What You Really Crave When You Have a Craving
Many people consider them to be one of the worst enemies in the battle of the bulge. Attacking unexpectedly and never relenting until you surrender, the food cravings you experience everyday can make losing weight seem almost impossible. Can anyone withstand the constant desire to eat a certain something that cravings bring on?
Will power is one thing, but if you learned more about the causes of the cravings you have, maybe you’d be better equipped to give your body what it really craves – instead of overeating in an attempt to find out what cures the craving.
Use the following guidelines to help you understand why you’re craving what you’re craving, and healthy ways stop craving it.
1. If Crave Something Sweet
If you can’t get that piece of candy off your mind, and you just feel like eating anything sweet, you’re probably suffering a mini energy crisis. Sugar is just about the simplest carbohydrate there is and that means it’s the quickest way for your body to get an energy hit.
But instead of hitting the candy jar, try eating some fruit instead. It will cure the craving just as well and you probably eat too much sugar anyway.
2. If You Crave Something Salty
If your internal conversation has retrogressed into a one-way chant of “gimmee chips, gimmee chips, gimmee chips”, there’s more than a passing chance that your body is looking for sodium (salt). And, considering that we generally also eat way more salt than we need every day, a salt craving can be a sign that you’re overly stressed. It’s partly why stress is linked to weight gain. Our bodies produce cortisol in response to stress and cortisol makes us crave salt. The knee-jerk reaction to the craving is to eat lots of high-fat, high-salt foods.
Instead, if you often crave salty foods, have some roasted chick peas tossed in olive oil and garnished with herbs and, yes, a pinch of salt. You’ll get much less salt that hoovering a bag of chips, and you’ll get way more nutrition and fibre too.
3. If You Crave Something Deep Fried
If you can’t keep your mind off the local fried chicken joint, try not to surrender to the urge. Your fat intake has probably been low for the past couple days and your body needs some. Instead of the greasy chicken cooked in unhealthy fats, and even more fat lurking in the chicken skin, look for healthy fats to fill the void. You’ll get the same crave-curing effects from a variety of nuts, and avocado. Not only are they packed with healthier fats, you’ll get Omega-3 fatty acids to boost your brain and heart performance too.
4. If You Crave Something Chocolatey
We saved the best for last. Chocolate!!! Could it be the world’s favourite food? The one that makes us completely forget anything about “eating healthily” or “nutrition” faster than any other?
Believe it or not, a chocolate craving could mean that your body is indeed looking for a nutrient. Chocolate is high in magnesium and we don’t usually get the recommended daily dose of it.
If you want to give into to a chocolate craving in the healthiest way, go for dark chocolate that is at least 75% cacao. Nuts and seeds are also magnesium-rich and a great way to give your body its fix is to combine almonds and dark chocolate. The almonds not only deliver magnesium, but also a good shot of protein, fibre and healthy fat. And the dark chocolate takes care of the chocolate craving with fewer calories, especially when eaten in moderation.
Blindly giving into cravings can shipwreck the best weight management program. But understanding what causes those cravings will help you satisfy them and keep your program on track. Talk to the nutritional specialists at your local Herbal One Centre to learn more.