Everyone gets food cravings, whether you are watching your weight or otherwise. These cravings are often for carbohydrates, as they are often the quickest way to get the densest number of calories into your body. When you aren’t eating low-carb, they are your body’s preferred fuel source, so you’re practically hardwired to crave carbohydrates.
The problem is, that when you switch to a lowcarb lifestyle, your body doesn’t quite catch on to that, and you will likely continue to crave carbs. Likely, you’ll have moments where you’ll crave them more than you ever did before. The heart grows fonder for what it can’t, or at least shouldn’t, have!
So what can you do? It may be the middle of the afternoon and you’re craving a big bowl of carbs topped with a few more carbs, but don’t throw in the towel. To kick the carb habit, you’ve got to kick the cravings.
These are a few of the ways my family and I dealt with our own carb cravings:
CLEAN OUT THE CUPBOARDS
Low-carb works best when the whole household is on board (though Rachel and I did successfully start low-carb a few months before our own kids). If no one in your household is eating carbs, then there is no reason to have any stocked in your pantry, fridge, or freezer. Be sure to clean everything out, donating or giving away any high-carb food when possible, so that there simply aren’t any carbs in the house to tempt you.
COOK WHEN YOU CRAVE
Physical activity is one of the best ways to preoccupy your mind. It is only natural then, that when you are craving high-carb foods, the mere act of cooking a low-carb alternative can help distract you from those cravings. We also tend to enjoy food more when we’ve worked to make it. So, while you may not be cooking that big bowl of carbs you were craving, the fact that you made something from scratch will give you much of that same satisfaction you were looking for.
STOCK SATISFYING SNACKS
For those times when you simply do not have the time to cook, you’ll want to make sure that you have some kind of snack that you can simply grab and go. A high protein snack filled with heart-healthy fats will satisfy your hunger and should hold you over until your next meal. Many of the snack recipes in this book can be prepared in advance and stored for several days for just these occasions. Some good store-bought options include:
- Nuts and seeds
- String cheese
- Salami or pepperoni
- Hardboiled eggs
But the best low-carb snack of all is usually… Leftovers! We always cook extra and stock the fridge with leftovers for the days ahead.
DON’T SHOP HUNGRY
I always advocate shopping the outer aisles of your grocery store, as that is where the fresh foods are kept. You’ll want to venture into the inner aisles with packaged food products as little as possible, but you’ll inevitably have to venture in there for some things. In those instances, be sure you never shop on an empty stomach! Food companies have marketing departments for a reason, and packaging is designed to tempt you. Fill your stomach before you fill your cart and you’ll be less tempted to slip back into old shopping habits.
EAT MORE FULFILLING MEALS
If you are craving carbs at a certain point in the day, try eating a higher amount of protein in your meals earlier in the day. This may help you feel full and satisfied longer.
LOOK FOR TRIGGER FOODS
Evaluate whether any food you are eating is a “trigger” food that is causing you to crave more carbohydrates. For my family, we can eat fresh berries on low-carb without any problem, but other people may get more cravings after eating them, as they do contain natural carbohydrates. Be especially cautious of any store-bought products that are labeled as low-carb, foods like “low-carb” pastas, breads, snacks, and candies. If it tastes too good to be true, it likely is, and may disrupt any weight loss and leave you craving more and more carbohydrates. This is why we never recommend low-carb products. We tried several products when we first started out and they always stalled our weight loss.
THINK OF THE FINISH LINE
I often write my cookbooks with the assumption that the reader is living a long-term low-carb lifestyle. Rachel and I have been living lowcarb for over fifteen years now and still eat low-carb full time. That being said, there are many people who have success on low-carb, and then go on to reintroduce carbs back into their diet. Christian lost 160 pounds between the ages of 15 and 18, but then slowly started eating more carbs when he met his wife Elise, who did not have a weight problem. He has still managed to keep his weight off by eating a carb-conscious lifestyle for the past decade. If you get a craving, it doesn’t mean you can never eat that food again, but you’ll be happier to eat it once you’ve reached your goal.
And on your way to that goal, you can enjoy some of my favorite low-carb cravings buster recipes included below!
Keep On Low-Carbin’!
Boneless Buffalo Wing Bites
Recipe by George Stella / StellaStyle.com
Prep Time: 10 min | Cook Time: 5 min | Servings: 8; 3 pieces each
Calories: 355 | Fat: 24g | Protein: 30g | Fiber: 0g | Net Carbs: 0g
These bite sized indulgences are perfect for those that are really watching their carbs as they are fried (or baked!) in a coating of crushed pork rinds that really mimics the crispy skin of regular chicken wings. Of course, if pork rinds aren’t your thing, you can lower the fat in this recipe significantly by simply tossing chunks of grilled chicken in the sauce.
- 4-6 cups trans-fat free frying oil
- 1 large bag (4 ounces) regular pork rinds
- 1⁄2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- 1⁄4 teaspoon black pepper
- 1⁄8 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 1⁄2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut in 1 inch cubes
- 2 large eggs, beaten in a bowl
- 1⁄4 cup Louisiana hot sauce
- 1⁄4 cup butter, melted
- Place a pot over medium-high heat and fill with at least 2 inches of vegetable oil. Heat oil 3-4 minutes, until about 350 degrees. (or preheat an electric deep fryer)
- Add the pork rinds, Italian seasoning, pepper, and garlic powder to a large food storage bag and use a heavy can or similar to crush the rinds until smooth.
- Dip chicken cubes into the beaten eggs and then place into the bag of seasoned pork rinds, shaking to coat.
- Fry the coated chicken pieces in small batches of 5 or 6 for about 3 minutes each batch, or until a deep golden brown. Let rest on paper towels to drain excess oil.
- In a medium bowl, combine hot sauce and melted butter to make the sauce. Toss fried and drained chicken in the sauce before serving hot. Serve garnished with celery sticks and blue cheese dressing, if desired.
You can lower the fat by baking them instead of frying. Simply place the coated chicken pieces on a greased sheet pan and bake at 400 degrees for about 15 minutes, or until cutting into one reveals no pink.
These are also good without a sauce at all, but if hot wing sauce isn’t your thing, try topping with marinara sauce and mozzarella cheese and then broiling for just 1 minute to melt the cheese and you will have Chicken Parmesan Bites!
No-Corn Corn Dog Bites
Nobody Has to Know That They’re Actually Low-Carb
Recipe by George Stella / StellaStyle.com
Prep Time: 20 min | Cook Time: 20 min | Makes: 24 | Serves: 8
Calories: 245 | Fat: 11.5g | Protein: 12.5g |• Total Carbs: 5.5g – Fiber: 1.5g = Net Carbs: 4g
I feel I need to warn you now; you may want to commit this recipe to memory. Because as soon as you break these little corn-free puppies out at a party, everyone is going to ask you how to make them. You could save yourself the trouble of repeating it by printing a few copies of the directions for your friends. Or…you can tell them about this great book you got it from.
- Nonstick cooking spray
- 1 cup almond flour
- 1/4 cup sugar substitute
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 3 large eggs, beaten
- 1/3 cup heavy cream
- 1 teaspoon butter extract
- 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
- 8 hotdogs, sliced into 3 pieces each (see tip)
- Preheat oven to 375°F. Generously spray a 24-count mini-muffin pan with nonstick cooking spray.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine the almond flour, sugar substitute, and baking powder.
- Add the eggs, heavy cream, butter extract, and vanilla extract, and whisk until completely blended into a batter. Fold the Cheddar cheese into the batter.
- Using a tablespoon or 1-ounce ice cream scoop, place a heaping spoonful of batter into each of the prepared muffin cups. Stick a piece of hotdog into the center of the batter in each muffin cup.
- Bake for 17–20 minutes, until the tops are golden brown. Remove from the pan while they are still hot. If they do not easily release from the pan, they need to bake for a few more minutes. Serve hot with plenty of mustard for dipping.
We buy all-beef hot dogs with “no nitrates.” Regular corn dogs are made with standard hot dogs (a mixture of chicken, pork, and beef), which you can also find without nitrates. There are conflicting studies on nitrates, but our thoughts are that there’s no reason to eat them when alternatives are available!