Cravings. We all have them. Food cravings are a common response to what we’re going through and can cause the desire to munch on foods we wouldn’t normally eat, such as salty potato chips or sweet chocolate brownies. Studies have shown that cravings for certain foods come from a variety of reasons, including memories, emotions, weather, and stress. Ignoring that voice inside your head calling for a sweet isn’t always easy! During this time of year when every house and office has bowls of candy and baked goods up for grabs, it can be especially hard to quiet that voice and stay in tune with your body. In the moment, getting a sugar fix might feel like it will satisfy your needs, but giving into processed sweets 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? Is it just a momentary desire? Are you lacking something in your life and filling the void with food? Instead of immediately giving in and reaching for a sweet, deconstruct what your body is truly telling you and decide what will fulfill it. Emotions can lead to crave something your body doesn’t actually want or need, especially with all the excitement around the new season and the holidays to come. Take a step back Seeing the grocery store shelves stocked with colorful bags of candy that remind you of childhood can cause your brain to think it’s something you want. But in reality, before you walked down that aisle, you had no desire for candy at all. Take a moment to be mindful about what you are yearning for and to understand your craving before you grab that big bag of sugar. 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 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 sweet snack. You can also find recipes like these pumpkin gingerbread muffins or that use real ingredients, which can often help satiate those cravings while still keeping your blood sugar under control. Enjoy it – in moderation If you have a continuous craving for something but have been resisting it, allow yourself to enjoy it in moderation. If a craving is constantly ignored, it can lead to giving in and overconsuming it eventually. Listen to your body and know that it’s okay to enjoy something you’re craving without overindulging.
(c) Institute for Integrative Nutrition