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Sometimes, you are just doing your work with a whole lot of concentration and suddenly as soon as the clock strikes 3 p.m. you get the munchies. The sudden, strong desires for food are called cravings and they strike you when you least expect it!
The reason for this might be a neurotransmitter named as serotonin, which regulates your emotions, mood, sleep and, obviously, your appetite. Serotonin becomes slightly inactive by midday, which makes you crave salty and sweet snacks.
Here are some ways to curb your cravings:
- Don't skip breakfast, or lunch. Choose foods that take a long time to digest, so you can stay full for a longer duration. Whole grain bread and vegetables are good options.
- Don't go grocery shopping during this hour because you will end up buying junk food.
- Don't watch television as junk food advertisements will lead to cravings, as the images shown to promote these products, induces the desire, which eventually will lead to obesity.
- If you can feel your cravings still, choose to do something else, such as go for a walk or get yourself really busy with something till the urge subsides.
But if all else fails, then you have no option, but to give in and it is okay to give in sometimes. However, you should do it right and not reach for the nearest package of processed food! Instead, substitute the candy bar, or potato chips with the following options:
- Vegetable soup
- One slice of wholegrain bread with unsweetened jam/peanut butter
- Dried or fresh fruits
- Sweetened/unsweetened high fibre cereal with low fat milk
- Low-fat granola bars
- Smoothies made from fresh fruit and skim milk
- Low-fat yoghurt with fresh fruits
- Unsalted, unbuttered popcorn
- Hot chocolate with skimmed milk made from low-fat cocoa powder
Basically, your body craves for carbs during the afternoon. And the trick is to choose complex carbs (carbohydrates that digest slowly) over simple carbs (carbohydrates that are easier to digest). From the list above, you can see that mostly complex carbs have been mentioned. In fact, eating complex carbs will trigger your serotonin levels which will provide you energy, return your focus and make you happier! So it is okay to snack, just don't open that packet of chips and remember to eat the right things. If you wish to discuss about any specific problem, you can consult a doctor and ask a free question.