Saturday, January 9, 2010

Survival Food for Evening Cravings

Evening is the "danger zone" in my books for myself and many of my clients. Why is it that in the evening hours we crave sugary, savory, high calorie, feel good, crunch munchy or sweet and smooth stuff?

There's a few possible answers.

1. Conditioning - We have trained ourselves put our feet up and enjoy satisfying food and drink as we wind down by ourselves or over conversation with our friends, family and loved ones. It's a habit that has been passed down over many cultures and generations. It's a part of our leisure time and our evening ritual.

2. Stress Buster - Foods that are high in calories, fats, sugars and/or alcohol put us into a semi-comatose state which prepares the body for rest. Many of us are in overdrive during the day which can keep our hormones in overdrive also. Certain types, quantities and combinations of food have a naturally tranquilizing effect on the body.

3. Undereating / Overeating - As busy people during the day who are also health / body conscious, many are undereating and under-nurishing themselves during daytime horus. Our bodies are highly adaptive and incredibly intelligent machines. If you are not getting enough energy (macronutrients) and nourishment (micronutrients) during the day you WILL have cravings in the evening as the body is taking over the controls. The body will always get what it wants (needs) in the end as it's built with survival as the primary priority. Some cravings feel so strong and hard to resist because your body is needing something in that food. This is often the case for women and chocolate particularly during menopause. So give the body what it needs in moderation - 2-3 squares of organic high quality dark chocolate every day as it's packed with nutrients menopausal women could benefit from such as magnesium and essential oils.

So now that you know why evenings are a dangerous time if you are attempting to get leaner or lose weight, what do you do about it?

* Feed and nourish the body during the day by eating frequent smaller feedings that are high in nutrients, protein and essential oils.

* Follow a targetted supplement strategy designed by a performance specialist or natural health professional who can identify some of your unique nutritional needs.

* Set yourself up for rest and relaxation in the evenings through means other than food or alcohol such as herbal teas such as chammomile, taking a hot epsom salt bath or exchanging massages by candlelight and ambiant music with your partner.

* Replace high calorie, high sugar favorite evening foods with more appropriate options that will help you reach your goals while satisfying your need for comfort foods such as Chocolate Coconut Protein Pudding.

Chocolate Coconut Protein Pudding

1/2 cup coconut milk (canned, frothy kind)
1/2 scoop chocolate whey protein powder
1/2 tsp cocoa powder
1-2 packets Splenda (optional)

Just put all in a small bowl and mix until smooth and savour each heavenly bite.

Now it's time for you to survive the Danger Zone!

Come up with half a dozen evening treats that comply with your nutrition rules or habits, your lifestyle, goals and likes/dislikes.

Feel free to share them here in COMMENTS.

1 comment:

idv8 said...

Hi Krista! Great thread. :-)

My nutrition program usually has a lot of egg whites so I've come up with a couple of techniques to make them yummy:

1) "Egg nog" egg whites! I add a few drops of vanilla extract, Splenda, fresh nutmeg, and lots of cinnamon to my liquid egg whites, then pour into a hot nonstick pan and cook into a soft omelet. Sprinkled with toasted walnuts it's delicious! Also nice with almond extract and almonds.

2) Same idea but chocolate: Instead of vanilla I add 1 tbsp of pure cocoa powder and some Splenda to the egg whites. Once cooked sprinkle with lots of cinnamon - delicious!

3) I've also tried making this as a warm pudding by adding a little rice milk and cooking it until it thickened. The texture was a little granular but overall it was pretty tasty and satisfying.

These are all so low in calories, too, since 1/4 cup egg whites has just 30 kcals and 7g of protein. So even 3/4 of a cup packs a great bang for the buck! :-)