A friend recently mentioned to me that he has transitioned to a whole-foods, plant-based diet over the last year. He is very happy with the change but finds himself reaching for snacks in the evening that he would rather not eat. It seems that he is craving bread, chips, etc. and knows that these are not the best choices for his body.
I wrote a post in October with suggestions to ‘Outsmart Your Food Cravings’.
I would like to add a couple of things regarding carbs.
There are different kinds of carbs.
There are carbs that have little to no nutritional value, such as
- potato chips
- corner-store chocolate
These foods all equal sugar and when we eat them, our insulin levels increase. As a result, our appetites increase. We then tend to over-fuel our body and yet our cells want more. Our body will crave more carbs and so the cycle continues, ultimately leaving us feeling unsatisfied.
Then there are carbs that are called complex carbohydrates, such as
- whole grains (millet, rice, barley, buckwheat)
- legumes (lentils, beans, peas)
When eaten in their whole state, these foods will fuel our body and our brain. They are broken down gradually in our body which allows for better blood sugar control. Our body is left satisfied and full of energy.
With that said, you can understand that you must resist the urge to reach for the ‘bad’ carbs and focus on going for the ‘good’ carbs. In my article I gave several suggestions on how to do this. Ensure that your main meals contain lots of complex carbs and reduce the simple carbs. I believe that the most effective solution is to get the unhealthy snacks out of your house and get the healthy snacks in to your house.
Sometimes, you may need get out of the house, go for a walk around the block and clear your mind. Think about something productive that you can do that does not involve food.
My friend asked for some suggestions for snacks for the moments when you still want something to snack on. 🙂
- Always have a container in the fridge with fresh vegetables cut up in bite-size pieces. Include washed greens.
- Make a green juice. Sip it slowly, while breathing deeply.
- Have ripe avocado (once ripe put it in the fridge-it will keep for a week) on hand to make guacamole (omit the asparagus in this recipe) to have with those veggies.
- Make a jug of lemon or lime water every day. When you have that craving, drink a glass and distract yourself with an activity other than TV or screens, for 20 minutes (maybe meditation? or a brisk walk?). The craving may go away.
- Make a batch of Carob Flax Treats or Energy Balls Keep them in a container in the fridge and treat yourself to ONE. Eat it slowly, savouring every morsel.
- Keep a stash of chamomile tea in your cupboard. Make a cup, in a beautiful mug, to have with your treat. It will relax you and allow you to move on to something other than eating.
- Have a small jar of soaked almonds in the fridge. Take a small handful when you need a little extra energy.
- Cut up a sheet or two of nori seaweed and munch on that.
- Make fresh sprouts regularly. These make a tasty, crunchy snack.
- Drink a tall glass of water. Sometimes we think we are hungry when really our body is dehydrated.