Beat Winter Food Cravings With These Healthy Food Options, Nutritionist Recommends

Fresh baked chocolate cake, chocolate chip cookies straight from the oven, hot pakodas, hot chocolate or a hot cup of tea/coffee. These nutrients are some of the things we often associate with winter and the cold rainy season. Many of us owe our excess consumption of these types of foods to cold and cravings. But Nina Maria Saldanha, Executive Dietitian, Cloudnine Group of Hospitals, Bengaluru (Shakarnagar) says this is often just an excuse and our way of acknowledging our poor/unhealthy food choices.Also Read – Weight Loss Tips: Eggs or Paneer? Which one helps in losing weight faster?

What are cravings?

Webster’s Dictionary defines cravings as “an intense, compelling, abnormal, or craving.” Cravings can be a number of things, but we often associate cravings with pregnancy, foods like sour foods, salty foods, sweet foods, etc. Also Read – Do You Really Lose Weight By Not Eating After 8pm? This is what we know

However, you may not only have cravings for foods. PICA is a condition in which you may feel cravings for non-food items, such as sand, paper, metal, etc. It is best to avoid eating these substances, as they can cause serious health problems. Also Read – Weight Loss Tips: 5 Things to Know Before Trying to Lose Belly Fat

Why do we feel the craving?

There are a few studies that suggest that food cravings are our bodies’ way of telling us that we may be deficient in a particular nutrient; But this would need a correlation from different tests.

How do we deal with cravings?

Many of us tend to confuse hunger (especially junk) with cravings, and we tend to use that excuse as to why we keep eating unhealthy foods. Cravings can happen to anyone and at any time, they don’t follow any rules. They are most common 4 times during a person’s life:

  1. Childhood/Childhood (especially early childhood)
  2. At the time of puberty (during the growth spurt period)
  3. During pregnancy and lactation (in women)
  4. the elderly

These periods are also most often the periods when we experience nutritional deficiencies due to unbalanced meals, food fads, lack of appetite, etc.

Pregnancy and cravings:

Pregnancy is one of the periods when we see food cravings most often. These cravings tend to intensify during the winter months of the year. One possible reason could be that it’s cold, we tend to not do much work, or overeat and then overeat, keeping the cause geared toward hunger.

During pregnancy, it is very important to focus on feeding pregnancy cravings in a healthy way. Including healthy salads, roasted nuts, etc. are great ways to beat your cravings.

Winter cravings and how to overcome them:

Nina Maria Saldanha, Executive Dietitian, Cloudnine Hospitals Group, Bengaluru (Shakarnagar) Suggests on a cold winter’s day a hot cup of coffee/hot chocolate, warm tomato soup, fresh green salad, small bowl of roasted nuts, fresh hot Roasted Namkeens/ baked goods, etc., are great ways to satisfy your hunger and cravings in a healthy way.

Here are some healthy options and their benefits:

Replace hot coffee/hot chocolate with turmeric + ginger/hot padam/fruit milk. Turmeric and ginger are really rich antioxidants, they help in boosting digestion, dried fruits/Badam milk are rich sources of iron and protein, etc.

Replace packaged / canned soup with homemade fresh and hot soups By making fresh and hot soups, you can choose the best quality of ingredients, making sure they do not contain preservatives.

Instead of having salads with rich dressings, go for a fresh green salad with a simple vinegar dressing Instead of eating salads with rich, creamy salads, eat fresh salads with simple dressings that help the fresh vegetables and produce shine through.

Don’t go for the spicy fried namkeen, instead opt for roasted and baked namkeen. Roasting and baking helps ensure that less oil and fat is used, making the namkeen healthier for consumption. In addition, hot and greasy flavors can often lead to gastritis and acidity, which can be very uncomfortable.

Avoid fried and overly salted cashews and go for boiled or roasted nuts, or a bowl of dried fruits and nuts that are salted and fried, which have a lot of added fat, more than required. Roasting and boiling nuts, or consuming them as such, are much healthier ways to consume.

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