/> Clean Convenient Cuisine: How To Beat ANY Craving!

Clean Convenient Cuisine

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Wednesday, July 28, 2010

How To Beat ANY Craving!

I get cravings - we all do. As a matter of fact, I just wanted a piece of cake, so I ate a piece of vegan tofu chocolate chip cheesecake instead. It's not a great choice, because it's still made with sugar, but there's no cholesterol, no animal products, and the slight sweetness and creamy texture totally hit the spot for a dessert craving. Plus, at $5 per slice, it makes you think twice about indulging.

Here's a rule of thumb for cravings: if you're going to indulge, indulge in something you really want and not something that won't satisfy the craving. It's better to have 1/2 cup of real ice cream than an entire carton of fat-free, sugar-free ice cream. Why? Because you're eating more when you allow yourself the modified version, and to make anything "fat-free" or "sugar-free" there's a whole lot of chemicals and processes involved. You're better off with the real thing.

Once you get a handle on WHAT you crave, WHEN you crave it and HOW MUCH it takes to satisfy the craving, you can actually get your food desires under control. Sometimes, people think they are hungry when they are really just thirsty. So, down a full glass of water, and try and distract yourself. Craving something in the afternoon? Perhaps you did not get enough protein at lunch. Have an oral fixation? Chew a piece of gum. Bored? Go for a quick walk. Craving still there? Here are some rules:

1. Only give in to cravings once or twice per week. I find having a cheat meal on Wednesdays and Saturdays works well. If I know I get a dessert on Wednesday, it's much easier to eat "clean" Sunday-Tuesday.

2. Try and indulge during the middle of the day versus at night when you are most sedentary. If you are the type of person who feels guilty AFTER the fact, then go for a walk or engage in some sort of exercise. My friend, Jenny, and I used to be as crazy as to walk 4 miles up to The Chicago Diner to eat dinner and have a piece of cake and then walk the 4 miles back. We are also exercise fiends, but it felt good to move our bodies directly after eating and to know that while we indulged, we were still burning calories.

3. Try and satisfy your craving with the smallest amount. Craving something sweet? Try just 1 square of dark chocolate and then make yourself a cup of decaffeinated hot tea. Sipping on something warm can sometimes do the trick.

Here are some other ideas for those sweet cravings:

1. Frozen grapes
2. Greek yogurt pudding
3. Hot cocoa
4. 1 square dark chocolate
5. Vegan desserts (seriously, try them!)

Craving salty or crunchy?

1. 1 cup healthy cereal topped with unsalted almonds and berries and skim or soy milk
2. Healthy trail mix with whole wheat pretzels, nuts and chocolate
3. Stacy's pita chips (1 serving) with hummus
4. Organic popcorn

Everyone should indulge now and then, but still be smart about your choices and try and limit them to once or twice per week. And most important? Pay attention to portions and the quality of what you're eating. I simply make candy bars and things I find in gas stations off limits. Higher quality products always taste better and usually satisfy your cravings much quicker than the cheap, processed stuff. Happy snacking!

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