Posts Tagged ‘cravings’

Unhealthy ChoicesDo you think that your current sugary snacks may be making you crave more sugary snacks? This may be the truth for many people. When you eat simple carbohydrates, without protein or fat, hunger may be satisfied but it is usually short term. The energy boost usually wears off quickly leaving you hungry and soon craving more food.

According to Dr. Christine Gerbstadt, “our appetite may be hardwired and sweet is the first taste humans prefer from birth.” The feel-good brain chemical, serotonin, is released when carbohydrates are eaten. Sugar is carbohydrate, but so are other foods like whole grains, fruits and vegetables. Sugar also releases endorphins that calm and relax us. This is like a natural high.

Americans average about 22 teaspoons of added sugar per day, according to the American Heart Association. The AHA recommends 6 teaspoons for women and 9 for men. So what can we do to tame those cravings and meet these recommendations? Try these tips to get started in the right direction.

Eat just a small amount. If you are really craving something have a small amount. Try the fun-size candy bar or the small cookie. Try to stick to 150 calories or less.
Combine foods. Try combining the food you are craving with some healthier options. For example, dip a banana in chocolate sauce or add mini chocolate chips to almonds. This way you are still getting some healthy nutrients from the healthy foods.
Grab chewing gum. According to nutrition advisor, Dave Grotto, chewing gum has been shown to reduce food cravings. So grab a stick of gum when that feeling for something sweet arises.
Reach for some fruit. You get fiber and nutrients along with sweetness when eating fruit. According to addiction specialist Judy Chambers, LCSW, CAS, having foods like nuts, seeds and dried fruits on hand can often help you steer clear of sugary treats.
Get moving. When the cravings for sugary foods hit, get up and walk. Taking your mind off the craving can help.
Choose quality over quantity. Savor the food you are craving but keep the portion size small. Concentrate on the taste and enjoy it. Incorporating small amounts of those foods we love is not harmful, overindulging can be.
Eat regularly. When you wait too long between meals the cravings for high sugar, high fat foods may increase. Eating every three to five hours can help keep blood sugar more stable. By choosing protein, fiber-rich foods like whole grains, vegetables, and fruits, hunger may not be as severe.
Reward yourself. When you have successfully managed your cravings, do something for yourself. Soak in the tub, or purchase a new clothing item or decorative item.
Slow down. Diet mayhem often results from lack of planning. Dr. Chambers states “eat what you intend to eat instead of eating when desperate.”
Support helps. Frequently people turn to sugary foods when stressed, depressed or angry. Sugar will not help emotional situations or issues. Try to figure out the underlying issue and address that without the sugar.
Mix it up. It may take more than one strategy to stop sugar cravings. By having a variety of tricks and figuring out what works for you, the chance of success increases.
Go easy on yourself! Changing any habit is difficult. Every victory is one step towards a healthier you!
Source: http://www.webmd.com/diet/features
Writer: Liz Smith, M.S., R.D., L.D., Program Specialist, SNAP-Ed, Northeast Region, Ohio State University Extension.
Reviewer: Cheryl Barber Spires, M.S., R.D., L.D., Program Specialist, SNAP-Ed, West Region, Ohio State University Extension.

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We come home from work and we are hungry and are looking for something to eat right away. Are we really hungry or is it a habit? It is easy to walk in the door and be triggered to eat.
So, the next time you get a craving for foods ask yourself, how you are really feeling. Am I stressed out? Am I sad or bored? Maybe you are eating to fill a void that is an emotional void.
Many things center on food. Socializing with friends often involves food, but many other activities can be done without food. Consider taking a walk, swimming, riding bikes or playing video games that are active. Exercise helps suppress appetite.
Another important topic when discussing craving is hydration. Many times you think you are hungry when instead you are thirsty. Between meals try to drink water and wait before eating to see if the hunger still exists. Try added lemon, lime or even a cucumber slice to your water.
Enough sleep is also important in the craving area. When you are sleepy you tend to think you are hungry when you may just be trying to pry your eyes open.
The size of the container or plate may be throwing the hunger meter off too. The container or bowl holding your food can determine the amount of food you eat. A study in the American Psychological Association found that when folks went to the movie they ate 45%more popcorn from an extra –large bucket than from a large bucket. Likewise, when given a 16 ounce bowl kids ate more cereal than those given a 8 ounce bowl.
Try to ask yourself if you are really hungry or whether you are having a craving. A craving is associated more with taste then hunger. When truly hungry your stomach makes growling noises and feels empty. During this feeling you tend to eat almost anything, not just a specific food.
Being aware of this and paying attention to the cues is really important. Charting and recording your level of hunger and mood sometimes will create the awareness to make those changes that will improve your eating habits for good.

Source: http://www.extension.org/families.food fitness
Author: Liz Smith, FCS Extension Educator, OSU Extension

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