Anger and anxiety are the most common reasons why we experience cravings for crunch. The mechanical process of chewing and crunching releases tension that we hold within. Pay close attention to how you’re feeling when you start jonesing for something crunchy. Identify your triggers and learn how to alleviate the emotions without giving in to your craving. Focus on relieving stress and releasing aggression. A few useful techniques are:
- Meditation and prayer
- Martial arts
- Competitive sports
- Popping bubble wrap
- Balling up paper
- Singing, writing, painting or sculpting
Please don’t try to be Superman (or Wonder Woman.) Remember that it’s okay to give in sometimes! The key is to provide yourself with healthy options to crunch and munch on. Follow these guidelines to keep yourself from impulsively eating your way through life:
- Take a few moments to practice one of the activities above, or one of your own. If you accomplish 15-30 minutes of activity and still want something crunchy, go for it!
- Serve yourself a small portion of a crunchy snack and don’t allow yourself to dish up seconds (much less thirds or fourths!)
- Eat slowly to maximize your enjoyment. The first few bites are all you need to release the tension you’re feeling- the rest is driven by impulse.
On the occasions that you do treat yourself, do so with wholesome foods. Veggies are great because they are crunchy, low-calorie and very nutritious. Choose chips that are baked and available in low-sodium or made with whole-grain. Combine your snack with a low-calorie, healthy dip for ultimate palate-pleasure. I like salsa, guacamole or yogurt-based ranch. Try out some of my favorite crunchy snacks but don’t hesitate to get creative on your own!
- Pita chips
- Kale chips
- Rice cakes (with a small drizzle of honey!)
- Carrot sticks
- Celery sticks
- Bell peppers
- Salad loaded with cucumber and other veggies
February 7th, 2011