Snack Attacks. How to handle cravings for sweets and savories.
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By Andrea Holwegner, For The Calgary Herald September 22, 2011

Janelle loved the crunch of potato chips. As a selfproclaimed chip-aholic, she told me that an open bag of potato chips in the cupboard always called her name until every last salty crumb was gone. As a highly successful woman, she wondered how a single food could have so much control over her.

Well, she’s not alone. Here are some tips that Janelle found helpful – and that might be helpful for you, too – in managing her potato chip cravings.

Buy small

Most of us don’t eat portions; we eat packages.

Janelle learned that choosing to make a trip to the local convenience store to buy a small, individual-sized bag of chips was far more successful than hoping she would stop a few handfuls into a giant-size bag of her favourite chips.

Even for myself, when I buy a chocolate bar, I eat the entire bar regardless of the size (100-calorie small bar, regular bar or family-size bar).

If you are like Janelle and me, choose to buy small.

Do the math

Janelle benefited from the shock value of seeing the amount of calories, fat and sodium in a bag of potato chips.

If you choose to do this, don’t forget to multiply your numbers by two or three if you eat double or triple the portion size listed on the label.

Since my husband Mike did an Internet search and calculated the amount of calories and fat in a typical pub night of beer and wings, he has reduced how much he consumes over conversation with friends.

Thinking about how much effort it takes to physically burn off these calories on his bike has also helped change his behaviour for good.

Try healthier treats

Here are some snacks that may help address a sweet or savoury craving while still managing to sneak in some healthy nutrients:

– Coffee shop latte, chai tea, London fog (earl grey tea with steamed milk) or mochaccino;

– Homemade frozen yogurt Popsicles (simply stir together yogurt, fruit and milk or juice and freeze in Popsicle holders);

– Raw veggie and pretzel sticks dipped in hummus;

– Frozen fruit sorbet or frozen yogurt topped with fresh berries;

– Trans fat-free tortilla chips with fresh salsa;

– Fruit crisp for dessert instead of pie made with pastry;

– Whole-grain crackers with cream cheese, cucumber rounds and red pepper slices;

– Homemade vanilla or chocolate pudding made with milk and topped with banana slices and coconut;

– Celery sticks with peanut butter or almond butter;

– Chocolate monkey smoothie: chocolate milk, banana and crushed ice whirled together in the blender;

– Homemade oatmeal raisin or oatmeal chocolate chip cookies and a mug of tea; and Hot cocoa made with milk, soy milk or homemade vanilla milk (milk or soy milk with vanilla and a pinch of brown sugar).

Satisfy your craving

While chocolate milk or a mug of hot chocolate might do the trick to soothe a chocolate craving for me, it certainly won’t work all the time. Healthy eating can and should include favourite soulful foods you choose simply for enjoyment rather than nutrition.

Sometimes, it’s better to have a bit of whatever you are craving than trying to find a substitute.

My client Janelle experienced what I’ve coined “chewing around a craving,” which means sampling many items from your kitchen to try to satisfy a junk-food craving. Janelle learned that she could go through a range of foods in her kitchen and take in a large number of calories but still feel unsatisfied.

A better approach is to take some time to really tune into what you are craving, and determine if a substitute will work. If it won’t, you are likely better off having some of what you are craving. When I say “some,” I mean the amount of a soulful food that brings you satisfaction. When Janelle ate to a point of satisfaction – away from television and other distractions – she realized that while a handful of chips certainly didn’t cut it, she didn’t need to finish the entire bag to feel content.

Andrea Holwegner is the chocoholic dietitian and the owner of Health Stand Nutrition Consulting Inc., offering nutrition counselling and speaking engagements. Visit www.healthstandnutrition.com  or phone 403-262-3466 to subscribe to her free monthly e-zine.
Read more: http://www.calgaryherald.com/health/Snack+attacks/5442729/story.html#ixzz1Zvn1W9K1

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Adele Fox, Psychologist
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Amy Floyd, Nutrition Counseling Client
“Thanks Andrea for an amazing presentation, I have heard all positive remarks from attendees and the evaluations show the same sentiment. It is really gratifying when a speaker does their “homework” and weaves in our profession’s day to day challenges within their content, you did an awesome job of this! You truly took the “die” out of Dietician! Your information on healthy eating and simplifying how we can work towards this as we are all so busy really hit the mark. Andrea connects very well with her audience; she is energetic, funny, and very approachable.”
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I am a family physician who sees patients with a myriad of eating concerns – from wanting to know how to plan healthy meals for active families, to weight loss, to eating disorders, and so on. I cannot recommend the Health Stand team highly enough. I have worked with (and been to!) other Dieticians in the past and too often find that they just ask for food logs and make suggestions that are easily obtained online or in books. The Dieticians at Health Stand offer much more than just telling clients what they “should be eating.” In contrast, the team really does more of a counselling practice, and they work hard to help their clients learn more about why their eating habits may be off track and not optimal for them, as well as helping people to effect change at a deep level that, most importantly, is sustainable for lifetime health.”
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Erin Kronstedt, Nutrition Counseling Client
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