really learned to appreciate them in my diet and now I eat them all of the time!
*I find that many people who create healthier habits tend to gravitate to healthier foods for a lifetime and think "How did I ever crave x-food? Now I couldn't even imagine eating it!". Certainly I am not saying there are "good" and "bad" foods but I believe that there are foods that should be emphasized in the diet for weight loss/maintenance as well as performance gains and foods that should be de-emphasized because they are limiters in personal weight and performance goals. I believe the diet should be built off foods with little to no ingredients and rich in whole grains, healthy fats, lean/low fat protein, water and LOTS of veggies and fruit.
Here's my take on Crunchy Potato Chips. Perfect with a salad or sandwich, as a substitute for processed chips or french fries. Also, this would be a great appetizer or snack w/ a sprinkle of shredded cheese, hummus or salsa.
Crunchy Potato Chips
2-3 medium potatoes (softened so that the inside of the potato is slightly hard but slice-able. Typically around 4-5 min.)
2-3 tsp of olive oil
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
2. Peel potatoes and thinly slice.
3. Spread on baking sheet (lined with tinfoil) and drizzle with olive oil (measure before you drizzle). Sprinkle with pepper and any other no-salt seasonings (ex. paprika, basil, cumin).
4. Bake for 30-40 min or until potatoes turn brown and begin to puff.