Food cravings can be a slippery slope when it comes to healthy eating if they get out of hand. Cravings can be a big reason why you are having trouble losing weight and keeping it off.
Typically, the foods that we crave are processed, high in sugar and overall bad for us if we overindulge. Have you ever found yourself in the fridge because you are craving something sweet and you automatically go for the ice cream?
But what is your body actually craving? I know that these cravings are NOT EASY to control, but what if we kept our bodies in check and gave it what it actually wanted instead of what we think it needs..
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Let's take a look a some of the most common cravings:
Craving Something Sweet
We are all guilty of going through the pantry and fridge to get that quick sugar fix from whatever is laying around. When in reality, there's a pretty good chance that you're already consuming too much sugar.
According to the American Heart Association the average person takes in 22 teaspoons (88 grams) of sugar daily!!!! Recommendations are 6 teaspoons (25 grams) for women and 9 teaspoons (36 grams) for men. This is more than three times the amount suggested. How crazy are those numbers?!
Any guesses for how much sugar is in a 12 Oz can of Coke? 31 grams! Eating sweet treats and consuming drinks high in sugar cause an immediate blood sugar spike and leave you feeling sluggish shortly after. Plus, chances are you will be hungry again.
I have a sweet tooth so I know all about the craving for sugar!
Instead of going straight to the chocolates (my favorite) or gummy candies, opt for some fruit instead. Natural sugars are much more beneficial to your body than processed/refined sugars. Sugar is a simple carbohydrate that is converted into glucose which is used in our body for energy, however the overall effect on your body depends on the type of sugar you are consuming.
Fruits have vitamins & minerals while refined sugars add little to no nutritional value. Fruits also have fiber which will keep you feeling fuller for longer.
If your body is craving carbs like bread or pasta, it could have something to do with your energy levels. Have they gone down recently? When your body goes too long without eating or if you consume too many simple carbs, your blood sugar will drop and your body will will look for starches that are quick and easy to digest.
When you consume these carbs your blood sugar will spike and get back to normal quickly, however it won't make you feel full! If you're craving carbs go for whole grain and complex carbs such as beans, quinoa and oatmeal. These will keep you fuller longer because they take longer to digest.
Craving Something Salty
Salt gets a bad rep but its tricky. Too much salt in our diets can be unhealthy, however not enough salt can also be dangerous. Salt is necessary for maintaining fluid balance and controlling muscles!
A craving of something salty could be caused by dehydration, an electrolyte imbalance or even stress. When your body is stressed it releases cortisol, which makes you reach for the high-fat, salty foods. This is why stress often drives weight gain!
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When we eat salt, receptors in our brain think yummy, this is good! Herbs and spices have the same effect! Get your flavor with those instead of added salt. Eating whole foods like vegetables with a side of hummus is a much better option over reaching for potato chips.
Craving Something Chocolatey
When you are craving chocolate (I love chocolates!) your body really needs magnesium. Can you name 3 foods that you get magnesium from? Probably not off the top of your head, but that's because most adults consume less than is recommended!
Foods like avocados, almonds, and bananas are all healthy sources of magnesium. Now, you can still eat chocolate! Opt for dark chocolate or something about 70% cacao or higher. For a fun snack mix some of your favorite nuts and seeds together with some dark chocolate chips! The nuts and seeds will provide protein, fat and fiber and the chocolate chips won't add too many calories when used sparingly.
For more information on nutrition and how to handle cravings check out this awesome podcast I have with Monica Reinagel on How To Curb Your Cravings.
These cravings are NOT EASY to control but here are three things that have helped me.
My Top 3 Tips to Control the Cravings!
1. Eat a Healthy Breakfast
Giving your body the nutrition it needs first thing in the morning will help maintain your blood sugar levels throughout the day. After we wake up, it's time to fuel our bodies with the best in nutrition!
Eating a healthy breakfast within the first 30 minutes of being awake will help jump start your day and get your metabolism moving. Think of it this way, your car can't run on no gas. Starting your day on empty is only going to lead to poor choices for food or drive thru breakfast on the way to work. Every morning for breakfast I enjoy my shake packed full of protein, carbs and all the vitamins and minerals my body needs. Shakes are a quick, easy & nutritious option for breakfast.
2. Have one cookie, not all of them!
Life would be boring if we didn't eat the cookie, just don't eat the whole pack! Completely restricting your self from indulgences is not smart either. Everything in moderation people!!! It is OKAY to enjoy a cookie or eat a chocolate bar, however eating cookies and chocolate everyday is not the way to go.
Living a healthy lifestyle and reaching your goals does not mean you have to give up all your favorites! One trick I use is to plan out my indulgences. If I know I am going to be celebrating or somewhere where sweets are going to be provided, I make sure that I start my day with my shake and have nutritious foods beforehand.
Planning out your indulgences can help take the guilt that may come from eating a sweet treat and also make you more aware of your choices.
3. Feed your Body Healthy Options
Once you start to feel the effects of eating healthy and living a healthy lifestyle, you won't even want to eat the unhealthy, processed foods. Your energy is going to sky rocket, you will be in a better mood & once the trousers fit a little better there will be no turning back.
Pretty soon your body is going to crave the healthier options automatically. Now, this isn't going to happen overnight, for you have to give your body some time to adjust. However, YOU WILL notice its much easier to put the snacks down and naturally opt for the healthier options.
When you are at the grocery store just don't buy the foods that you know are not great for you then you will not have them at home to eat.
Abs are made in the kitchen!
Remember your body is the only place you have to live. Look after it well and give it the best! To get in your 20% fitness join us for workouts by joining our monthly challenge today!
Rebecca, Alphie and Pennie