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Snack Attacks. How to handle cravings for sweets and savories. Print

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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"I am a psychologist in private practice and it is very important to me that my clients have the best care with other health care professionals. For that reason Health Stand Nutrition is my only source for exceptional Dietitians. Andrea and her team provide highly knowledgeable, compassionate, and real world support to my clients who require assistance with food lifestyle. I trust my clients to them and you would be in excellent hands making them part of your health care team."
Adele Fox, Psychologist
“This is the first time I feel satisfied; my cravings have diminished dramatically and I have a whole new relationship with food. I am eating guilt-free for the first time in my life. My energy has also dramatically increased and I feel great!
Rhonda Jenkins, Nutrition Counseling Client
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Marty Avery, Nutrition Counseling Client
“I have come to think of the program as a one stop shopping excursion for everything one needs to know about creating a joyous relationship with food and our bodies. In a single word, the course has gifted me with freedom from the punishing rigidity of disordered eating, old stories that never were true, and body dysmorphia that did nothing but make me lose sight of a body that has done everything I've asked, despite my careless dismissal of her needs. Now when I look in the mirror I find myself shifting from harsh criticism to gentle gratitude.”
Lynn Haley, Pursuit of Healthiness Online Course Participant
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Peter Whitehead, Nutrition Counseling Client
“I didn’t realize how strong my “diet mentality” was, and all the rules I had in my head about food. I was in a cycle of reward/punish/binge/cringe. I booked with your business very reluctantly, on the repeated advice of my doctor, to get my slowly rising cholesterol levels in check. I thought I knew everything about food, and my behaviour with food, but I was definitely re-schooled. My weight is creeping down, I feel good about my diet, exercise, body image, and lifestyle.”
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.”
Carole Ann LaGrange, Transfusion Medicine Safety Officer

Event Planner for Laboratory Diagnostic Imaging Annual Event

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.”
Dr. Deb Putnam, Family Physician

Nutrition Counseling Client & Referring Physician

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Gillian Gray, Pursuit of Healthiness Online Course Participant
“As a construction company, we select speakers who can relate to our industry and its employees. Andrea’s message was delivered with humor and empathy. She makes people feel as though they can make changes without leaving behind every favorite food. Andrea focused her presentation on healthy eating as a way to keep energy high throughout the day. This message and the way it was delivered resonated with our predominantly male, blue collar culture. I would highly recommend Andrea as a speaker for groups such as ours. She will get your message across without alienating anyone in your audience – which is a huge hurdle when trying to introduce a wellness program in the workplace!”
Stephanie Wood, HR and Safety Manager

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I found my Dietitian warm, funny, and skilled at teaching nutrition concepts without the overwhelm. The general approach of each session was to mix science with emotion, which was exceedingly effective in helping me shift my perspective on food from one of anxiety to one of joy and curiosity.”
Erin Kronstedt, Nutrition Counseling Client
“Excellent presentation! What a refreshing change to have a speaker inspire rather than “lecture” about nutrition. Your captivating stories, tips and overall approach to healthy eating uplifts and puts people at ease. It was great to hear we don’t need to strive to be perfect eaters, and that small changes really can make a difference in how we feel and in our health. Thanks to Andrea, we have solutions to our everyday nutrition challenges that can actually work in real life!”
Tina Tamagi, Human Resources

ARC Resources Ltd.

“Had I not joined this course I would have struggled with no focus, low energy, and mindless eating. Excellent teaching and motivation. This is not just a course, it is a nutrition club with mentorship, support, and connections with other people with similar situations.”
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