That feeling of ‘needing chocolate now’ can be overwhelming and seem to come from nowhere. But the cause of cravings can be anything from a nutrient deficiency to a recent blowout meal with your partner; when you suddenly consume three desserts in one weekend, your taste buds will want a hit of that sweetness again.
The answer? Find healthier versions of what your body is looking for. Try these five snacks to offset cravings, boost your metabolism and keep you satisfied.
Chai Latte: Certain spices will reduce sugar cravings – cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, ginger, fennel, all of which are found in a warm cup of chai tea. Research reveals that cinnamon can normalise blood sugar levels and increase feelings of fullness while ginger has been shown to help with hyperglycemia. Add almond milk for an even better brew; almonds have been shown to improve blood sugar balance and lower cholesterol .
Cashews: These nuts might be rammed full of calories but they will keep you fuller for longer. Stick to 12 cashews (a small handful) for the ultimate stress-busting snack. Cashews are one of the richest sources of the amino acid tryptophan. This converts to serotonin in the brain and acts as a natural anti-depressant. Plus women who eat nuts are slimmer than those who don’t – according to a 30-year study from Harvard .
Celery and Peanut Butter: When you chew on celery you stimulate the calming part of your nervous system – the parasympathetic nervous system. Spreading the sticks with peanut butter will help satisfy salt and sweet cravings plus help you burn fat. Peanut butter boosts levels of adiponectin, a fat-busting hormone. Stick to one tablespoon and choose a variety free from palm oil, like Meridian, to help save the rainforests.
Rocket and Parmesan: Bitter flavours help keep sweet cravings at bay. A small bowl of spicy rocket will silence your sweet tooth plus a few shavings of Parmesan will keep you satisfied. Cheese, particularly Parmesan, is rich in tyrosine which can offset your urge for an afternoon coffee.
Smoked Salmon on Oat Cakes: The omega 3 fatty acids founds in oily fish – like mackerel, and salmon – can improve mood and brain function and increase weight loss. Men given 6 grams of fish oil per day reduced body fat in a study published in the International Journal of Obesity. Top an oatcake with two slices of smoked salmon for a mid-afternoon pick-me-up…that’s less than 100 calories.
Laura Bond is a journalist author and health coach. She specializes in helping clients beat stress, reduce their toxic load and prepare their bodies for babies.