Food cravings are a common response to the experiences we are going through and can cause the desire to munch on foods we wouldn’t normally eat, such as salty potato chips or candy bars. Studies have shown that cravings for certain foods can be a result of various things, including memories, emotions, weather, and stress. Cravings can also become habits. For instance, you may automatically reach for a candy bar out of habit after you eat lunch every day, whether you actually crave it or not.
Ignoring the craving or “white-knuckling” your way through resisting salty or sweet snacks is challenging and not very effective as a long-term strategy. A quick sugar or salty fix might feel like it will satisfy your needs but giving in to processed sweets and sodium often leads to further cravings and overindulging.
Before diving head first into the pool of cravings, try these suggestions to help you navigate them mindfully:
Deconstruct your craving
Are you craving candy or are you actually hungry or thirsty? Thirst or hunger often masquerades as a craving. Is this a momentary desire? Or are you lacking something in your life and filling the void with food? Instead of immediately giving in and reaching for a sweet or salty snack, try to understand what your body is truly telling you and decide what will fulfill it. Emotions can lead you to crave something your body doesn’t actually want or need, especially if you are undergoing a particularly stressful time.
Take a step back
Seeing the grocery store shelves stocked with colorful bags of candy or chips that remind you of your childhood can cause your brain to think it’s something you want. In reality, before you walked down that aisle, you may have had no desire for it at all. Take a moment to be mindful about what you are yearning for and to understand your craving before you grab that bag. Typically, when you take the time to reassess what your mind and body are telling you, you’ll have a better understanding of what you really want.
Opt for naturally sweet foods
Instead of tearing open a bag of chips, candy bar or taking a cookie (or two) that your coworker shared, soothe your cravings with more wholesome options. If you know you have a sweet tooth and a hard time resisting a craving, keep fruit or dark chocolate made with 80% cacao or more on hand. This way, it’ll be easier to make the better choice towards a healthy snack. Or if salt is your preference, keep unsalted nuts or seeds on hand for your healthiest snacking option. You can find some healthy recipes for sweet snacks at this site. https://thebigmansworld.com/10-clean-eating-healthy-sweet-snacks-under-100-calories/ These snacks can help satiate those cravings while still keeping your blood sugar under control.
Enjoy it – in moderation
I often suggest NOT denying yourself that thing you crave until you drink a glass of water. Then go ahead and have a bit of what you are craving. I believe after drinking a full glass of water, you may not even want that cookie or those chips after all. But if you do, go ahead and have a bit. Perhaps you will be satisfied with that. If a craving is constantly ignored, it can lead to giving in and over-consuming it eventually. Listen to your body and know that it’s okay to enjoy something you’re craving without overindulging.
For additional help with managing your weight, here are some tips to consider. https://bewellwithjanel.com/healthy-eating/managing-your-weight-during-the-busy-holidays/
Wishing you much luck in your healthy snacking!