HOW TO CRUSH CRAVINGS & AVOID OVEREATING
It can be all too easy to cave in to cravings and the convenience of processed food, so to get some help we turned to Plenish nutrition expert Michelle Braud to find out her insider tips.
This is a question I get asked a lot so here are a few simple strategies I often share with my clients to help banish common cravings and avoid unnecessary overeating or snacking:
AVOID YOUR TRIGGER
You crave what you eat – so change what you’re eating (to the right foods) to weaken your cravings for the bad stuff. Highly processed junk foods, such as milk chocolate, packaged processed biscuits, cakes and crisps do nothing to benefit your health, weight or to help banish cravings. They might taste good and satisfy you for one minute, but all they do is leave you hungrier and craving even sweeter, sugary, processed junk food shortly after.
IF YOU DON’T WANT TO EAT IT, DON’T KEEP IT IN THE HOUSE
Yes, it really is that simple! If you keep good food in your fridge, you will eat good food. If you have junk food lying around, it’s just going to tempt you and make fighting cravings even harder.
ALLOW YOURSELF TO INDULGE – Within Limits
Treat yourself to a healthier indulgence in moderation, such as a few squares of good-quality organic dark chocolate or a dessert made with healthier and unprocessed ingredients Have a look at the recipes on the nutrition section of the Plenish website for plenty of delicious healthy ideas.
If you know there’s an upcoming situation where you are going to indulge factor that into your eating plan that day (but don’t go starving yourself, this will just set yourself up for disaster). Try a vegetable based juice or smoothie in the afternoon, rather than a heavy lunch if you know you’re going out for a big meal in the evening.
If you find yourself constantly tempted to have that chocolate bar, make sure you never skip lunch or your mid-afternoon snack and try schedule it before the time you get ravenous. So if, say, by 4:30pm every day you feel especially hungry, tell yourself that 3:30pm is your snack time. Buy a healthy snack ahead of time or have something with you (at work or in your bag), so you don’t get the urge to go out and buy that giant chocolate bar!
GO NUTS (in moderation!)
If despite having eaten enough, you still have a strong urge to snack, drink two glasses of water and eat a 30g serving of nuts (around 12 walnuts; 16 cashew nuts; 20 almonds; 28 peanuts; 49 pistachios) and then reassess how you feel. Nuts are my all-time favourite snack that I recommend to clients, as they’re packed with an amazing profile of healthy fats, fibre, protein and micronutrients (vitamins and minerals), while satisfying hunger cravings. If you’re out and about and suddenly feel starving between meals, bags of nuts are a staple at almost every store and make a much better choice compared to crisps or chocolate! Best of all, a single serving only has about 130 calories! But beware of those jumbo-size bags that can contain a whopping 10 servings! One solution is to pack your own nuts as single servings into a small snack bag or Tupperware. One serving of nuts is about 30g, but remember that the number of pieces varies by nut, as specified above. Alternatively, try the Plenish Savour drink – a chocolatey cashew milk that satisfies your sweet tooth while helping your cells function healthily with elements like iron, zinc and magnesium.
SIP SOMETHING STEAMY
If your cravings a kick in or your stomach is rumbling and there’s no healthy food in sight, try a hot drink made with nut milk (try Plenish almond, cashew or hazelnut milk). Caffeinated drinks like coffee or matcha within moderation have health benefits of their own, find out more here. My favourite hot drink to curb cravings is a healthy hot chocolate, try my recipe below;
1 cup Plenish hazelnut milk
2 tsp cacao powder
Optional, sweetener of choice, I like maple syrup
STAY WELL HYDRATED
You’ve heard this one before but it deserves reiteration – water, water and more water. Often when we think we’re hungry, we’re actually just thirsty, so make sure to drink plenty of water throughout the day, as well as 1-2 glasses 30 minutes before every meal or snack you have. Symptoms of dehydration can mimic the feelings of hunger, so before you reach for a snack, drink a bottle of water. Water also aids weight loss by helping your kidneys flush out excess toxins and chemicals, which may be slowing down your metabolism. If you have difficulty drinking enough plain water – which should be around two litres a day, try herbal tea, lemon in hot water, and Plenish water+ with the added benefit of probiotics.
We all tend to snack when we’re bored, so find other ways to stay busy. Keep occupied around the house, or even take up a new hobby. Taking your mind off food will help to reduce unnecessary mindless snacking. Read a book or file some papers to keep your hands and mind busy, or take a walk after dinner. Cravings usually last around 10 minutes, so find a non-food related activity to pass the time and take your mind off food. Bored? Call a friend, read a magazine or do some tidying. Angry? Try and do some exercise to get rid of the anger in a way that empowers rather than disempowers you. This burst of activity will also release endorphins (feel-good hormones) that make you feel happy and less stressed. If you can hold off from your craving induced eating for 10 minutes, you may well overcome the urge altogether.
DODGE THE COMFORT FOOD TRAP
This is especially pertinent when winter comes around and it’s tempting to curl up on the couch and binge on processed foods associated with “comfort food”. This is where the healthy hot chocolate comes in handy, or try my personal favourite Plenish Build, absolutely delicious and made with organic cashews and sweetened with all natural ingredients like dates – packing in a wealth of nutritional goodness and helping to curb cravings.
By: Dr. Michelle Braude, founder of The Food Effect, www.thefoodeffect.co.uk
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