Just can’t stop at two squares of chocolate or devouring the entire packet of salt and vinegar chips? Crush cravings with these fast food fixes.
The sweet craving
If visions of ice cream, chocolates or banana bread dance in your head, what you may be craving more than the sugar in these foods is the fat that provides their texture, taste and aroma. Several studies have shown that fat and sugar may release endorphins into the brain (neurotransmitters that can produce a feeling of pleasure or euphoria).
Beat it by
Guess what? Good old-fashioned exercise also boosts levels of endorphins. So next time you feel like biting into a chocolate brownie, lace up those walking shoes. You’ll get the same pleasing feeling and the benefits of doing something good for your body. If youre on the job or unable to get immediate fitness gratification, you can still get the creamy taste and texture you yearn for from yoghurt or nut butters with fruit.
The salty craving
Unfortunately, cravings for salt often result in the consumption of foods that are also heavy in fat (think chips, French fries, pizza), and sometimes the desire for salty foods, such as chips or pretzels, may have more to do with the wish to crunch than the actual salt.
Beat it by
Get Spicy. Experiment with spices other than salt for flavouring meals and dishes. Pepper, curry, paprika, oregano, parsley, thyme, rosemary all give dishes not wonderful flavour, but has nutritional benefits, too. Need to crunch? Reach for crisp, fresh, munch-able foods, like baby carrots with hummus or low-fat dip – they make great stand-ins for chicken flavoured chip or pretzels.
Cravings for refined carbohydrates are most frequently associated with times of stress. The explanation behind this relationship? Heavily refined carbohydrates found in such foods as rice crackers, baked goods, biscuits, cakes, and white bread have been shown to help boost levels of the serotonin (a mood-enhancing brain chemical), shown to produce a feeling of calm and well-being.
Beat it by
Anything that relieves stress can help to inhibit these cravings. Try deep breathing techniques, yoga or simple exercise instead of resorting to the refrigerator. When you feel the need to feed, go for snacks that have a combo of low GI carbohydrates and protein. Think yoghurt, wholegrain crackers or veg with and hummus, smoothies, trail mix, or nut butters with fruit.