With the new year upon us a lot of you will most likely be looking to kick start your fitness and change your diet; especially after a binge over Christmas.
We all know the pattern though and we’re all guilty of it. We completely change our lifestyle and dietary habits so drastically that we soon fall off. This doesn’t have to be the case this year though. Over the next few articles we will explore the various obstacles that stop us from keeping consistent and the hurdles that trip us up along the way.
Cravings are one of these hurdles. The problem with food is that we sometimes don’t eat when we’re actually hungry but we eat to make ourselves feel better or we have developed a habit or ritual in which we eat, i.e eating while watching the television. Unfortunately when we give in to a craving, it can spiral of control and we end up binging.
How can we curb cravings? Well, there are several approaches to help keep you on track and stop you from cheating on your diet. For the scope of this article we are going to look at recipe ideas and alternatives that mean you can curb your cravings without feeling guilty or deviating too far from your caloric goals. Over the next few articles we will also explore how to plan your diet in a way that means you can eat the foods you crave and also how to calculate how much you should actually be eating.
There are also many zero calorie options out there now. Sometimes all it takes is a taste and you realise you’re not hungry, you then haven’t deviated from your plan. There are a variety of zero calorie carbonated drinks out there and you don’t need much to get rid of that craving. These can be a good tool to break out of the habit, especially after a meal when that sweet tooth kicks in. Of course moderation is key and these should only be used sparingly.
The key really is to understand why you’re craving the foods you are. Even if your goal is fat loss and you’re in a caloric deficit, it doesn’t mean you have to be starving. Bulk up your meals with plenty of green vegetables; kale, spinach, broccoli, sprouts. These are a huge source of vitamins and fibre and barely touch the caloric edges of your diet.
If you drink a lot of tea and coffee throughout the day this is usually accompanied with milk and sugar. While drinking calories is not necessarily bad, it does up your daily calories and it is often unnoticed as liquids are not very satiating. To cut this out you can either switch out the milky teas for green tea or choose milk alternatives such as almond milk.
If you struggle to watch television without craving something to nibble on then try imposing a screen ban on yourself whenever you eat. Yes this includes your mobile phone. Try that for a few weeks and see if it improves your cravings while you relax.
More often than not cravings tend to be more towards the sweeter foods. Whey protein is a great tool to use as it can be used in a variety of recipes, it’s convenient and it’s sweet enough to satisfy that craving. Try some of these recipes.
Smoothies are a great way to satisfy those cravings as a small bit of fruit and a flavoured whey protein can make the drink very sweet. You can modify these as you please using this simple formula.
- 1-2 scoops whey protein
- 1 piece of fruit (i.e banana, handful berries)
- 1 large handful spinach
- Almond milk
Depending on your goals you can bulk this up with fats such as nut butters or oils (coconut and olive oil).
- 1 banana
- 1 egg
- 1 scoop whey protein
Mix together all of the ingredients, mashing the banana, a fork works well. You can then simply fry this in a pan as you would with any other pancake mixture.
- 1-2 scoops whey protein
- Rolled Oats
- Water or Almond milk
I would struggle to even call this a recipe. Simply make your morning oats and mix in the required amount of protein. If you normally have your porridge with milk you can switch it out for almond milk, however even water is tasty enough when the whey is added.