It’s mid-afternoon. You walk past the office vending machine and a packet of chips (or chocolate) beckons. Or you find yourself standing at the cupboard at home, staring at its contents.
We’ve all been there. Everyone has food cravings at some point. Here are some of the more common causes of food cravings – and how to combat them in a healthy way.
When you’re not drinking enough water, this tends to thicken the blood in your system, which in turn slows down the transport of nutrients throughout your body. Often, when you’re craving something sweet, it’s your body telling you that it is dehydrated.
There’s a simple solution to this. Drink more water! It will rehydrate you, fill you up and is certainly much healthier than that bar of chocolate.
Stress or anxiety
Feeling stressed, anxious or frustrated? These types of emotions often go hand-in-hand with comfort foods – particularly if those foods have made us feel better in the past.
If you can, try and restore your calm with some breathing exercises, a walk around the block or ten minutes of meditation. Or grab a healthy snack like unsalted popcorn or some fresh fruit.
Low blood sugar
Around 3 o’clock in the afternoon, your blood sugar may dip – which makes you feel sluggish. You reach for the nearest sugary snack, which causes a quick spike in your blood sugar. What goes up must come down! After sugary snacks, you generally come crashing down and feel just as tired, if not more so.
Instead, strike for a low-sugar snack. If you’re finding it hard to avoid the chocolate mid-afternoon, then at least choose a variety high in cocoa, which is a good source of magnesium and has less sugar.
Trying a new diet? Diets typically reduce your caloric intake, which is naturally going to lead to hunger pangs and serious cravings – and could have you staring at the lolly jar all afternoon.
Why not try a low-fat smoothie? Not only will it satisfy your sugar cravings, but it will fill you up with nutrient-dense foods.
Let’s face it. Sometimes, we eat because we’re bored. Devouring a packet of biscuits or a bag of chips passes the time … but were you really hungry? If you’re bored, try something else before you reach for a snack. Listen to a podcast. Talk to a friend. Get some fresh air. Then, if you’re still hungry, then grab a piece of fruit. You can do it!