Not an easy job to do – go from cheesy bagels or chocolate donuts in the morning to oatmeal or basic scramble. After all, what’s more tempting? Grabbing something on the go or take 20 minutes off a busy morning to make porridge? That’s rhetorical.
Here’s the thing though, and it’s been scientifically proven: the unhealthier you eat, the more you’ll crave unhealthy foods.
Here’s what happens when you eat junk food
Everything you eat has an effect on your body and even more important, on your brain. Processed foods cause a cycle of high blood sugar and low blood sugar in the body, which leads to craving more of these foods.
Craving is actually a physiological reaction of the brain and every time you give in to cravings, you become more addictive to junk food, and your brain makes you want to eat even more of the unhealthy stuff, even more often.
Now food, of course, we need it to survive. Just like with fluids, we have to drink water to survive. So while we need food to survive, we don’t need junk food. We crave junk food. We crave it because food manufacturers add all the sugar, the salt, and the fat to make us want more of it. They are quite ingenious.
How to outsmart your cravings
It’s actually pretty simple. You have to learn to tame your cravings and train your brain into healthier habits.
- Consume as many whole foods as possible
Whole foods are all vegetables and all fruits along with whole grains, legumes, natural dairy products and nuts. As a term, whole foods refer to minimally processed foods that are free from chemicals and additives, so it includes organic fruits and vegetables to conventional produce.
A day in the life of a whole-foods eater may start with an omelet breakfast made of free range eggs, bell peppers, mushrooms and some cheese, followed by a vegetables-packed lunch. Maybe grilled chicken or grilled fish alongside a choice of hearty soup.
Dinner can be brown rice bowl with turkey or warm chicken salad. Snacks are included too, anything from nuts and dried fruits to vegetables dipped in guacamole, a slice of whole meal bread spread with peanut butter, or hard-boiled eggs.
Desserts may or may not be part of the equation. What usually happens once you start eating less processed foods and more nutrient-dense whole foods is that your brain will stop craving sweets or at least stop craving as much sugar as before. The same goes for salt and fat. You naturally, although gradually switch to healthier options, so your desserts could go to something of five ingredients or less, which is what labels on your products of choice should read from now on.
A healthy dessert option could be banana cups: it takes 1 fully ripe banana, ½ chocolate chips, and ¼ cup almond milk. Melt the chocolate chips and the milk over a bain marie, otherwise known as the double boiler method.
When melted, pour into silicone muffin cups and place in the freezer for up to 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, smash or blend banana and add some on top of each chocolate cup. Then fill the cups with the remaining melted chocolate and place in the freezer again until firm.