How to Control Food Cravings
Are you prone to specific cravings on a consistent basis? Some people crave sweet, some crave salt and some just need a good crunch every once in a while. Next time your personal craving hits, use these strategies:
When a SALTY craving hits: Explore new herbs and spices. Sometimes we are actually craving more flavor instead of salt, so explore different flavors by using new herbs and spices in your cooking. Salt is not the only way to add flavor, and Americans are consuming too much as it is. Also, balance your electrolytes. Try eating a banana before you reach for salt. A little bit of sodium may just do the trick.
When a CARB craving hits: Learn to love whole grains. You must include carbs as a healthy part of your diet. Your brain runs 100 perfect on carbohydrates, so don’t cut them out, but don’t bury your head in a plate of white, enriched pasta. Your favorite carbohydrates can be found in whole-grain varieties, which won’t spike your blood sugar, setting you up for another craving later on. Whole grains also have a ton of fiber which will keep you fuller, longer.
When a CHOCOLATE craving hits: Practice moderation. Chocolate increases seratonin and endorphin production in the brain, which is why it is such a common craving during stressful times. Chocolate isn’t all bad though, so pick a pure, high-quality dark chocolate and allow yourself just a few squares. You will appease your craving, get the chocolate’s antioxidant-rich health benefits and stay sane, while avoiding the added sugars and unhealthy fat in highly processed milk chocolate.
When a CRUNCHY craving hits: Hit something. Anger and anxiety are the most common reasons why we experience cravings for crunch. The mechanical process of chewing, crunching and destroying a bag of chips releases tension, but you can do this in a more healthful way. Take up boxing, punch a pillow or lace up your sneaks and go pound some pavement.
Or pick a healthy crunch. So you aren’t angry, you just want something crunchy. I get it. There are a ton of healthy options that provide a ton of crunch. Try pita chips, kale chips, raw veggies made less boring with a delicious side of hummus, rice cakes with schmear of almond butter or a nice bowl of popcorn.
Don’t think of your cravings as a weakness, they happen to everyone. How you handle them is the key. Control your cravings with a plan of attack for when they strike. That way, they won’t control you.
Do you have food cravings? How do you deal in a healthy away? —Kelly