Cravings are something we all know too well, there is no one who has never suffered from a craving. Sometimes they feel like they will just never go away, especially if you’re on a food restricting diet.
One of the most common cravings is refined sugar, thanks to it’s addictive qualities and popularity in most processed foods our bodies will always crave it.
So how do you beat a sugar craving?
First of all you need to understand what a craving is.
A Craving is “an overwhelming emotional experience that takes over your body and produces a unique motivator of behaviour”. Often triggered by the memory of a rewarding feeling your brain learns to love the effects certain foods have on your body and tries to convince you recreate that feeling.
Cravings can have emotional triggers including stress, anger, sadness, loneliness and boredom but they can also be brought on by sights and smells (which is why food advertising works so well).
Most of the time your cravings are not a sign that you are hungry but recurring cravings can be a sign that your body is lacking a specific nutrient.
Before you give into a craving you should always stop for a minute and consider what it is you really want, ask yourself questions. Why are you craving a piece of cake? Is it because you’re hungry or is it because you’re bored? Is it because you saw the cake in the coffee shop downstairs on your way into the office or could it be because you need to increase your magnesium intake?
When a sugar craving hits you can often wait it out, distract yourself for 20 minutes doing something else, colouring, writing, go for a walk (not to the shop to buy that chocolate bar, that doesn’t count!) or have a glass of water – a lot of the time the reason you’re cravings are kicking in is because you’re dehydrated – once the 20 minutes are up you won’t be quite so overwhelmed. But if it’s still hanging around try eating some of these:
Naturally high in sugar a piece of fruit will satisfy a sweet tooth while also providing your body with a number of other nutrients. Have an apple, banana, some berries or an orange and get your sugar fix naturally.
One of the most common things people crave is chocolate, so why not switch out your processed chocolate bar with something that is better for you. Raw chocolate is packed with magnesium, vitamins: B1, B2, B3, B5, B9, oleic acid (a healthy fat also found in almonds), protein and of course, fibre.
But why raw over dark? Mostly because of the enzymes which aid digestion and maintain digestive health. When chocolate is “cooked” as it is in the process of making dark chocolate many of the friendly enzymes our bodies likes are killed off by the heat. Raw chocolate is cold or stone pressed allowing the enzymes to make it into our bodies. Plus most dark chocolate bars will have sugar added to them, which defeats the purpose.
Chia seeds are a good source of omega-3 fatty acids and soluble dietary fibre, which absorbs water and swells up to form a jelly-like substance in your gut, which may help keep you feeling fuller for longer.
They make great desserts or breakfasts, can be put into smoothies or added to your water bottle.
Soda Water / Sparkling Water
Kicking your coke habit (and I don’t mean the powdery kind) is easier said than done and most people I know have the hardest time letting go of their beloved sodas, so a great way to beat your brain when it is trying to tempt your hand to reach for a can is to have a glass of soda or sparkling water. You will still get the bubbles and if you add some cut up limes, lemons of berries you can give it a little flavour kick.
So the next time you’re feeling a craving coming on, don’t give in to it, remember these tips. Give the craving time to pass and if it doesn’t, make a healthier choice for your body and mind, with time your brain will learn that it can get it’s kicks from things that are good for you.