Craving something? I’ve been craving mint chocolate chip ice cream. I will end up at an ice cream shop very soon. And, I want it from a specific ice cream place. I have noticed that my cravings generally are for junk food. How about your cravings?
I think it is safe to say that most cravings are rarely about eating fresh vegetables, fresh fruits or drinking plain old water? Unless, you are super hungry or super thirsty, then you want any food. Do you ever crave to eat green spinach or orange carrots? I never do. Craving is all about fried foods, sweet gooey desserts, salty savory foods, and cool fizzy sodas. Cravings can create hurdles when you are trying to lose weight or maintain a good weight.
A food craving is an intense desire for a specific food. This desire can seem uncontrollable, and the person’s hunger may not be satisfied until they get that particular food, according to an article, “What Causes Food Cravings?” by Jon Johnson and reviewed by Natalie Butler, RD, LD, in the Medical News Today. Some experts believe food cravings last only about 3-5 minutes.
So, what causes food cravings? It is all in our heads. Yes, it’s true. It comes from the regions of the brain that are responsible for memory, pleasure, and reward.
An imbalance of hormones, such as leptin and serotonin, can cause food cravings. Cravings can come your way due to endorphins that are released after a meal has been eaten. Emotions play a part in causing someone to crave for certain foods – foods that bring comfort to the body. One more reason could be the connection between the cravings and nutrients – the body craves certain foods because it lacks certain nutrients, per Johnson.
Here’s some ways to reduce food cravings?
- Reducing stress levels: stress or unhappiness brings on food cravings. So take some time to taking care of yourself. Spend some time on something you enjoy doing, like a hobby, going for a walk, exercising, meeting a friend for coffee.
- Drinking plenty of water: helps to feel full and hydrates your body at the same time.
- Getting enough sleep: we should know this…sleep regenerates our body and gets us ready for next day.
- Eating enough protein: lean protein in your diet will keep you from cravings.
- Chewing gum: Chewing gum keeps the mouth busy and may help reduce both sweet and salty cravings, according to Johnson. A study showed that those who chewed gum rated themselves less hungry, had fewer cravings for snacks, and felt fuller than those who did not chew gum.
- Planning meal times with healthy meals and snacks: don’t wait until you are having hunger pangs. You’ll end up eating whatever and that may end up being unhealthy choices.
- Portion control: this should not mean less food on your plate. Just cut carb in half, add more greens and more beans or lean proteins. If you cut fat, add more sautéed veggies to your plate. Make your plate healthier than it is right now! Portion control is good!
- Replacing cravings with more nutritious option, e.g.: potato chips with popcorn; or regular milk-chocolate with dark chocolate; regular cheese with low-fat ones; cookies and cakes with dried fruits. You get the idea…
Craving a Snicker’s chocolate bar or a grilled cheese sandwich? This can completely satisfy ones cravings but at the same time add several extra calories to the daily caloric intake. And, fat percentage amount – forget about that…it’s a lot in these types of foods. One way to handle the carb and fat content in these foods will be to replace with healthier options, according to Elaine Magee, MPH, RD, in an article, “The Facts about Food Cravings,” in WebMD.
I love my Snicker’s bar and my grilled cheese sandwich. So how can I make them healthier for me? I don’t eat a full size Snicker’s bar! (Please see caption on above photo). My grilled cheese sandwich – I use whole wheat bread with reduced fat cheese slice, and tiny amount of butter on one side and tiny amount of olive oil on the other. This works! It’s delicious! I love eating all different kinds of foods, and I am constantly making similar adjustments.
Now for my mint chocolate chip ice cream – I seem to have lost that craving. That 3-5 minute is on my side right now. Well, or it could be that now I’m craving grilled cheese sandwich J Well, take healthy care of your cravings my friends.
…thank you for visiting Coaching My Life to Healthy…until next time 🙂