For me it is usually crispy French fries, rich chocolate or cheesy pizza. These are the foods that burrow into my brain and takeover– the foods I crave most often. We’ve all had an intense desire for a specific food, which can rule our every thought until we give in. The problem is that cravings often lead us to eat something far from healthy, and if they happen frequently, they can take a toll on our health. So before you give in to your overwhelming, edible desire, do what I do: walk yourself through these steps to find satisfaction more healthfully.
Step 1 –Make sure you are eating enough. Excessive skimping on calories and skipping meals can cause cravings to come on strong. Stay one step ahead and eat regular meals and snacks with plenty of protein, fiber and healthy fats.
Step 2 – Give yourself a buffer zone. Try not to give in to cravings right away. Sometimes just a 15 minute waiting period is all it takes for a craving to pass.
Step 3 – Curb emotional cravings. Many cravings stem from an emotional trigger, so find alternative, non-food coping strategies. Maybe taking a few deep breaths outside, enjoying a relaxing bath, or calling a friend will do the trick.
Step 4 – Savor smartly. Sometimes a little of what you crave is exactly what you need, so go for it, just be sure to savor each bite. And remember there are plenty of deliciously healthy ways of scratching that itch, too. Here are a few of my better-for-you common craving quenchers.
*Sweet – Go for antioxidant rich fruit or dark chocolate for a sweet treat. I like to keep these Dark Chocolate Pretzel Clusters on hand when I know I have a particularly stressful week coming up.
*Creamy – Yogurt is always a winner when you crave something cold and creamy. I also love dipping veggies in this Chipotle Black Bean Dip.
*Crunchy – While raw veggies can do the trick, I also love snacking on nuts and roasted chickpeas. “Popcorn is a great way to get a crunch more healthfully. Check out my 3-Ingredient Parmesan Popcorn for a real treat”
*Cheesey– When that pizza craving hits me I go for my French Bread Pizza, which never disappoints.