Monica Reinagel, MS, LDN

Craving Carbs? Here’s Why (And What to Do About It)


If you find yourself craving carbs at this time of year, it may be because your serotonin levels are low. Levels of this “feel-good” neurotransmitter often dip during the winter, leaving you with the blues—and the munchies. Chowing down on sweets and starchy foods like bread, cereal, pasta, and sweets may temporarily elevate serotonin levels—and your mood.  But “self-medicating” with food can also lead to winter weight gain.


Fortunately, there are other ways to stimulate serotonin. A brief session of moderately intense exercise can boost serotonin production, raise your spirits, and help you feel more energized. And instead of eating unwanted calories, you’ll have burned some instead! So, the next time you want to dive into a bowl of noodles, head out for a brisk walk or fire up the Wii Fit instead. Chances are, the craving will pass. (Serotonin is a natural appetite suppressant, as well.)


When you do reach for carbohydrate foods, be sure to choose whole grain options, which are more nutritious. And eat them in moderation.


If you’re in the mood for something sweet, reach for some fresh fruit.  In season (and supernutritious) right now:  grapefruit, clementines, oranges, pomegranates, and kiwi! For ideas on how to cook with the fruit, see these low-carb fruit recipes.


Read Amy Palanjian‘s post “Find Your Way to Fruit Salad”for some delicious low-carb, low cal ways to make fruit hit the sweet spot.


You’ll lesson your love affair with carbs with the help of these Low-Carb Recipes.




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