Crave-worthy treats can be abundantly healthy! Satisfy your cravings with nutrient-dense, delicious treats from Superfood Snacks (Sterling, 2015) by, natural food chef and bestselling author, Julie Morris. The following excerpt will allow you to assess what your food cravings really mean and help you choose nutritious alternatives to keep your body satisfied.
From pizza to potato chips to margarita-flavored jelly beans . . . why do these not-so-healthy food cravings occur in the first place? Certainly our ancient ancestors weren’t running around collecting berries while secretly thinking, “Ugh, I would do anything for a chocolate croissant right now.” They were probably thinking they wanted—craved even—the berries. That’s because every craving means something very important at its core: it’s a request from your body. Our bodies aren’t here to sabotage our healthy efforts—in fact, it’s just the opposite! They’re designed to be receptive, intuitive, and intelligent when it comes to our biological needs.
Recipes from Superfood Snacks
Recalibrating the way that we listen and respond to our body’s requests is the key to more rewarding eating and longer-lasting satisfaction. When you learn to eat instinctively, it’s like drinking a tall glass of water when you’re thirsty: It’s the “ah, I needed that” moment. And you continue to feel better afterward, too.
Our cravings and food preferences are actually hard-wired into our brain and genes, stemming from our earliest days of basic survival, which is why almost everyone experiences them. Every nutrient has a direct effect on the body, on energy, and on mood. Carbohydrates aren’t bad; they’re needed to produce energy and stimulate the release of insulin—which ultimately increases serotonin, the neurotransmitter that regulates sleep, keeps us calm, and improves mood. Good fats are wildly important for all kinds of cellular function and have also been linked to serotonin production and stress reduction. And protein does more than just build muscle; it also helps stabilize blood sugar and it keeps all of our systems in balance.
Eating snacks throughout the day means we can address the fluctuating needs of our bodies with gentle micro-adjustments, keeping our mind, our body, and our resulting energy levels on an even keel. The key is knowing how to interpret our body’s requests. Once we understand where our food cravings are coming from, instead of reacting to them with unhealthy snap decisions, we can better respond to them with smart choices that are truly satisfying on every level. Remember, cravings in their real form are actually very important cues. The more we truly listen to and nourish them, the less strong and overwhelming they become. This sets us up for long-term success in creating a truly healthy lifestyle. Making snacks out of real foods and incredibly nutrient-dense ingredients means we can enjoy our cravings as much as we like, ditch the feelings of guilt, and start enjoying the pleasure of multifaceted satisfaction.
Common Food Cravings
|What we think we crave||What our body actually craves||Sample of balancing superfoods|
|Salty||Minerals, especially calcium||Dark leafy greens such as kale, sea vegetables, sesame seeds, chia seeds, spirulina, chlorella, mulberries|
|Sugary/Starchy||Glucose, sodium, chromium, serotonin/dopamine||Mulberries, dates, bananas, dulse, garbanzo beans, soy beans, quinoa, broccoli, goji berries, maca|
|Creamy/Sweet||Chromium, magnesium, protein/amino acids, carbon, phosphorus, sulfur, serotonin/dopamine||All nuts and seeds, avocado, goldenberries, cacao, hemp seeds, sea vegetables, watercress, kale|
|Caffeine||Iron, serotonin||Maca, nori, goji berries, goldenberries, mulberries, pumpkin seeds, hemp seeds, cacao, leafy green vegetables, wheatgrass|
|Chocolate||Magnesium, vitamin B12 and B6, antioxidants, serotonin||Cacao (raw dark chocolate), maca, walnuts, chia seeds, pumpkin seeds, hemp seeds, sea vegetables, spirulina, chlorella, acai berries, maqui berries, blueberries|
Reprinted with permission from Superfood Snacks © 2015 by Julie Morris, Sterling Publishing Co., Inc. Photography by Oliver Barth