We all get cravings from time to time. Sometimes we crave sugar, sometimes chocolate, sometimes salt, sometimes we crave food in general because we’re bored, and on those lucky occasions, sometimes we even crave something healthy, like a big ol’ salad.
Cravings aren’t inherently a bad thing. They are just your body’s way of letting you know that it is in need of something. In fact, you aren’t always even craving exactly what it is you think you’re craving. Sugar cravings often mean that your blood sugar is dropping, so your body is looking for the quickest solution to the problem, by giving it something that will be readily absorbed into your system to balance you out. Salt cravings are usually a sign of a need for minerals. Understand your cravings, and you can understand how to get rid of them.
Do you struggle with sugar cravings? Make sure that you’re eating regularly throughout the day, and not letting your blood sugar dip too low at any point in time. Also, be sure that you’re getting plenty of healthy carbs throughout the day. Try to eat whole grains with every meal, and fill up with plenty of fruits and veggies. If you have a really bad craving for sugar, try to eat something sweet, but healthy, like a piece of fruit, a green smoothie, or something sweetened with dates, like my raw caramel bites.
Are you a chocoholic? Instead of grabbing for that disgusting candy bar from the check-out line at the grocery store, buy a high-quality, organic, dark chocolate bar. Eat just a little bit at a time to subdue your craving. Other healthy ideas are adding raw cacao powder or nibs to a smoothie or food items. I like to buy carob chips for Keenan and myself to snack on. Carob is similar to chocolate, but is actually a completely different plant. It’s naturally caffeine free, and has three times more calcium than cocoa. One cool thing about it is that, unlike chocolate, it’s okay to feed to your dog! Arlo loves it when we toss him a carob chip.
Salt cravings getting you down? Salt cravings are what I really struggle with. When you crave salt, typically it means that your body is craving minerals in general. Since regular table salt is quite processed, it doesn’t give your body what it wants, so it just craves more. I use natural sea salt, instead of table salt, because it contains a wider variety of minerals to support my body’s needs. Personally, I love potato chips. My healthy alternative to chips has become seaweed snacks. Good for you, and packed with essential nutrients, seaweed snacks (and other sea vegetables) are naturally salty because…duh…they’re from the sea. Seaweed snacks are basically small sheets of dried nori seaweed in a little pack. I usually pick them up at Trader Joe’s or the natural food section of the grocery store, and recently, I even discovered a large box of seaweed snacks at Costco.
Sometimes you aren’t craving anything in particular, you just want to eat…and eat…and eat. This happens most frequently when people are eating poor quality, processed foods. These foods may fill up the stomach, but it leaves the body as a whole wanting more. Did you know that you can actually be overweight and malnourished? It’s actually one of the biggest problems in America at this time. People eat an abundance of calories in foods with no nutritional value. Their bodies aren’t satisfied, so they keep demanding more and more. Since people are used to eating the bad stuff, it’s automatically what they turn to, and it doesn’t solve the problem. Adding high quality, whole foods to your diet is the first step to killing cravings. The more good stuff you eat, the less bad stuff you’ll have room for, or even crave.
Eating healthy, seasonal foods can also help you out. By eating whole foods that feel right for the season, like warming squash (our annual pumpkin/butternut craze) for autumn here in the northern hemisphere, and detoxifying fruits and greens for spring down south, you’ll help yourself avoid the unhealthy seasonal fare.
Sometimes we struggle with craving foods that we grew up with. It’s easy to make a healthier version of the items we used to love. For example, I love grilled cheese sandwiches. For grilled cheese, I would use some organic, whole grain bread, Daiya cheddar, and add some tomato slices. Not nearly as unhealthy as cheese on white bread, but still absolutely delicious.
I asked the Lindsay Loves Veggies Facebook peeps what helped them fight their cravings, and my friend Kimberly responded with, “Drinking a Camelbak bottle full of water!“ I couldn’t agree more. It’s easy to mistake feelings of thirst for hunger pangs. Make sure to get your eight glasses a day, and if you feel food cravings between meals, drink some water or tea before you head to the food.
My friend Jennifer, a personal trainer, who’s maintaining a great healthy weight loss, gave this sage advice, “I tell myself if I REALLY want it, I can have it tomorrow. Usually by the time tomorrow rolls around, I’ve forgotten about whatever it was I wanted.“ Great idea!
What suggestions do you have for killing cravings?
Affirmation of the Day: I am in control of my own life.