Get a grip on your food cravings

Published 1:21 pm Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Do you ever think, “I know that I am full, but I still want something to eat?”

That’s the moment food cravings kick into action. You begin searching for something sweet, or maybe for a salty snack.

Craving fatty foods can lead to greater health perils. Research suggests a preference for high–fat foods is developed when infants and young children learn to link fatty foods with the comforting luxury of overindulgence.

Think about the smooth, creamy texture of ice cream, the brownie that melts in your mouth or the juicy steak or hamburger.

Studies show on-again, off-again dieting may step up a fat craving. No matter what the reason for these cravings, you can overcome, or manage, your preference for fatty foods.

The first line of defense is to slowly adjust to lower-fat foods. Trick your taste buds with creamy low-fat and fat-free ingredients such as low-fat yogurt in dips; pureed fruit as a dessert sauce; and creamy buttermilk as a milk shake base. Instead of sautéing meat or vegetables in butter and oil, use chicken broth or wine. You can also substitute applesauce, pureed prunes or low-fat yogurt for up to half the butter or oil in baked good recipes. Look for low-fat dairy products that are “whipped,” “slow-churned” for a satisfying taste. With salads, add a few olives, avocado slices, nuts or low-fat cheese to get a fat-fix without too many extra calories.

Fat-free is preferred when purchasing certain foods, but fat-free is not the body’s preference. Remember a little fat in food adds more than flavor. It also helps satisfy hunger by making you feel full. This is because it takes fats a little longer to be processed in your stomach than carbohydrates and proteins. If you limit yourself to a very-low-fat meal, you may feel hungry again within an hour or two.

USDA guidelines recommended 25-30 percent of the diet should come from fats. Aside from taste appeal, fat helps the body use the fat soluble vitamins-A, E, D and K.