A food craving is more than a preference for particular foods, or an impulse to buy certain snacks. A food craving is an insistent desire for a type of food (eg. candy, pizza) which we often go to some lengths to satisfy. Cravings can be detrimental for our dietary goals! Fortunately, with a little forethought and planning, it is not too difﬁcult to curb our craving desires.
What causes food cravings?
Cravings are usually more psychological than physical. The most common emotional or psychological triggers for food cravings are stress, depression, boredom or a general need for comfort. Changes in hormone levels (such as during PMS), or low or imbalanced blood sugar levels can also cause cravings.
How can I avoid cravings?
- Eat small, frequent meals. When you get hungry between meals, enjoy a healthy snack.
- Reduce your intake of sugar and salt since overconsumption of these foods can aggravate cravings.
- Drink water instead of searching for a snack. Oftentimes, we confuse thirst with hunger.
- Food cravings are satisﬁed best by the actual substance that is craved. Forget eating carrot sticks to satify your craving for ice cream. Instead have a reasonable portion of ice cream. In moderation, favorite high-calorie foods can help you stay within a well-balanced diet and achieve a healthy weight.”
Millions of us eat spinach and lettuce safely every day, so our chances of getting E.coli poisoning are small. But with the recent outbreak of tainted spinach, we naturally feel more cautious when it comes to eating our leafy greens.
Here are a few tips to lower your chances of getting sick.
- Wash your hands before you open the bag. It really is important.
- Be careful not to allow either the bag or the salad to come close to raw meat juices (they might contain E.coli or other bad bacteria).
- Before you buy, take a look at that sell by date and don’t buy the salad if that date has passed.
- If the salad stays out too long (gets too warm) at home or starts to look brown or gooey around the edges — don’t try to save it, throw it away.
- And if you do get sick, think salad! It might be the culprit…and if there is any of the salad left in the bag, don’t throw it away. (The salad may need to be tested.)
- If you get really sick, sick enough to go to the hospital, let the doctors know you had salad in a bag. And if you ﬁnd out you are contaminated with E.coli, call your local health department so someone else doesn’t get sick.
Which is Best? Canned, Frozen or Fresh?
Many people believe that unless produce is raw, it’s nutritional value is deleted. Yes, it’s true that fresh fruits and vegetables are most nutritious and best tasting when they are picked at their peak. Plus, fruit and vegetable lovers usually prefer the superior taste, texture and look of fresh produce. However, don’t under-estimate the nutritional value of produce prepared in other ways. Consider this….
- Some vegetables become MORE nutritious when cooked.(It is better to steam most vegetables than to cook them for long periods of time at high temperatures.)
- Canned produce is usually processed immediately after harvest, when nutrient content is at its peak. Some canned produce can be high in sodium and/or sugar, however, check the nutrition labels for low sodium and low sugar versions of products.
- Few preservatives are used in frozen foods. Frozen foods are nutritious because most nutrients are retained during the process. Soon after being picked, the foods are quickly blanched in water and then frozen. This helps to preserve freshness.
A message nutritionists have long emphasized is this: canned and frozen produce is a nutritionally sound alternative to fresh fruits and veggies. Frozen and canned products are particularly good to have on hand for times when you can’t get to the store for fresh products or
when fresh fruits and vegetables are out of season or out of your price range.
The bottom line is still EAT MORE FRUITS AND VEGGIES. Canned, frozen, fresh or slightly cooked, they are a good thing!