Tags: Obesity | holidays | christmas | diet | fitness

8 Ways to Prevent Food Holiday Cravings

8 Ways to Prevent Food Holiday Cravings
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By    |   Wednesday, 13 December 2017 01:02 PM

Your office receptionist has stocked the candy bowl on the desk with chocolates, your Aunt Clara sent you a box of her homemade Christmas cookies, and everywhere you go – from your bank to the local Starbucks – free samples of gingerbread and eggnog latte are proffered.

During the holiday it’s especially difficult to resist food cravings. But a few strategies can help, says nutrition specialist Julia Ross.

 “You can conquer food cravings – even at holiday time – but you do need to strategize,” says Ross, author of new book, “The Craving Cure.”

December is a particularly challenging time for people who want to keep a lid on overeating, more so than any other time of the year, Ross tells Newsmax Health.

“It’s true that people eat sweets at Easter, but that is not the weight gain horror show that the winter holidays are,” says Ross, a bestselling author who specializes in food addiction.

In order to prevent cravings, you first have to understand that they do not signify hunger, says Ross.

Hunger is the legitimate recognition of a need for more nutrition, so, typically, it’s just a signal to take in a bunch of nutrients,” she says. “Hunger is not desperate, it’s not for a specific food item.”

On the other hand, a craving is a strong desire for a single food, usually containing sugar.

“We didn’t even have sugar for most of our existence on this planet, so it has nothing to do with hunger.  When we’re hungry, we want a square meal to give us strength, not just a food boost,” she says.

But it is that yearning for sugar that comes into play most strongly during the holidays, says Ross.

“December is the time when it gets dark in most of the country, and with this diminishment of sunshine comes a depletion in the pleasure hormone, serotonin, so this is why most people get depressed in the winter and crave sweets,” says Ross.

Sugar, indeed, provides a boost to help compensate for this loss in serotonin, says Ross. When we eat sugar, our bodies release insulin, a hormone that regulates glucose in the blood.

“When we get this infusion of sugar, our blood sugar rises and it feels great – literally the whole brain lights up, and we get an initial high. But then our pancreas releases insulin, which scrapes all the sugar out of our blood stream and that results in a sugar crash, and we crave more,” she says.

To combat holiday food cravings, Ross offers the following tips and suggestions

  • Eat three high-protein meals a day. This should squelch any cravings for sweets.
  • Embrace meat. Beef and chicken is good, but also pork and fish. But stay away from fried foods.
  • If you’re hungry between meals, have a high-protein snack. Her suggestions include cheese, nuts, raw vegetables, or cut-up apple or avocado, with perhaps turkey slices, or hard-boiled eggs.
  • Don’t fear fat. In fact, a certain amount of fat is essential, to keep our bodies –especially our brains— working well. But you should distinguish between good and bad fats. Good fats include coconut oil, extra virgin olive oil (or macadamia nut or avocado oil) organic butter, and organic lard from products like “uncured (sugar-free) bacon/pork. Bad fat include partially hydrogenated oils (liquid vegetable oils that are hardened into margarine, for instance; corn, soy, cottonseed, canola oil).
  • Eat lots of vegetables that are low in carbohydrates like artichokes, asparagus, broccoli, carrots, cauliflower, and peppers.

  • Don’t entirely ditch high-carbohydrate vegetables, like potatoes, sweet potatoes, and yams, whenever possible, eat them with the skins. This is especially true if you’re choosing organic foods, which Ross recommends.
  • Grains are also good, especially when soaked to aid digestibility. This is also true for legumes, like lentils, and most types of beans.
  • Fruits are also permissible, but do be careful of their sugar content. Whole raw fruits contain fiber, enzymes, vitamins, and minerals that mitigate the effects of their sugar content.

© 2021 NewsmaxHealth. All rights reserved.

The holidays bring sweets, chocolate, cookies, and other treats that lead to weight gain. But there are ways to prevent food cravings during the holiday season. Here are eight proven strategies.
holidays, christmas, diet, fitness
Wednesday, 13 December 2017 01:02 PM
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