If you are trying to be health conscious but get that 3pm impulse for anything sweet, sugary and calorically dense - you are not alone. For many of us our cravings can be traced back to our upbringing, prior habit, high cortisol levels, unstable blood sugar, emotional comfort, boredom or a combination. When that 3pm craving hits, it is important to not deprive yourself during this time. Listen to your body and decide whether you are actually hungry. Are you bored? Are you stressed? Are you eating to fill and emotional void? Ask yourself “Am I hungry enough to eat an apple?” If the answer is yes, then eat! If your answer is no, drink 500mls of water and then reassess the craving. The chances are you are dehydrated.
If you do give into the craving remember that the guilty thoughts surrounding food are worse for our health. Worse than the actual food! Remind yourself that you don’t need to eat all of the food now. Many of us have a deep rooted fear that food is going somewhere or that there will be none left for us. This triggers us to panic, sparking our cortisol levels causing us to overeat. Perhaps you were brought up in a household where you were made to feel that there wouldn’t be enough food. So, when you sit down to meals you have anxiety that there won’t be enough. It is ok. You can have that piece of chocolate or more of that raw treat later or tomorrow. It is not going anywhere.
Top tips to beat cravings and binge eating
Add healthy fat to your main meals - particularly at lunch. Avocado, nuts, seeds, fish and tahini are nutrient dense, good fats that will fill you up. Fats are important macronutrients that keep us fuller for longer and therefore diminish possible cravings.
Incorporate cinnamon and vanilla extract into your diet. Research has shown that 1 teaspoon of cinnamon or vanilla extract a day can help to regulate blood sugar levels. Try adding them to your morning coffee or oats for extra flavor instead of artificial sweeteners or sugar
Avoid packaged foods. Hidden sugars, artificial sweeteners, preservatives and trans fats will leave you craving more sugary foods.
When buying packaged foods use this rule; “If you don’t know the ingredient, your body wont either”.
Eat regularly- 5-6 small meals a day to keep your blood sugars stable.
Supplement with magnesium glycinate and chromium. Under the guidance of your health care practitioner both are useful with regulating blood glucose levels and increasing energy levels in the body, helping to fight cravings.
Stay hydrated- aim to drink 2-3L of water a day.
Incorporate apple cider vinegar. Add 2-3 tablespoons into a large water bottle and sip on this throughout the day. This will regulate you blood sugar levels, act as a natural detoxifying agent and promote good gut health.
Healthy sweet treat ideas
80-90% dark chocolate
Greek yoghurt with cinnamon and 1 tablespoon cacao powder. Place in the freezer for 30 minutes for healthy ‘froyo.
Herbal tea with a drop of Stevia and cinnamon.
2 dates filled with natural almond/peanut butter.
Bliss balls made with cacao, dates, coconut, cinnamon and nuts.