Published: 05/27/2016 - Updated: 08/14/2019
Author: Dra. Loredana Lunadei
Maintaining a diet is not easy and much less so when we have cravings or suffer from anxiety. Every one of us has, at least once in our lives, felt a desperate sense or urge to eat something sweet or a particular craving for a meal full of carbohydrates. Of course it is good from time to time to give in to our individual taste and treat ourselves, leaving the routine and allowing ourselves to eat a healthy and balanced diet without being stressed. Ironically, by being stressed about our food or diet, we produce more feeling of anxiety.
If you're trying to follow a feeding routine to lose weight or just want to avoid those cravings for half a day, leading yourself to more balanced and healthy eating, today I want to share some tips with you that might be helpful to combat cravings. I will also propose some healthy snacks which you can consume without guilt and will safely satiate your craving.
Tips to Stop Anxiety Eating
- Eat Enough: Feeding ourselves should be an activity that we enjoy and, of course, that fulfils our needs, so it is important not to starve yourself, even if you are on a weight loss plan. Often we believe that to lose fat you need to eat tiny portions, but all that happens with this is that you end up not giving your body the nutrients it needs to survive, you increase your metabolism and, of course, you will undoubtedly increase and feelings of anxiety and appetite. It is important to note that this does not mean we can eat whatever we want to be satisfied, but instead to consume food in a balanced manner and in appropriate portions that allow us to feel satisfied longer and reduce our appetite or cravings.
- Drink water: Dehydration increases anxiety and thus we often confuse thirst for hunger. For this reason it is important to drink enough water to stay hydrated.
- Eat more meals each day: Having several mealtimes a day is important to avoid long periods without eating, so it is advisable to try and eat 3 meals and 2 snacks between meals. For snacks, try to choose healthy options such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, yoghurt or smoothies.
- Consume fats: Although it seems contradictory, some fats are essential to keep our bodies healthy, so if you're craving something sweet replace with a food with healthy fat like a handful of nuts, peanut butter etc. Do not forget to control portions of these foods.
- Keep busy: Sometimes the urge to eat comes to us because we are bored or depressed, so it is very important that we keep our attention focused on other activities. Exercise not only distracts us, but it helps us to reduce stress and improve our health. You can also choose fun activities and hobbies that will distract you and stop you from thinking about cravings.
- Eat more vegetables: Vegetables are excellent to appease the appetite and most of them are very low in calories so you can eat them in larger quantities. They provide us with a feeling of being full for longer because of their high fibre content and are also a source of important nutrients like vitamins and minerals. So, if you feel anxious about eating you can opt for this food group.
- Get enough sleep: When we rest, we secrete hormones that relax us and help us to feel better by reducing stress and anxiety, so we feel less anxious during the day.
- Have a snack without feeling guilty: We cannot always overcome anxiety and prevent cravings, but there are many snack options that can consume without feeling guilt which can help alleviate anxiety, for example calorie-free gelatin, sugar-free chewing gum, unsweetened teas or infusions. It is important that we consume these snacks sparingly, particularly gelatins and gum, since excessive consumption is not good for your health.
However, cravings are not always a bad sign: You can always put a positive spin on your craving and consume an option that nurtures and benefit you. Here are two easy and very rich snacks to eat as healthy snacks between meals:
Date and Cocoa Sandwiches
- 1 cup of Dates
- ½ cup of Almonds
- 2 Tbsp. Chia seeds
- 1 tsp. Coconut oil
- 1 tbsp. Peanut butter
- 1 tbsp. Unsweetened cocoa powder
1. In a food processor, place the almonds and grind until they have a grainy consistency.
2. Incorporate dates and the remaining ingredients: Mix them all together until you have a uniform consistency similar to a purée.
3. Form this mixture into balls using your hands or two spoons.
4. Refrigerate in a covered container and serve fresh.
- 2 cups Cooked chickpeas
- 1 Garlic clove
- 1 Lemon
- 1 tsp. Paprika
- ½ tsp. Cumin
- Salt and Pepper (sufficient amount)
- 3 tbsp. Water
- 2 Tbsp. Olive oil
- ¼ cup of Tahini (sesame seed paste)
1. Chop the garlic finely or pass through a garlic crusher.
2. Process or liquify the tahini paste, lemon juice and oil until it has a creamy consistency.
3. Add the chopped garlic and chickpeas, processing them until the chickpeas are incorporated into the preparation and have the consistency of a thick purée.
4. Season with spices and add water to achieve the desired consistency.
5. Serve with a drizzle of oil and a sprinkle of paprika. You can serve with celery, carrot or other chopped raw vegetables.
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