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How to Combat Unhealthy Food Cravings

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"I am a new mom to a eighteen month old little girl who I still currently breastfeed once a day. I have lost most of my baby weight but need to lose more to be at a healthy weight but all I crave is sweets and junk food. What can I do to try to overcome this and what are some good foods to eat that are easy and will help me lose the weight (30lbs)?

Thank you!" - Karis

Hi Karis,

You are likely stuck in dietary rut or cycle that you need to break out of. When you are hooked on eating junk foods and sweets, that can “feed” on itself and cause even more cravings! The key here for you is to work hard on eating balanced meals and snacks, which will help keep your blood sugar even. This will prevent the highs and lows and help control cravings. This will also be a tremendous help towards losing weight.

hummus with sticks of celery and carrot

If you make a healthy diet your top priority, you can then work in some extras for fun. Here are some guidelines:

Eat a balanced diet to keep blood sugars even

Try to have lean protein, whole-grain carbs and/or healthy fat with every meal or snack. Some examples could be:

  • Cottage cheese with sliced fresh fruit and almonds
  • Oatmeal with low-fat milk and walnuts
  • Turkey and avocado on whole-grain bread
  • Salad with salmon or chicken in olive oil vinaigrette
  • Natural peanut butter and banana on whole-wheat bread
  • Hummus and veggies in whole-grain pita

Eat regularly

This is also important for keeping blood sugars even and energy up. Start with a good breakfast and have smaller, regular meals or snacks every two to three hours.

Sneak nutrition into your favorite "crave" foods

Check out the following fun snack options. They offer a variety of whole grains, dairy products, fruits and vegetables. These foods will also contain a variety of calcium, iron, folic acid and fiber.

Oh so sweet
  • A whole-wheat toasted English muffin topped with 1 tablespoon of natural peanut butter and a sliced banana
  • One large baked apple topped with eight walnut halves and cinnamon
  • 1 cup chocolate milk and a banana
  • 1 cup vanilla low-fat yogurt or 1 percent cottage cheese topped with 1 cup chopped fresh fruit and 2 tablespoons walnuts or almonds
  • Fruit smoothie with 1 cup skim milk, 1 cup fresh berries and 3/4 cup low-fat vanilla yogurt
  • 1 packet of quick-cooking maple-cinnamon oatmeal made with skim milk instead of water
Crunchy, salty craving
  • One large cinnamon rice cake spread with 1 tablespoon of natural peanut butter
  • A large bowl of vegetable bean soup with four whole-grain crackers
  • One large sliced apple (with skin) and 10 to 12 flavored mini rice cakes
  • 1/4 cup of hummus, six to eight whole-grain crackers and cut-up celery and carrot sticks
  • A few whole-grain crackers with 1-2 oz. of low-fat cheddar cheese and one cup of red or yellow pepper strips
  • One ounce whole grain tortilla chips dipped in your favorite salsa
  • Homemade trail mix combining 20 almonds or cashews, 2 tablespoons of raisins and a half cup of whole-grain cereal
  • Kashi TLC granola bar

Exercise

Regular, moderate exercise can lift your mood and may help ward off cravings. Aim for at least 30 minutes most days of the week.

Distract yourself when a craving first hits

Go for a walk, call a friend, do a crossword puzzle. Most cravings will go away within 20 minutes.

Good Luck!
Jane

 
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