Is your lunch causing afternoon sugar cravings?
Of the three meals in a day, i’ve noticed in clinic that LUNCH is a meal A LOT of people find challenging. And I have to say, lunch is one of THE main causes of sugar cravings and “falling off the wagon” in the afternoon. I personally used to struggle with this.
Most of us put snacking in the afternoon down to self control. Sure, emotional eating could be a contributing factor BUT for most people I see, these sugar cravings and afternoon “snack attacks” are coming from a place of GENUINE hunger and food cravings.
Sushi, sandwiches, wraps, light tuna and crackers, these are some of the common lunches we tend to go for for convenience and in an attempt to choose a some-what healthy lunch. Perhaps they are not that bad compared to fast food, but its the flow on effect they have on your hunger and cravings in the afternoon thats causes the biggest problem.
If afternoon cravings are a problem for you, checking to make sure that your lunch has everything it needs to be nourishing and satisfying is key:
These are my top tips on how to vamp up your lunch to beat the afternoon cravings:
1. Add more fats! This is the first and most common mistake people make with their lunches. There are NO fats.
Fats add flavour and texture, and really keep you satisfied. I am a big fan of dips such as hummus, tzatziki and pesto. Or topping your lunch with some seeds, nuts, avocado, flaxseed oil or tahini.
2. Add a nice combination cooked and raw vegetables – You will quickly get sick of lettuce tomato cucumber. I love using left over roasted beetroot and kumara for my carb portion, and cauliflower rice or sautéed kale to add more warmth and bulk to lunches meals.
3.. Make it colourful – your body is looking for a VARIETY of nutrients. Different coloured vegetables contain different phytochemical (powerful plant nutrients). When your body is getting everything it requires from a meal you are less likely to crave something later on. So keep up the variety! For purples – try beetroot and purple cabbage, for orange – carrot and orange kumara or amazing, and greens – spinach, kale and green beans.
4. ADD PROTEIN – Skipping your protein portion in lunch will greatly increasing your chance of having a 4pm snack attack. Trust me, its worth the effort. If you are pushed on time, consider cooking up a roast chicken on Sunday, OR if your vegetarian, have some tinned chickpeas always on hand in the pantry.
To summarise, afternoon cravings do not need to control your life and they do NOT need to be an every day struggle. Get to the root cause of your cravings and you no longer need to rely on will power.
Try these few tip this week, and see how you feel :).