If you’re taking the journey toward quitting smoking, you’re in for a long road, but no an impossible one. Thousands of people quit smoking every year, and their bodies, minds, and overall health are better for it. Smoking is a dangerous habit, causing addiction to nicotine, exposing your body to harmful chemicals, and even bringing about certain social roadblocks.
Quitting smoking is one of the best decisions you can make, but you might need some help along the way. This guide will cover five foods that you can eat while you’re quitting that won’t cause you to gain weight. Empty carbs, high-sugar foods, and high-fat foods aren’t good choices, as they can pack on the pounds and make the quitting process more difficult. Here are our five choices.
1. Spinach and Bananas
Both fresh spinach and bananas are packed with nutrients and vitamins, making them the perfect snack, smoothie ingredients, or meal additive. The best part? Research shows that smokers who consume more fruits and vegetables are up to three times more likely to ditch the habit than those who don’t.
Fruits and vegetables are packed with nutrients that many smokers lack. In fact, smoking a cigarette affects the body’s ability to absorb certain nutrients, making your diet even less effective than it should be. The solution? Pack in those fruits and veggies whenever you can! Morning smoothies make for a great morning cigarette substitute, and will help you feel energized and focused throughout your morning routine.
Spinach is an excellent source of vitamin A, E, K, B6, B2, and even calcium, making it one of the most nutrient-rich veggies you can get your hands on. It’s tasty, too! Spinach can be cooked into casseroles, eaten fresh with fish or steak, or included in a salad. Banana and spinach smoothies offer a powerhouse of nutrition for your morning routine or dessert.
2. Whole Grains
One of the symptoms of nicotine withdrawal is constipation (or the opposite, diarrhea). Digestive issues occur when the body is suddenly deprived of nicotine, but whole grains that are rich in dietary fiber can help keep things moving. Even if you’re using alternative tobacco products like tobacco free chew, you’ll still need some whole grains to keep your body operating at full capacity while you quit.
Whole grains offer much more than just dietary fiber, however. Packed with vitamins A, B, antioxidants, protein, and trace minerals, high-quality whole grains are a necessary component to overall health. As long as you regulate how much grain you’re eating, you won’t gain weight from it.
Mint comes in many forms; from candy to gum to peppermint sticks and everything in between. You can even eat mint straight off the plant in the form of mint leaves. These are potent and sugar-free, making them a great cigarette alternative and something that can help you curb your cravings.
If you’re worried about extra calories, you can always opt for sugar-free mints or gum. There are literally thousands of options available, from those tasty little red and white mints to spearmint/peppermint gum and everything in between. You can also try some mint tea as well! Include just a bit of honey and you’ve got yourself a tasty, health-conscious drink to help curb those nicotine cravings without packing on the extra weight.
Research is developing on the use of ginseng on the form of tea and other consumables to curb nicotine cravings. Ginseng is already known to boost energy levels and focus, but did you know it can actually help minimize withdrawal symptoms and even help you kick your smoking habit for good?
Ginseng is also an excellent detoxifier for the liver and other organs. When you smoke cigarettes, you’re essentially pumping thousands of harmful chemicals and toxins into your bloodstream, which are filtered and processed eventually by your liver. Ginseng can help remove harmful toxins and curb your cravings so you can achieve a smoke-free lifestyle.
5. Cinnamon Sticks
Sucking on a cinnamon stick might seem a bit unorthodox, but many smokers have reported that replacing their smoking habit with this calorie-free option actually helps occupy their hands and mouths, and keeps those cravings at bay. Cinnamon tastes great and offers little to no nutritional (or non-nutritional) value in small amounts.
When you feel the need to have a cigarette, reach for a cinnamon stick instead. It will feel sort of like a cigarette in your mouth, offer a much better taste, and keep you from lighting up.
When you decide to quit smoking, you’re reaching for a better future. A future in which you don’t have to fear cancer, disease, and other health conditions. You won’t have to pay outrageous medical bills for special treatments, and you won’t put your loved ones or yourself through the pain of these maladies.