Kick food cravings to the curb

Kick food cravings to the curb

Posted 2014-03-14 by Jessica Dfollow
Food cravings can be a major challenge for anyone attempting a diet overhaul, with chips, coffee and chocolate being the usual suspects.

Fortunately, there are more nutritious and wholesome alternatives to common food cravings.

“Food cravings can occur when certain chemicals within the body are low,” says Julie Masci, Dietitian and Director at New Life Nutrition.

“Cravings can be managed by knowing which foods will provide the chemicals your body needs.”

What foods do you crave


Potato chips are a classic craving, especially for Australians that prefer savoury foods to sweet treats.

“If you’re craving potato chips, you may actually be dehydrated and need salt,” says Masci.

This is because sodium, the primary substance in salt, helps to retain moisture in tissues and organs.

Drinking coconut water is a great way to replenish sodium and other electrolytes within the body, whilst managing a chip craving.

There are some surprising alternatives to potato chips


Dubbed ‘nature’s Powerade,’ coconut water is a natural isotonic that includes magnesium, phosphorus and sodium included in sports drinks without the extra sugar.

Just be sure not to confuse coconut water, which occurs as a clear liquid inside young coconuts, for coconut milk or cream which are both high in saturated fat.

“If it’s the carbohydrates in potato chips that you crave, try oven baking some thinly cut pumpkin,” says Masci.

Pumpkin is packed with potassium and fiber too, making it a great alternative to traditional chips.

Coffee is another typical craving, with most Australians using coffee to begin their day or cope with afternoon lethargy.

“Drinking coffee without refined sugars is not necessarily a bad habit, but if you are frequently craving coffee then your body may lack iron,” says Masci.

Coffee helps most Australians cope throughout the day


Iron deficiencies can cause people to feel tired or sluggish, as there are fewer red blood cells to carry oxygen throughout the body.

For an alternative beverage that still packs an iron punch, try blending kale and spinach with some added pineapple for flavour.

Another surprisingly delicious alternative to coffee is prune juice, which is loaded with iron.

“Beware that craving coffee could be a sign that you have a caffeine addiction, which means you would need to abstain for at least three days,” says Masci.

Chocolate is arguably the most common food to crave, partly because it boosts hormones associated with feelings of well-being and contentment.

“Chocolate contains plant components, called flavonoids, that naturally increase serotonin and endorphin levels within the brain,” says Masci.

Chocolate is the archetypal nemesis of dieters everywhere


Fortunately, chocolate is not the only food laden with flavonoids.

“Strawberries owe their bright red colour to flavonoids, and tree fruits such as pears, plums and grapefruits are another great source,” says Masci.

Each of these fruits also has a rich luster and fragrance, meaning they ignite the senses as chocolate does.

“Food cravings can also stem from stresses in your daily life, so consider taking a walk to refocus your body and mind when cravings hit,” says Masci.

If cravings persist, consider these wholesome alternatives to chocolate, coffee and chips to stabilise chemicals within the body, and encourage better nutrition.

“Your body will feel better for it,” says Masci.


Images thanks to Wikimedia Commons and New Life Nutrition

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