Foods to help kick the habit

By: Primacy Dietitians, Jan 26, 2011

Don’t let the fear of gaining weight derail your plans to quit smoking this year

Whether you are thinking of quitting, ready to quit, or hesitant to try again because you’ve been down that road before, take a look at the nutrition tips below for some fresh new ideas to help you quit for good.

Food can help you give up the habit

New studies show that smoking addiction may not be all about the nicotine. Taste, smell and habitual routines can also play a role. There are certain foods that make smoking taste bad and may actually help you to quit smoking.

Milk and Milk Alternatives: Switch your coffee and pop for more milk and yogurt. Try it for breakfast in a smoothie instead of a morning cigarette. Dairy and cigarettes don’t tend to mix, so eating more dairy may help reduce cravings for smoking.

Vegetables and Fruit: These do not tend to mix well with cigarettes. Be prepared! Keep ready-to-eat veggies around to nibble on when trying to quit.

Tie up your laces and get moving

From short walks and light stretching to more intense exercise, physical activity may help reduce your cigarette cravings. A brisk walk of 15 minutes may help keep you from smoking for almost an hour. So, next time you are having a bad day, instead of reaching for a cigarette clear your head by going for a walk or another form of exercise that you enjoy. Speak to your physician about safe activity levels for you.

Avoiding weight gain

Many people gain a bit of weight when they first stop smoking. Because smoking affects appetite and metabolism, it is important to plan some eating strategies when preparing to quit. Most important of all, the health benefits of giving up smoking far exceeds the little bit of extra weight you may put on.

Snacks to curb cravings

  • Veggie sticks with hummus dip
  • Light popcorn
  • Fresh fruit
  • Yogurt mixed with fresh or frozen berries
  • Hot cocoa made with low-fat milk
  • Frozen grapes
  • Cottage cheese with fruit or veggies
  • High-fibre granola bar
  • Trail mix or dry cereal (limit to 1/2 cup)

Primacy Dietitians is a panel of dietitians who are all members of the Dietitians of Canada.