Many of us make the mistake of going to long between meals. When we go long periods without eating, our blood sugar can drop. Glucose is the body’s preferred source of fuel and when you run on empty as you do when you have not eaten for a while, our body responds by getting shaky, weak and sweaty, our thinking can become fuzzy and we get intense cravings for calorie rich foods.
The body is in need of energy and thus it is built to create a desire for the most energy calorie dense foods it can find—typically salty fried foods or sugary treats. There are three key steps you can take to prevent these strong cravings from occurring.
- Eat the proper proportion of foods at each meal. This includes a quality protein such as pork loin, grilled chicken, egg whites, grilled fish or seafood, Greek yogurt, or cottage cheese, fiber from fruits, vegetables and whole grains as well as a small amount of healthy fat. Because fat and protein take longer to digest, they keep us feeling fuller for longer.
- Time your meals accordingly. Try not to go more than four or five hours between meals. I’m not a fan of the 5-6 smaller meals throughout the day. Instead, I recommend 3 meals each day and definitely avoid eating after dinner.
- Avoid foods that cause blood sugar spikes and dives. Eating refined carbohydrates such as sugary cereal, candy and soda by themselves will cause a sharp increase in blood sugar that will ultimately crash leaving you feeling unsatisfied and hungry. If you need a sweet treat, make sure you to pair it with other quality food counterparts such as lean protein, fresh or frozen fruits and veggies, whole grains and unsaturated fat. My recent Costco find: Yasso frozen Greek Yogurt treats that pack 6 grams of protein and only 70 calories. They provide a sweet treat while also giving you some nutrition.
Research Assistance Provided by: Sarah Volling