woman eating carrot cake

Tricks for Controlling Food Cravings

That hunk of chocolate cake. The fork sitting next to it just waiting for you to plunge it into the sweet moist layers, shoveling a huge, rich satisfying heap of chocolate goodness into your mouth, the sweet, decadent icing dissolving on your tongue, the serotonin rushing to your brain Oh, pure joy. Cravings can be hard to deal with, but so can excess calories. If you need some help dealing with temptations, here are a few suggestions.

Drink Water
It may be no match for chocolate cake, but you may find that a few minutes after drinking a large glass of water, your craving may disappear. Water also has health benefits and drinking it before a meal can help keep appetite to a minimum.

More Protein
A study of overweight teenage girls found that eating a breakfast high in protein reduced cravings significantly, and a study of overweight men showed that increasing protein to 25% of daily calorie intake resulted in a 60% reduction of cravings and a 50% reduction in desire for nighttime snacks.

Just Walk Away
One way to beat a craving is by distancing yourself from it. Taking a shower or brisk walk can help to shift your mind to something else, and chewing gum can also help to reduce appetite.

Plan Meals
Knowing what you’re going to eat will help to cut down on spontaneous eating. If you don’t have to think about your next meal, you’ll be less likely to succumb to temptation.

couple prepping food in the kitchen

Don’t Wait to Eat
Hunger is a big reason for cravings. Avoid hunger by eating regularly and keeping healthy snacks close.

Control Stress
Stress can bring on food cravings that lead to binge eating. Studies show that women under stress typically take in significantly more calories and have more cravings than women who are not experiencing stress. Stress can also increase blood levels of cortisol, a hormone that can lead to weight gain, especially in the belly. Minimize stress by planning ahead, slowing down, and meditating.

Spinach Extract
Spinach extract is a supplement made from spinach leaves that helps to delay the digestion of fat that increases the levels of hormones responsible for reduction of hunger and appetite. Studies show that 3.7-5 grams of spinach extract taken with a meal may reduce cravings for several hours. One study showed that overweight women who took 5 grams of spinach extract daily were able to decrease cravings for food with a high level of sugar by 88-95%.

Mindful Eating
Mindful eating is a type of meditation used to develop awareness about eating habits, hunger and physical sensations, which teaches you to distinguish between craving and real physical hunger. Mindful eating helps you to choose your response to food, rather than acting impulsively. Mindful eating involves being present during a meal, slowing down and chewing food thoroughly, and should be done without distractions such as TVs and smartphones. One study found that episodes of binge eating in individuals were reduced from 4 to 1.5 sessions per week over a 6 week period, and the severity of the binges was decreased, as well.

How do you fight your food cravings? Let us know what you do when the urge to indulge hits!

Family enjoying an outdoor picnic

Healthy Meals for Kids

The end of summer is in sight and the stores are packed full of every school supply imaginable. Back to school time usually means that your schedule is fuller and far more hectic than the relaxed days of summer. With all of the running around from school to karate to dance lessons to buy groceries, meal times can become increasingly difficult. Resist the temptation to give into easy, unhealthy options and consider these great meals that are easy to cook, and are perfect for your kids.

Salmon burgers.

Salmon Burgers
Give red meat a rest and serve your kids the burgers they love with the nutrition they need. These quick and easy salmon burgers are ready in under 30 minutes, making them the perfect busy weeknight dinner.

Ingredients

  • 1 can (14.75 oz) salmon – drained and flaked
  • 1 egg
  • ¾ cup rolled oats
  • ½ onion – diced
  • ½ lemon
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon vegetable oil

First, open and drain the can of salmon. Flake the salmon and be sure that no bones remain. Dice ½ onion and squeeze the juice from the ½ lemon. Next, mix the salmon, oats, onion, egg, Dijon mustard and lemon juice. Mix until ingredients until they are evenly combined then divide and separate into 4 patties. Heat the vegetable oil in a skillet over medium-high heat and fry until salmon is cooked through (roughly 5-7 minutes per side).

Buffalo chicken wrap.

Buffalo Chicken Wraps
Get the taste of wings with serving of veggies with this super quick and easy meal. This recipe is especially great for using leftover chicken in a tasty and fun way.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup chicken breast – shredded
  • 1 cup cooked brown rice
  • 1 cup julienned carrots
  • 1 cup juilenned celery
  • 1 cup shredded lettuce
  • ½ cup sharp Cheddar cheese
  • ¼ cup buffalo style hot sauce
  • 4 whole grain tortillas

Cook rice according to package directions – you can make this step quicker and easier by using a ready rice that takes only minutes to cook. Combine the shredded chicken and buffalo sauce. Place ¼ cup of brown rice on each tortilla and spread across the tortilla, leaving about ½ inch of space. Add ¼ cup chicken to each tortilla and add the sliced carrots and celery. Sprinkle the Cheddar cheese on top of the vegetables and top with shredded lettuce. Fold wrap and roll the wraps and you’re ready to eat. If desired you can serve with bleu cheese or ranch dressing. You can also eliminate the tortillas from this recipe and simply serve a buffalo chicken salad (add more lettuce).

Hummus pizza.

Hummus Pizza
Everyone loves a good slice of pizza, but it isn’t exactly the most nutritious choice to make for your family. For a healthier alternative, make this veggie packed pizza.

Ingredients

  • 1 pre-made pizza crust
  • 1 cup hummus
  • 2 tablespoons black olives – sliced
  • 1 cup sliced bell peppers (any color)
  • ½ cup sliced onions
  • 1 cup broccoli florets
  • 2 cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese

Preheat the oven to 475 degrees. Place crust on a baking stone or sheet. Spread the hummus evenly across the crust. Arrange the vegetables over the hummus top with the cheese. Bake in the oven for 10 to 15 minutes – until cheese bubbles and crust appears golden-brown.

Healthy meals don’t have to be boring. When you whip up one of these healthy alternatives to food favorites, your kids are sure to enjoy their dinner while you enjoy providing them with added health.