We've ALL been there. A mid-day craving strikes and our minds tells us that our body NEEDS to have a sweet, salty or creamy foods-STAT! We cave in and mindlessly scarf down those salty potato chips, chocolates or reach for another rush of caffeine.
How to Beat Them
But, the bigger question here is why do we crave and what is really going on?
Beyond our mental state, cravings are propelled by our emotions and what's going on inside our personal lives. Are we stressed? anxious? happy or sad? It's totally natural to reach for simple carbohydrates or sugars to boost our serotonin and calm us the EFF down. However, reaching for a high-calorie, high-fat food every time you are stressed will only lead to weight gain and therefore, more stress on your body and mind.
SO, here's 10 Ways to Beat Cravings That Strike!
1.) Eat On A Regular Basis.By skipping meals or going a long period of time between meals you are setting yourself up for disaster. Instead of having the needed energy to make the healthier choice you will seek out whatever is quick and easy. This often leads to eating more processed foods in larger quantities than you normally would. This also starts you on an unhealthy cycle that with time will become harder to break. (Try eating at the exact same time every day - your body will start to sing!!!)
2.) Balance Out Your Meals: Be sure to include plenty of whole foods that contain healthy fats and protein. Eat lots of greens that are loaded with phytonutrients to help boost energy levels.
3.) Use Spices: Add naturally sweet spices to foods when you have a craving for something sweet. For example, cinnamon on oatmeal can replace actual sugar.
4.) Don’t Bring Junk Food In The House: Avoid over processed foods as much as you can. Once you bring the bag of chips or cookies into the house you have made it 10 times harder for yourself. Willpower will not last and sooner or later you will come home exhausted, stressed and the first thing you will reach for is the junk food.
5.) Drink Plenty Of Water: Some people may mistake dehydration as a sugar craving. Try drinking an 8 ounce glass of water and waiting 10-15 minutes before eating. You can also slice some fresh fruit or veggies into the water to add a boost of flavor. Lemons, limes, oranges or cucumbers are just a few that taste great.
6.) Take Your Mind Off With Exercise: The simple act of focusing your mind on a different activity can work wonders for fighting off cravings. It is usually when our mind is idle that we begin to think about other things such as food. When you dwell on cravings you are making them more powerful. Exercise is a great relief as it also releases feel good endorphins that can provide a similar “high” as a sugary or junk food treat can. Not only will you feel better about yourself and the decision you made but you are also creating a new healthy habit by immediately inserting an activity when you feel a craving coming on. Remember to stop it directly in its tracks! (Try walking outside - the added Vitamin D will lift your mood!)
7.) Fermented Foods: This may be one of the best ways to help fight cravings. By adding fermented foods to your daily routine you are not only adding healthy bacteria to your gut but are also fighting against those stubborn sugar cravings. You can expect to see a difference in as little as a couple days. Plus, fermented foods can also help to eliminate excess sugar in your body by feeding on it.
8.) Boost Serotonin Levels Naturally: You can do this by making sure you are getting enough sleep each night. When your body has enough time to recharge you may find that cravings are not as intense.
9.) Use Fruit To Satisfy A Sugar Craving: By consuming the whole fruit you are receiving the beneficial nutrients and fiber which helps to reduce spikes in blood sugar and is a much healthier option then that extra piece of cake or jar of cookies sitting on the counter.
10.) Avoid Using Artificial Sugar Substitutes: Please do not reach for the Splenda, Equal or Sweet n’ Low or other low calorie sugar sweeteners with their false promises. Instead choose a natural option such as fruit, dates, honey, maple syrup or stevia.