Patients often tell me that they struggle with emotional eating at times of stress, uncertainty and change. For some, it’s giving in to their sweet tooth; for others it’s giving in to their love for savory pastries, or other yummy foods.
When you have a craving, I invite you to reflect on how you deal with it. Do you try to resist it? Do you give in? Chances are, you sometimes have the willpower to push through and resist it. Other times, the desire is so strong that you just have to have that little something…and then when you do, do you do so in moderation (if so, congratulations!) or do you sometimes have (WAAAAY) more than what your body really needs?
If, every once in a while, you find yourself falling into the cycle of undesired eating habits that you feel guilty about, you should know—you are not alone. Most adults struggle with this, and many habits that we form are not easy to give up or change.
So, what should you do?
- Get enough sleep. Make sure that the reason you are craving sugar or processed food is NOT exhaustion. This is a factor YOU CAN control.
- Eat mindfully. If you just give yourself enough time to eat slowly, focus on the appearance, smell, taste and texture of your food, chances are, you will not overeat.
- Eat when you are hungry. Don’t allow yourself to skip lunch if you know that this will lead to poor dinner choices.
- If you still want that sweet after dinner, have an apple, strawberries, blueberries or grapefruit instead. Or any other fruit of your choice. Or carrots with hummus. Or roasted almonds and other nuts. Or any other REAL, whole, non-processed food.. Reassess how you’re feeling and if you still want that sweet.
- And finally, if you are still craving something, allow yourself a healthy version of a snack (see below for an example – and feel free to be creative here!).
I have been exploring recipes for this healthy snack and came up with one that is incredibly easy, vegan and gluten-free (of course, you can modify this if desired) and has NO SUGAR ADDED.
I invite you to try this recipe for these amazing gluten-free, no sugar added, vegan muffins at home. I typically make 12 muffins, freeze them, then take one or two out and reheat for breakfast or snack when desired. You can use these muffins for breakfast—for example, 2 small muffins with a little bit of almond butter, a handful of blueberries, or any other berries of your choice.