This post is part of my ongoing Reader Questions Series.
I can seem to manage my plant-based lifestyle, but I’m craving sweets and salty snacks. I eat fruit daily. Plus I cook with very little to no salt at all. I LOVE my starchy foods, brown rice, quinoa, and seeded bread but is there something I can eat to minimize the cravings for snacking? Thanks for the suggestions in advance.
PLANT-BASED COOKING ANSWERS:
Hey Cheryl, thanks for your question. Funny enough, I also have cravings for sweets at times. It’s part of our genes to want food no matter what, especially when it’s around and especially at night. “The Pleasure Trap: Mastering the Hidden Force that Undermines Health & Happiness,” by Douglas Lisle, deals with just this issue.
Are You Eating Enough?
It sounds like you’re eating the right things, but perhaps not quite enough. And, I do believe healthy snacking is ok with the right foods, because whole grains, vegetables, and fruits can fill up your stomach but not always be enough calories.
That would probably depend on how your weight is doing. If it’s doing well or you’re losing, you could try adding in an extra snack (or two) during the day. Or, if you don’t want to snack, be sure you’re getting enough food at each meal.
Add a Little more of These
I know that eating more protein and fat may help. Most plant-based experts feel that we get enough of these without trying, but perhaps you’d do better with a little more of each… avocado and/or nuts and seeds for fat. Are you eating some of these? I like to put flaxseed and hemp seeds on my oatmeal.
Then, include plant sources of protein…legumes, tofu, tempeh, or seitan in most meals, if you can.
Do You Exercise?
Are you exercising? That will make you hungrier, as well, and, as already mentioned, maybe you need more calories. Also, lack of sleep can make us hungrier so getting enough and regular sleep is good.
Since we have these cravings for sweets (and salt), it’s best to keep food out of the house that’s tempting. And, sometimes, it’s just a habit… having that sweet snack with tea in the afternoon, for example. Finding alternatives to eating at these times can help like taking a short walk instead of eating.
Cravings usually go away pretty quickly so if you can pull on your willpower at these times, you should be able to get past it.
You might enjoy reading my article, “Just Say No, How to Quickly and Easily Stop Eating Junk Food,” which has several tips and strategies for coping with tempting food. Or, this article, which goes into the reasons you’re feeling this way, “Why You Can’t Resist Food Temptations and What To Do About It.”
There’s more that might occur to me so I’ll let you know. I hope this helps.
DO YOU HAVE QUESTIONS ABOUT LIVING A PLANT-BASED LIFESTYLE?
This post is part of an ongoing series of questions about eating a plant-based diet from my readers. If you have a question that you’d like me to answer, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I read every question and answer them personally so if you feel stuck, are struggling with something, or feel overwhelmed, I’d love to help you!
If you have a question about a medical condition, I want to emphasize that I am not a medical doctor and I would suggest, if you’re not getting the help you seek from your current doctor, that you look into this site, Plant-Based Doctors, to see if you can find someone who would more likely help your deeper issues from a plant-based diet perspective.
I have a certificate in Plant-Based Nutrition from eCornell and am a certified Food Over Medicine instructor. I read a lot about what a plant-based diet and lifestyle can do for your health so I will answer your questions to the best of my knowledge.