Foods to Eat While Quitting Smoking
Ditching the daily habit of smoking is, without a doubt, extremely challenging yet not impossible. With that, here's an evidence-based fact for you that might convince you to hold back on smoking. Recent studies show that cutting back on smoking has proven to enhance the sensation of smell and taste, which is typically reduced in a person who smokes. Therefore, you'll have the advantage of appreciating flavors and fragrances more if you quit smoking.
To make the process of quitting easy, it is imperative to make dietary and lifestyle modifications. Food cravings during the smoking cessation process are pretty common, but your goal is to avoid excessive weight gain and eat more healthy foods. So, let’s talk about the best foods to eat while quitting smoking and which foods to avoid.
The Best Diet for Quitting Smoking
The type of diet for quitting smoking mainly includes:
- Eating more fruits and vegetables.
- Increasing your intake of whole grains rather than refined foods.
- Fulfilling your protein sources in the form of lean meat.
- Adding dairy products to your routine.
- Choosing healthy fats, like nuts, seeds, and olive oil.
It's recommended to change dietary behaviors in your daily routine that trigger your desire to smoke. For instance, if your morning routine starts with a cup of tea, pancakes, and a cigarette, change it to a cup of green tea, toast, and eggs. This might reduce your urge to smoke.
Another important thing is never skipping your meals because it makes you feel hungry and may increase your urge to smoke a cigarette. Stick to the routine and add snacks to your meals.
Eat dark and bright vegetables, such as carrots, broccoli, beetroot, or celery, as they are enriched with anti-inflammatory substances and safeguard you from infections. Instead of eating fried foods, use vegetables as snacks. They are low in calories and keep you full for longer.
9 of the Best Foods to Eat While Quitting Smoking
Foods play an important role in helping you quit smoking. They also help revive your body tissues. Some of these foods are:
1. Fruits and Veggies
Your body needs to restore the nutrients it missed while smoking. The human body is unable to absorb nutrients like vitamin C and D while smoking. Therefore, recharge your body by incorporating fruits and vegetables into your diet. As mentioned earlier, quitting smoking enhances your sense of taste and smell, so you will be able to enjoy these foods with an adequate amount of satiety and satisfaction.
According to research, adding a glass of milk to your diet makes the taste of cigarettes bitter. If you feel a craving, go for a glass of milk, and you will not dare to smoke.
3. Sugar-Free Gums
Chewing gums last longer than a cigarette and can keep your mouth busy. This reduces your urge to smoke and does not affect your caloric intake.
4. Ginseng Tea
Ginseng tea can reduce the effect of the neurotransmitter dopamine, which is released while smoking tobacco, thus making it less delightful.
Popcorn is another way to keep your hands and mouth busy. Despite its fewer caloric properties, it is greatly enjoyed as a snack. If you feel a continuous urge to smoke or eat, having a bag of popcorns may help you suppress your hunger.
Add high-fiber foods to your diet to help you maintain your weight and keep you full for longer.
7. Frozen Grapes
Sugar cravings are common after you quit smoking. But instead of munching on unhealthy and sugary desserts, go for frozen grapes for a delicious solution.
Oats help reduce cravings that can contribute to stress and anxiety. They boost the immune system and control your blood sugar level.
Tomatoes contain a minor amount of nicotine, and eating them will supply nicotine to your body without smoking. This will help slow down your cravings.
3 Foods to Avoid While Quitting Smoking
There are some foods that should be avoided if you are trying to quit smoking. The list includes:
Caffeine may trigger intense cravings for smoking because most people pair coffee with smoking. So, cut down on coffee and opt for herbal teas instead.
Like coffee, people tend to smoke while drinking alcohol. Stop drinking alcohol for the first two months, as the tendency to relapse is at its highest during the first one and a half months.
3. Strict Diets
Don't go for a strict diet, as it may be overwhelming and demotivating. People tend to feel hungry in the first few months of quitting smoking. Following a strict diet plan may reverse your progress.
Monitoring Your Diet
During the smoking cessation process, your body goes through many changes, and one of them is an increase in appetite. People tend to gain weight because their metabolism slows down, and thus it is essential to keep an eye on what you eat to prevent excessive weight gain.
Studies show that most people go back to smoking as soon as they start gaining weight. However, taking the right approach and monitoring your dietary intake from the beginning keeps you motivated and mindful during the process.
Opt for a sugar-free and fat-free diet, as it minimizes your cravings without increasing your calories.
Knowing what to avoid while continuing your journey is highly important and rational. Plan and think of how you can deal with different situations; indulge in physical activities, as they will help you burn off those extra calories; surround yourself with people who do not smoke; swap your habits with new ones; fill your plate with more healthy food items and cherish your life with optimum health.
- BMC (Effect of cigarette smoke on gustatory sensitivity, evaluation of the deficit and of the recovery time-course after smoking cessation)
- Oxford Academic (The Effects of Foods, Beverages, and Other Factors on Cigarette Palatability)
- BMC (Weight gain and smoking: perceptions and experiences of obese quitline participants)
- Truth Initiative (4 foods and drinks that could help smokers quit)