Let’s talk about Cravings. Not the chocolate cravings you might be thinking of or those cravings for popcorn at the movies. I’m talking cravings for spinach. Or when you can’t wait to eat chicken. Or a craving for a big ice cold green juice. Never had that craving? Here’s why…
Our cravings for food work in a funny way. The more we eat something the more we want it. Let me ask you this: if you have never eaten a brussel sprout before do you really think you will want them for dinner one night? Or if all you ever eat for breakfast is a bagel do you think the morning you start your juice cleanse you will wake up craving green juice?…Not a chance.
I’m not trying to discourage you though. I want you to crave these foods because they are good for us. Eat them enough and you too will find them delicious. Now you know I’m not perfect. I crave cereal and chocolate and all those good things you do too. In fact my inspiration to write this post, came when I got myself out of a cereal rut so let me give you my firsthand experience with cravings:
I was having a crappy week. We all have them. I didn’t feel like cooking, didn’t prep my meals as good as I should have, didn’t buy enough groceries. I fell into my own trap. Cereal became my best friend. Dinner for three nights in a row was cereal. I was eating brown rice tortillas. Apples. Smoothies. Bars. But just about zero veggies and very little protein. Let’s talk about how I was feeling. Tired. Lazy. A bit grouchy. But yet I was craving these foods that were making me more tired. Did I really want another bowl of cereal for dinner? Yes I kind of did.
My new best friend.
Sunday came and grocery time happened. I diverted myself from the cereal aisle and loaded up on fruits and veggies. I spent a long time staring at the greens trying to figure out what exactly I wanted. I bought beef and turkey and chicken. I’ll be honest with you Monday morning I was exactly “craving” veggies, but I knew my body needed them. I needed the energy. I needed the push. So veggies I had. I ate my turkey and spaghetti squash for lunch wishing it was a bowl of cereal. I sucked it up and had more veggies and meat for dinner. Tuesday I had snap peas, baby carrots, and lean ground meat for lunch. Not the best. But here’s where the change happened. I felt better. My energy went up. I felt good about myself. By Friday as I thought about what I wanted for lunch I was looking forward to turkey meatballs and spaghetti squash for lunch…Um excuse me but this is the meal I dreaded on Monday. Cereal seemed so far superior and now look at me.
This needed to happen!
Why am I telling you this long drawn out story? Because nutritionists aren’t perfect. I have my weeks when cereal is all I want and how do I get out of it? By eating something other than cereal. There is a big difference between what our mind “wants” (we’ll call this cravings for cereal) and what our body “needs” (we’ll call this cravings for veggies). Feed it junk and it craves more junk but consistently feed it delicious whole foods and it’s going to crave whole foods. So next time you think about that dinner of cereal for the 4th night in a row, try something different. Cook some veggies, have a salad, make a green smoothie. Do it again the next night. By the end of the week I’m sure you’ll be craving veggies in no time.
Fun Fact: It can take a child 10-15 exposures of a new food for them to accept and like it. The same may be true for you. Try a need food at least 2 or 3 times before deciding whether or not you like it. You may actually love kale, maybe you just haven’t tried it enough.
Good luck solving your cravings. Any questions, send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org