Honoring your cravings in Quarantine
It was day 6, and for a brief moment I was pretending to do laundry while I hid from my kids and ate a piece of chocolate from my private stash. Self-isolation brings us to some flattering places.
I scrolled through the promotions that were showing up in my email en masse, and it was at that moment that I came across a Costco ad for clearance Snuggies and bulk snacks. For a glorious moment I imagined what my self-isolation could be like, wearing a mobile comforter and diving into a pallet of Kettle Chips.
I shook myself out of it, but with the new recognition that I needed to create a plan for myself to avoid falling into the snack hole.
You see, knowledge and “willpower” are not the foundations of healthy choices- Informed habits and routines are.
When our routines and habits are gone, our stress is high and we’ve had too much time at home with our thoughts, comfort food seems like a great way to go. And when you approach it mindfully, it is!
Comfort food exists for a reason. In times of loneliness, sadness, or stress we often crave those foods that remind us of connectedness. Foods that remind us of our childhoods, or of special occasions when we felt community and happiness. Those are all things we are right to be craving right now, when we’re feeling isolated and distanced.
Trick your taste buds with easy substitutions
People are programmed to crave food that is salty, sweet, and high in fat. When these flavors are balanced into our lives in a proportionate way, they do important things for our biology. But what do those craving do for us when we’re isolated at home, opening and closing our pantry and refrigerator doors all day?
By learning some easy substitutions we can get the food we’re craving without the pro-inflammatory baggage of traditional snack foods.
The gift of time
Right now we have the potential to rebuild our eating habits in a way that could benefit our snacking habits going forward, especially if we’re trying to boost our health and immunity to avoid getting sick. We have new time to try out some recipes, re-imagine our old ones or even learn to cook for the first time.
Below I’ve compiled a few of my favorite healthy(er) comfort foods.
Some are a little more labor intensive, but luckily I’ve got a lot of time on my hands.
I should also note, you can modify any of your favorite foods to be healthier by increasing fiber content, lowering saturated fat, and other health hacks. There is a great resource by the Mayo Clinic that you can access here
If you love to have something salty and crunchy when you’re on your third episode of Mindhunters or whatever, this one is for you. It’s done in 20 minutes, and you can double the recipe to get a good stockpile. Chick peas are inexpensive and the crunch is so satisfying. Plus, as a high protein food they will fill you up faster and leave you more satisfied than popcorn will
This one is a little more labor intensive, but right now I’ve got nothing but time (and a 7 pound bag of carrots, now that my CSA is offering a bulk wholesale drive-thru) I’m telling you, it’s worth it. It hits the sweet tooth and delivers nutrients you need
Mom’s Super-Cheesy Noodle with Extra Cream casserole
You know the casserole. Every family has one. Technically there are veggies, but they’re cleverly hidden under buttered bread crumbs, four types of cheese, and extra sour cream. You can use These Tips to convert any casserole to something healthier.
Chicken Cacciatore is a favorite from my childhood. To make it even better for you, serve over brown rice rather than pasta
And another something sweet- Chia seed pudding
I love this chia seed pudding for when I’m craving plain old pudding (childhood memories), or a mid-day sweet snack. I’ll sometimes top this with mini dark chocolate chips and raspberries. Chia seeds are high in Omega-3 fatty acids, and can help decrease inflammation in your body
I may or may not have been a little fanatical about keeping my kids away from refined sugar in their formative years. During that time, I found this recipe for “ice cream” that I (and they) really loved. I still use it now that the little guys are getting bigger and real ice cream is in the regular dessert rotation.
It’s not difficult to make if you have a food processor, and I’ve found it to be a great substitute for the real thing when you’re trying to lower the amount of sugar in your life.
I hope you found these recipes helpful! I’d love to hear how you make out and see pictures of your recipes! If you’re interested in joining a Healthy Habits in Self-Isolation group or are interested in working with me one-on-one, please email me at WholeWellnessLainey@gmail.com