Arguably the biggest struggle that often comes up in nutrition, the problem with any diet, is feeling deprived of foods you love. This, in turn, leads to cravings. And cravings lead to binging. And binging leads to feelings of guilt, and then often, giving up on the diet altogether.
This diet-deprivation-cravings-binge-guilt-quit-restart cycle has me (and many others) wondering: isn’t there an easier way to manage this? If we could only solve the original problem (feeling deprived), by finding ways to satisfy ourselves on a daily basis, we could stick to eating the same way, all the time – moderation, year-round! Obviously, I am simplifying things a bit, but the solution is simpler than we think.
When it comes to satisfying cravings with a small indulgence, I call it “taking the edge off.” Because if we’re doing it right, it won’t require taking a whole sleeve of Oreos or pan of brownies – just a small taste to satisfy the fix. It’s a practice that requires effort and certainly isn’t easy at first, but it’ll help you eat mindfully and make the small indulgences much more enjoyable.
These are a few of my favorite foods to take the edge off:
- Protein Bars – Quest (chocolate chip cookie dough, cookies and cream, double chocolate chunk, cinnamon roll – heated up is best!), Oatmega Vanilla Almond (tastes like a rice crispy treat), and Luna Protein chocolate chip cookie dough.
- Protein Powders / Pancake Mix – Vanilla cupcake protein powder and P28 white chocolate protein pancake mix are my favs. With a variety of flavors, you can easily find one to satisfy a cupcake, cinnamon roll, or Reese’s fix.
- Nut butters (D’s Naturals and Muscle Butter are two of my favorite brands). From flavors like Tiramisu, Carrot Cake, and Whipped Vanilla Frosting, these are THE BEST for times when I’ve got a creamy craving – add a dollop on oatmeal, protein pancakes, rice cakes, or just a tiny spoonful (careful with the portion size :)).
- Dark chocolate squares / dark chocolate covered cranberries – I grab a square (or two) or a few chocolate covered cranberries for when those chocolate cravings strike.
- Tim Tams or Ginger Snaps – these are two of my favorite cookies. I’ll often grab a Ginger Snap or two with my tea or stick the Tim Tam’s in the freezer and have one for dessert. Having just one cookie is a tough practice, but one I’ve worked on over time. It’s a great way to practice eating mindfully and cherishing every bite.
- TruWhip – AKA: natural, super low calorie, low ingredient Cool Whip. I keep some of this in my freezer for the times when I need a spoonful of something that takes like ice cream (or a whipped cream topping).
- A small cup of frozen yogurt topped with berries and a few chocolate chips or cookie dough bites (I often save this for eating out at frozen yogurt shops, but allow myself to frequent them often, which always satisfies the fix without overdoing it).
Of course, these are just a few of my favorites. What’s your favorite treat to take the edge off? I’d love for you to share it below!