by Lisa Golebieski, M.S.
Do you crave sugar, salt, caffeine, fried food etc….? Often wonder why we have cravings for certain foods?
For starters, there can be many addictions and triggers. Sugar can become an addiction. For example, always having a sweet dessert after dinner every night will make you look for it right after your meal. In essence it’s a habit but also an addiction because our brain craves it each and every day.
Caffeine works in the brain the same way. We may look for that first cup of joe when we get up in the morning or we crave it at certain times of the day when we normally drink it. It also gives us energy, alertness and increases our endorphins. Relying on caffeine to make us feel energized becomes addictive.
Salt also makes food tastier and we may prefer saltier versions of food rather than bland salt-free options. When you combine salt and sugar….such as a chocolate covered pretzel, it gives our taste buds a double dose of what we crave.
Many of us may have cravings based on foods we ate as a child that comforted us, emotional eating causes us to find a food that makes us feel better. I wrote a blog entitled “What did your Parents Feed You” which talks about foods we grew up eating which plays a huge part in what we choose an adult to eat. https://drferraioli.wordpress.com/2011/05/09/what-did-your-parents-feed-you/
Let’s try healthier alternatives to our cravings. If it’s sugar we are after, choose fresh ripe fruits with whipped cream, pure dark chocolate (70% or higher), grilled pineapple/pears.….as some examples.
Salt alternatives include all seasonings, spices, garlic, sautéed onions that provide intense flavor without the salt.
Caffeine alternatives include trying tea which has less caffeine, herbal teas, lattes (more milk than coffee), and grain coffees which do not naturally contain caffeine.
Alternatives to fried foods include baking, pan searing, broiling, etc. Breading chicken in panko bread crumbs and baking with extra virgin olive oil is a healthy tasty substitute.
We can all enjoy what we crave in moderation but knowing when to say STOP and not allow it to become a habit is the goal to a healthier lifestyle.
If we all make slight changes to just one craving, we can reduce calories, intake less fat and help our bodies run optimally.
Eat Healthy…..For Life!
Lisa Golebieski, MS, Holistic Nutrition Consultant
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