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We have all been there when it comes to cravings. Sitting at home watching TV or feeling the general wave of boredom setting in, we find ourselves trotting over to the cupboard to give our brain a boost. Unfortunately, we tend to reach for the sugary or chocolaty treat. This may offer temporary satisfaction, but to our dismay, these guilty pleasures start add up, clinging to our hips, thighs and mid section. A food craving can be referred to as ‘selective hunger’ because your intense desire to consume a specific food isn’t necessarily real hunger at all. A craving can actually be a shout out from your body to consume particular nutrients, which you may be missing.
Cut your guilt by the gram and keep the cookies and cakes for cheat day by adopting these healthier approaches.
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Crave chocolate the right way
Your body is likely craving carbon, phosphorus and sulphur
When you crave chocolate, know that there is always a healthier option. The right type of chocolate can be beneficial to your body and help cut cravings. Instead of a sugar-laden candy bar, opt for a small bar of the purest dark (70-85% cocoa), organic chocolate you can find. Treat yourself to a square each time you have a craving. Since dark chocolate is so potent, it will satisfy your cravings fast. Dark chocolate contains potassium, phosphorus, zinc and selenium along with an excellent fatty acid profile.
Substitute in a protein-rich alternative for that creamy milkshake
Your body is likely craving a pleasure fix
If you love dairy nothing quite hits the spot like a thick, sweet, super indulgent milkshake does it? The good news is that this calorie concoction can be substituted with something much healthier and lower-calorie! Instead of going for the creamy strawberry shake, make your own from home that packs a powerful health punch in the form of a strawberry protein shake. Use a strawberry plant-based protein powder and mix it with coconut or almond milk and serve up. This way you can treat your body to a healthy dose of protein and fat, while giving in to your flavor cravings.
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Say no to that sugary can of soda
Your body is likely craving glucose & hydration
When cravings have you in their tight grip, it’s hard to resist the temptation of a mouth watering soda or energy drink. Available in every flavor imaginable, sugary drinks can contain as much as 50 grams in one serving! A super healthy and tasty alternative to the typical can of soda is fruit-infused water you can make yourself at home. Virtually calorie free, select your favorite fruits and leave them in your water for a few hours to infuse. After a few hours have gone by, enjoy your tasty drink! Refreshing and delicious, this fruity favorite will also give you a vitamin boost. If you aren’t thirsty, a fresh piece of fruit will also give you the glucose fix your body craves.
Your body is really craving amino acids & glucose
Do you love binging on bread or pasta? If this sounds like you, your body is probably craving amino acids. Nix the bread, and consume amino acids by snacking on nuts and eggs. Or better yet, why not try a serving of quinoa, which contains a complete set of all of the essential amino acids, as well as a full serving of fiber, and an assortment of vitamins and minerals. You can also try snacking on low glucose index carbohydrates such as a warm bowl of oats or some basmati rice. These grains will answer your brain’s glucose demands, while proving your body and brain with a tapered release of energy throughout the day.
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Salt, salt and more salt
Your body is likely craving chloride
When craving a salty snack, we tend to turn to vices like potato chips that are not only high in salt but also contain large amounts of saturated fat. If your body is craving chloride, choose a more natural source of salt such as pink himalayan sea salt and sprinkle it over your meals. Pink himalayan salt is unrefined, meaning it contains more minerals than processed salts. Spices are also a great alternative for salt. They create additional flavor, while adding no additional calories. Plus, many spices have anti-inflammatory benefits.
Another point to consider with any sporadic hunger and regular cravings is dehydration. When we are dehydrated, we can often mistake this for hunger as our stomachs can growl in the same way. Make sure you are drinking at least 8 glasses of water a day and you will probably find that staying hydrated properly also curbs your cravings.
Ensure you eat a balanced, healthy diet and enjoy your recommended five portions of fruit and vegetables every single day. If you listen to your body more closely, you will be able to give it exactly what it needs.