Before starting my Accidental Fitness Quest, my favorite thing was to stop every Friday on the way to work and get two fully loaded cream filled chocolate iced donuts AND a venti white chocolate mocha with whipped cream. Holy caffeine gods, my arteries just slammed shut typing that out.
That was every Friday! Plus whatever other meals I had that day. I’m almost embarrassed to admit this here, but it shows you just how much you can change. Suddenly gone were the mochas, the donuts, the whipped cream. In place where the baked chicken breasts, dry salads, and broccoli. Have you ever eaten a baked chicken breast?! Not good. Abort the mission. Gah!
I still won’t eat a baked chicken breast by the way. I talked last time about foods not being off limits as you follow the idea of trying to eat balanced meals of carbs and protein to prevent insulin swings, and that you listen to your hunger and stop when you’re satisfied. That’s a great start, but one of the worst things I used to deal with when I first tried to diet was cravings.
Combine cravings with feeling like I was deprived and a social outcast because I ate differently than the rest of the world, and it’s a recipe (heehee, couldn’t resist) for disaster. I’ve learned so much since then about how to eat and live instead of dieting and feeling left out. Yep, get out diet mindset. No one wants you around.
Cravings are interesting things. Sometimes they can be physical like in the case of nutrient deficiencies. Many times though they are purely mental. Think about my donut for a sec. The creamy center inside the crunchy and almost salty dough. The smell of the chocolate and the crispiness of the fried parts. Most fast foods have textures and taste combinations like this. That’s what makes them fun to eat, and popular to crave.
Since most cravings don’t stem from a physical need, you need to find a way around the mental aspect of them. The trick is to learn to like healthier food choices so that you actually seek those out instead of the fast food bombs like I described above. If you like the foods you’re eating, obviously it goes without saying that you want to eat more of them.
So how do you learn to like them? Entertain your brain and your tastebuds! Put together meals with wild and crazy colors. See how many colors you can pack into one dish. Red peppers, yellow polenta, green beans, and so on. Play with textures and flavors. Crispy, creamy, squishy, salty, spicy, sweet. I made a salad with sweet roasted beets, crunch pistachios, creamy goat cheese, all colors of veggies, grilled chicken, and more.
Make it a contest with your friends to see who can work in the most colors or flavors. Post them up on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and challenge each other. Pic or it didn’t happen, right? 😉 Make your meals fun to eat so that you look forward to them.
Try out random foods that you like separately but you’ve never tried together. You may be surprised at how well they blend. Like my almond butter bacon burger drizzled with sriracha. With fun and exciting meals like that, you just might start craving those instead of your old stand bys. Give it a try and let me know what creation you whip up.
If you poke around on here, you’ll see plenty of colors, textures, and flavors in all my recipes because you don’t have to settle for tastebud boredom. The only limit is your imagination. When your tastebuds are happy, I’m willing to bet they won’t be craving fast food or other things like that very often.