I am sure you have experienced it before: this nagging feeling which doesn’t let you go. It drives you to check the fridge, then the pantry, then the cupboard. It makes you drive for half an hour to buy junk food of which half is eaten before you reach your drive way.
I wish I could tell you that I found the perfect solution to fight those horrible cravings, but I’m part of this cruel game as much as you are. However, there are a few things which I found really helpful and which I would like to share with you.
1. Know your weakness
I don’t know about you, but for Andy and me we tend to have the same kind of cravings over and over again. I crave chocolate and crunchy foods. For Andy it’s salty snacks or baked goods.
It is much easier to fight the enemy that you know.
So here is my advice:
- find out what type of food you are most likely to crave (e. g. Chocolate)
- look for a few good, healthy recipes which would satisfy you (see chocolate recipe below)
- buy high quality ingredients to make the food which you crave from scratch and always keep them on hand
- make it a rule, that you only get to eat that food when you make it yourself
- when you do, make it a big batch which you can freeze or store for next time you want to treat yourself
2. Break old habits with new ones
Habits form quietly and secretly. Seldom anyone thinks about making snacking in front of the TV a conscious habit. Once they are formed however, it is nearly impossible to break habits!
I found that introducing a new habit is much easier than breaking an old one, so here is what works for me:
- recognise your habits, you might even want to write them down
- write down habits that you would like to replace the old ones with
- make it simple, don’t stack up too high. It is very unlikely that you go for a one hour run instead of binge watching your favorite TV series. Make it achievable. (e.g. only watching one episode of that series if you went for a ten minute walk before)
- make the new habit a priority
- change one habit at a time
3. Meet or call someone
Is it just me, or are cravings stronger when I don’t have anything to do? It’s like cravings are getting switched on as soon as I get bored! My call to action is most times to connect with someone whom I haven’t seen in a while. Or I go for a walk with Lilly (my dog) while listening to a podcast. I try (with varying success) to take the craving as a prompting to connect with other people and/or nature.
4. Treat yourself
You might need to be nice to yourself. Perhaps you had a rough week and still feel like you didn’t get anything done. Or you feel like your emotions are on a roller coaster. Believe me: you did your very best and you deserve to be rewarded! But how about you really take some time to relax and unwind instead of eating a tub of ice cream in front of the TV? You worked hard and should be treated in the right way! Take yourself out for dinner, get a massage, a hot bath or a facial. A quick fix is just that: a quick fix. You will feel a lot better when you actually take time and give yourself some more attention than just giving into a craving which doesn’t solve the feeling of being drained. Look after yourself, but in a wholesome way!
5. Find the reason for your craving
For many of us cravings are a way of our body trying to tell us that we are deficient in a vitamin, mineral or our emotions need attention. This is really important to know, because these type of cravings can be extremely strong and if a healthy alternative is not on hand, we will end up regretting the box of donuts or the family serving of deep fried chicken nuggets.
Let’s take my example from above.
When I am craving chocolate, I usually think back on my last week or so. Did I use my topical Magnesium? Am I feeling stressed? Do I get my period soon? Am I recovering from something?
Chocolate is high in Magnesium and my body knows that because I ate chocolate before and was able to absorb magnesium from this source. When I am under pressure and feel stressed, or when I recover from a workout, my magnesium demand is higher and therefor I will crave a food that I had before which is high in this particular nutrient.
Solution for the Magnesium example:
- be proactive. If you can foresee a stressful patch, up your magnesium intake through dark leafy vegetables which are high in magnesium
- apply a topical magnesium more often
- take conscious breaks and times when you can relax and unwind
- stock up on high quality chocolate which is low in sugar
- have raw cacao on hand and treat yourself with some hot chocolate
A craving for salty foods is also often linked to a mineral shortage or dehydration. Craving sweets might point you to your emotional health and so on.
The main point here is to be mindful. You have cravings for a good reason and you will only be able to beat those cravings when you listen to your body and address the underlying cause of that craving.
Yields One Chocolate bar
Make your own chocolate and don’t regret anything because this treat is packed with goodness.
- 5 minCook Time
- 15 minTotal Time
- 3 Tbsp cacao butter
- 3 Tbsp coconut oil
- 1/4 cup raw cacao
- 2 Tbsp cinnamon
- 1 Tsp vanilla extract
- 1 Tbsp rice malt syrup
1. Melt butter and oil in a sauce pan.
2. Add cacao powder, cinnamon, vanilla extract and syrup.
3. Stir until well combined
4. Pour into moulds or in dish, chill in fridge or freezer until firm
5. Enjoy cold
Keep your chocolate cold because it melts quickly. You can add any kind of spice or flavoring like dried fruit, chili powder, nuts or seeds.