Got to have that biscuit right now? Follow nutrition expert, Nigel Denby’s clever tips and your diet bugbears will be a thing of the past!
When you’re desperate for sugar and an energy boost, chances are your last meal was light on protein and slow-release carbs, so your body is simply asking for a quick fix.
Cravings can also be emotionally based, so when we’re under stress, our brains are telling us to comfort ourselves, and we often turn to food because it’s associated with making us feel happier and safe.
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Whether the reason is physical or emotional, there are moves you can make to combat the problem – and when you do need to snack, we’ve got that covered with savvy, healthy swaps to help you stay away from the bad guys.
Top craving-buster breakfasts:
- Muesli with berries, banana and Greek-style yoghurt
- 2 boiled eggs with 2 slices of low-GI wholewheat seed bread
- Porridge (such as oats) made with milk, topped with dried fruit and nuts
- Multigrain toast and marmite
- Smoked salmon and soft cheese on a wholewheat bagel
Be snack savvy:
If you know you’re going to be busy all morning and you need to have a late lunch, plan ahead and have one of these tasty, energising snacks instead.
They’re all blood-sugar friendly and designed to keep hunger at bay. Super snacks are around 420 kilojoules:
- A slice of fruit cake with peanut butter (keep the portion size small).
- An oatcake with peanut butter or Ghee (oats are terrific slow-burn carbs).
- Full cream, natural live yoghurt (We love the Hijke brand as it’s high in protein too. Available from selected Pick n Pay stores).
- 1 Ryevita spread with low-fat soft cheese.
- 2tsp hummus and half a wholewheat pita. Chickpeas are full of protein and the pita is a great slow-release carb.
Beat the 4pm slump:
Emotion-related eating reinforces your brain’s ability to keep making you have cravings – the food literally gets coded in your memory as a short-term solution to your stress. So rather try:
A 15-minute craving time-out. Try removing yourself from the current situation and do something to divert your brain from what’s actually stressing you. Cravings are chemical reactions in the brain, they can’t be maintained for too long, so the craving should pass soon.
Still hungry after your time-out? Then you probably do need to eat something. But instead of sugar-laden snacks, go for something healthier:
- Fresh vegetable sticks with hummus, low-fat mayonnaise or tahini.
- 4 soft dried apricots – they’re naturally sweet and full of fibre.
- 50g nuts and raisins. Stick to unsalted.
- 2 handfuls of microwave popcorn – a much healthier option than crisps.