I get cravings – we all do. As a matter of fact, I just
wanted a piece of cake, so I ate a piece of vegan tofu chocolate chip
cheesecake instead. It’s not a great choice, because it’s still made with
sugar, but there’s no cholesterol, no animal products, and the slight sweetness
and creamy texture totally hit the spot for a dessert craving. Plus, at $5 per
slice, it makes you think twice about indulging.
Here’s a rule of thumb for cravings: if you’re going to
indulge, indulge in something you really want and not something that won’t
satisfy the craving. It’s better to have 1/2 cup of real ice cream than an
entire carton of fat-free, sugar-free ice cream. Why? Because you’re eating
more when you allow yourself the modified version, and to make anything
“fat-free” or “sugar-free” there’s a whole lot of chemicals
and processes involved. You’re better off with the real thing.
Once you get a handle on WHAT you crave, WHEN you crave it
and HOW MUCH it takes to satisfy the craving, you can actually get your food
desires under control. Sometimes, people think they are hungry when they are
really just thirsty. So, down a full glass of water, and try and distract
yourself. Craving something in the afternoon? Perhaps you did not get enough
protein at lunch. Have an oral fixation? Chew a piece of gum. Bored? Go for a
quick walk. Craving still there? Here are some rules:
1. Only give in to cravings once or twice per week. I find
having a cheat meal on Wednesdays and Saturdays works well. If I know I get a
dessert on Wednesday, it’s much easier to eat “clean” Sunday-Tuesday.
2. Try and indulge during the middle of the day versus at
night when you are most sedentary. If you are the type of person who feels
guilty AFTER the fact, then go for a walk or engage in some sort of exercise.
My friend, Jenny, and I used to be as crazy as to walk 4 miles up to The
Chicago Diner to eat dinner and have a piece of cake and then walk the 4 miles
back. We are also exercise fiends, but it felt good to move our bodies directly
after eating and to know that while we indulged, we were still burning
3. Try and satisfy your craving with the smallest amount.
Craving something sweet? Try just 1 square of dark chocolate and then make
yourself a cup of decaffeinated hot tea. Sipping on something warm can
sometimes do the trick.
Here are some other ideas for those sweet cravings:
1. Frozen grapes
2. Greek yogurt pudding
3. Hot cocoa
4. 1 square dark chocolate
5. Vegan desserts (seriously, try them!)
Craving salty or crunchy?
1. 1 cup healthy cereal topped with unsalted almonds and
berries and skim or soy milk
2. Healthy trail mix with whole wheat pretzels, nuts and
3. Stacy’s pita chips (1 serving) with hummus
4. Organic popcorn
Everyone should indulge now and then, but still be smart
about your choices and try and limit them to once or twice per week. And most
important? Pay attention to portions and the quality of what you’re eating. I
simply make candy bars and things I find in gas stations off limits. Higher
quality products always taste better and usually satisfy your cravings much
quicker than the cheap, processed stuff. Happy snacking!