Today on our blog we invited local Dietitian/Nutritionist Katrina Mills from Body Fusion to give us some tips on how to combat those daily sweet cravings (because you may have noticed that ITC does love attending all the local bakeries and patisseries). We were relieved to find out that it is okay to indulge our sweet tooth now and again but moderation is the key to good nutrition.
Hands up if you have a sweet tooth? If you raised your hand and shook it around then you are not alone. Many of us say that we crave sugar and living around Sydney with its cronuts, dessert bars and gourmet bakeries it’s hard not to resist those devilish delights. Before you label yourself as a chocoholic, let’s take a look at what cravings actually are because there is a big difference between just liking sweet treats and craving them. Cravings are intense desires, longing or eagerness.
How to spot cravings:
- You’ll want something in particular eg. Peanut butter flavoured tim tams;
- Only that particular food will satisfy a craving;
- Foods that are craved generally are not a necessity or needed for survival;
- Cravings change over time; and/or
- They are often triggered by emotions, memories, attachment or close proximity (hello, walking past the café’s in the afternoon).
When you satisfy your need for a sweet food you reinforce that taste preference. In turn this makes you want it even more because you associate that food with some type of reward. Now don’t get me wrong, there is absolutely nothing wrong with indulging in a sweet treat every once in a few weeks, but the issue is when we over consume these highly refined, fatty, sweet processed foods. That means more than once a week.
Some say that we are destined to seek out sweet foods and if we look back there is some truth to this statement. Sweetness is the first taste humans prefer from birth, we are primed to like it. However, infants only drink one source of natural sugar in the form of breast milk, they are not primed to want choc chip cookies.
Carbohydrates also cause the release of the feel-good brain chemical serotonin, so it isn’t surprising that we physiologically feel better when we eat enough carbohydrate. Remember carbohydrates come in many forms, not just white sugar, lollies and biscuits. Carbohydrates include wholegrain breads and cereals, fruits, vegetables, legumes and dairy. Eating enough of these more nutritious carbohydrates is what you want to aim for to achieve that feel good state.
Common, easy to fall into traps that often cause people to seek out something sweet include:
- Skipping meals and becoming too hungry.
- Not eating enough at main meals eg. Tuna can & salad for lunch.
- Choosing highly refined, non-filling carbohydrates eg. Cruskits & white wraps.
- Falling into old habits eg. Ordering a blueberry muffin with your coffee.
- Not recognising the difference between craving and hunger.
Contrary to what you may read in the media, there is no need to completely give up carbohydrates! Here is our guide to combating cravings:
Get the Balance Right
Balance out your blood sugar levels by eating regularly. Skipping meals causes your levels to drop making you more tired, flat, lack concentration and probably more likely to grab a ‘pick me up’. You don’t have to go through this, give yourself permission to eat three decent meals and snacks. For examples of the best types of snacks, click here.
Fill up on Fibre
Fibre is the non-digestible part of plants that creates bulk in your stomach & intestines making you feel full. We suggest spreading fibre throughout your day. For example, rolled oats & fruit at breakfast, multigrain sandwich/breadroll for lunch with lots of salad vegetables, nuts as an afternoon snack then long grain brown rice, wholemeal pasta, quinoa or sweet potato at dinner with half a plate of vegetables.
Meals are most satisfying when they hit all the taste buds. So think about how to incorporate a little bit of sweet, salty, sour, bitter and umami (savoury) into your lunch and dinner. Incorporate some beetroot on your sandwich, corn in your salad or use balsamic vinegar dressing to get a small sweet kick. Click here for a perfectly balanced quinoa salad.
Brush your teeth
Signal the end to your balanced meal by brushing your teeth or at least having a mint. This is part of breaking the habit and many clients have found it works a treat.
Finally, if you still find yourself craving after you have recognised you are not physically hungry distraction is key. Remove yourself from the tempting environment, clean up kids toys, walk down to your car, do anything to remove your attention from the food, because if it is a craving it will pass.
For more food & lifestyle information or to book an appointment to talk about your snacking visit www.bodyfusion.com.au or call on 0410533213.
Katrina Mills is an enthusiastic and driven dietitian/nutritionist who was inspired by food and nutrition from a young age. She believes that whole, natural foods should be one of the cornerstones of a balanced, healthy lifestyle that can be enjoyed by all – no matter what walk of life. You can find out more about Katrina here
221 Longueville Rd Lane Cove, New South Wales, Australia
0410 533 213