Healthspan January 12, 2018

For those that aren’t familiar with the word ‘elevenses’ it’s a modern phenomenon listed in the dictionary that means ‘a short break for light refreshments, usually with tea or coffee, taken at about eleven o'clock in the morning’.

For many, sitting down for a coffee at 11am is not complete without an accompanying biscuit (or two) – and sometimes that’s all that’s going to satisfy your needs.

The problem is the link of necessity between finding joy in your 11 o’clock cup of coffee and eating food at the same time, despite whether you’re hungry or not.

We have some top tips for what to do when your mid-morning cravings set in:

1. Know what your body is telling you

It’s very easy to use the term ‘hungry’ to justify snacking at various times during the day despite its meaning - ‘feeling of discomfort caused by lack of food’. Can you honestly say every time you’ve picked up a chocolate bar you’ve been genuinely hungry?

There’s two hormones that control feelings of hunger – ghrelin and leptin – and the latter is responsible for making you feel full. Ghrelin prompts a rumbling stomach, a sign that your body requires more food, and it therefore helps to regulate your appetite.

Having cravings is defined as a completely different type of hunger that doesn’t feature these hormones – ‘hedonic hunger’. It’s hedonic hunger that can cause you to crave things like pastries, biscuits and cakes as previous consumption has essentially left you with fond memories. If you’ve ever sat cosied up with a cup of tea and a slice of your mum’s homemade cake, for example, seeing a piece of cake and eating that piece of cake (excuse the pun) isn’t solely about the taste but the associated emotions that come with it.

2. Choose wisely when it comes to snacking

When you’re craving a chocolate biscuit sometimes all that’s going to cut it is just that – a chocolate biscuit. And office snacks are often impossible to resist. But if that’s a daily habit you’re struggling against every day – perhaps now’s the time to break the cycle.

Choosing a healthier option can often leave you feeling fulfilled (and fuller for longer!) whilst gifting your body with important nutrients as opposed to too much sugar. Healthy filling snacks are the way to go.

3. Learn to enjoy a break without food

The number of reasons we choose to eat is vast and only one of them is because we’re actually hungry. Sometimes food is a treat and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that – but it’s important to know when to separate a craving from a hunger pang, especially if you associate fulfilling that craving with happiness.

When taking a break from work it’s easy to assume a snack will make it even better. Sometimes – it will. But if you’re finding that every break you have has to be accompanied with a snack, it’s time to make a change. Try to focus on your hot drink and do something in that break - other than eat – that makes you feel just as happy.

Nothing beats a healthy, balanced diet to provide all the nutrients we need. But when this isn't possible, supplements can help. This article isn't intended to replace medical advice. Please consult your healthcare professional before trying supplements or herbal medicines.



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