Friday, 1 June 2018
Written by Karissa Woolfe, Accredited Practising Dietitian and Health Journalist
Cravings can strike at any time, and when they do, it can feel like a battle of willpower.
While scientists continue to nut out why cravings appear and what triggers them, here’s five ways to deal with sweet food cravings.
1. Put the kettle on
This smart move buys you a couple of minutes to delay your craving, and decide if it surfaced because you’re thirsty.
Mindfully sipping a mug of herbal tea is a relaxing way to tame your sweet tooth, without causing a spike in blood glucose levels. Try liquorice, fennel, spearmint or chamomile tea.
2. Take three deep breaths
Stress can lead you to seek sweet foods and drinks for comfort. This combination of raised cortisol (the stress hormone) plus a sugar hit, can lead to high blood glucose levels.
Take in three long, deep breaths, and you will immediately feel a sense of calm. This pause can help you choose a healthier way to respond to stress, such as going for a short stroll, or a quick burst of stair climbing.
3. Surf the urge
Boredom triggers cravings, which is why distraction is a great strategy to shift your focus. The longer you delay giving in, the more confident and stronger you’ll feel.
Do something with your hands, like knitting, the dishes, or put on a load of washing. Now is also a good time to read, phone a friend, check you email or scroll through your photo library and find an image that brings you joy.
4. Honour the craving
Radical as it sounds, the thought of not being able to eat what you want can heighten your desire for those foods, according to research.
This doesn’t mean you have to raid the cupboard every time a craving strikes, but choosing a small portion and savouring that treat mindfully, can help you enjoy it without guilt, and stop you foraging for more.
5. Hit the pillow
Good quality sleep can reduce cravings and your waistline. How? Researchers have found skimping on sleep activates the appetite centre of your brain, making you feel hungrier and eat more as a result.
A recent UK study that reviewed the sleep logs of more than 30,000 adults found the benefits and results of getting restful nights of sleep induced the same feelings as winning a quarter million dollar lottery jackpot. Sleep really is golden.