Managing Cravings by Catering to Your Senses

By Robyn Priebe on 02/02/2011
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In case you avid readers haven’t figured it out yet, each week I’m trying to play off of Darla’s Monday blog post theme.  This week she talked about tuning into the senses and it reminded me of our class on dealing with challenging foods.  One of the classes in our binge eating series includes an exercise in which we attempt to practice mindful eating with some foods that might have triggered bingeing, overeating, or feelings of guilt in the past.

Taking the time to slowly eat and pay attention to foods like chocolate, potato chips, Doritos, cookies, etc… may be yield some surprising results.  One of the foods I’ve tried this with was Famous Amos cookies, one of my binge foods in a past life.  Years later I’ve discovered that they pale in comparison to my homemade cookies and, to me, aren’t worth eating.  When I was struggling with bingeing, I ate them by the box and didn’t pay one ounce of attention to how good (or bad) they tasted.

Anyway, in this class in which we attempt to mindfully eat such foods, sometimes it becomes obvious that people really like salty crunchy foods.  I have to be honest, slowly eating a potato chip and letting it hang in the mouth for a while does not yield the most positive results.  Often people discover that the important thing to them about chips is the crunchy texture.  This is where I’d say paying attention to and catering to our senses can pan out.  If you know you like crisp crunchy foods, attempt to work that texture into many of you meals/snacks, versus waiting for that craving to strike and turning to the chips.

For example, you might include the following to cater to that texture preference:

  • use toasted, lightly salted nuts as part of a snack - I really like pistachios, since un-shelling them slows my pace of eating them a bit
  • serve roasted kale as a vegetable side dish, try our recipe for Kale Chips
  • make wrap sandwiches that have been heated up in a toaster oven to crisp them or open faced sandwiches made on toast rather than bread
  • use whole grain crackers, baked pita wedges, or baked tortilla chips as your starch for meals as opposed to cooked starches or breads/rolls
  • try wasabi peas or soynuts as another salty/crunchy type of snack food

What suggestions do you have for crunchy foods that satisfy the need for that texture, but may be healthier than processed salt/crunchy snacks?

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