Susie Burrell's blog has moved to Head there now for all the latest updates, mobile friendly templates, search tools and more.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Stop the cravings

It is all well and good to commit to eating well and avoiding sugary, processed foods but what about the cravings? The somewhat unrelenting drive to seek out sweet food frequently experienced at the end of a meal and described by many, most commonly at 3 or 4pm each afternoon.

Sugar cravings, as they are commonly referred to can be defined as the physiological drive to eat sweet, carbohydrate containing foods, as well as the psychological programming to seek out sweet foods when feeling tired, bored or unhappy.

Whatever the underlying cause of your craving, on a daily basis the most powerful tool we can have is to learn to manage, and ideally prevent the cravings. Ideally this management plan can then be implemented before we see ourselves downing an entire packet of biscuits or lollies come 3pm on a quiet working day.

1) Officially end your meal
Whether it is with herbal tea, a piece of cheese, chewing gum or brushing your teeth, having a cue that tells your brain that the meal time is over, whilst shifting your palate to a neutral flavour will help to shift your focus away from eating.

2) Bulk up the salad and vegetables.
One of the biggest issues with our meals, lunch in particular, is that we do not eat enough leafy salad vegetables. Get into the habit of finishing your midday meal with some salad greens dressed with some olive oil to help cleanse the palate and provide the bulk in your belly that will help to tell your brain you are full.

3) Focus on timings.
Eating a late lunch can be a recipe for disaster when it comes to cravings as it is likely that your blood glucose levels have gone low late morning which can trigger hunger throughout the afternoon. Schedule a lunch break by 1pm and an afternoon tea break between 3-4pm so you are not tempted by sweet treats in between.

4) Opt for herbal or black tea in between.
Forget the milk coffee and tea in between your meals and snacks and replace with clear herbal or black tea. Not only do plain teas contain negligible kJ but they also help to keep your palate fresh and your body rehydrated.

5) Step away from the sugar
For the times when the cravings seem too much to bear, keep in mind that the worst thing you can do is eat sweet food when you are craving sugar, as the more you eat, the more you will want. Instead feed your cravings with more satisfying, protein based snack such as cheese and crackers or a nut or protein bar. Worst case scenario, opting for a few squares of dark chocolate which is not as sweet as milk chocolate, along with a protein rich snack such as a handful of nuts will help to get you through to your next meal or snack without a complete sugar binge.