Are you held hostage by your food cravings? For people who struggle with eating a healthy diet or losing weight, fighting food cravings can be a real battle.
Kick your cravings for good with these tips.
Know your triggers. Pinpointing the cause of your food cravings make help you kick them, but it can be difficult to know just what’s behind your cravings. Some of the possible causes of food cravings include: blood sugar imbalance, emotional factors/mood, stress, hormones and/or hypoglycemia.
Eat a high-protein breakfast. Eating protein-rich foods first thing in the morning can help reduce cravings throughout the day. Protein helps keep you feeling full, so starting your day with a protein shake or a cup of low-fat Greek yogurt can help you beat the cravings and eat less throughout the day.
Avoid sugary drinks. Sweet, sugary drinks contain high amounts of sugar and artificial sweeteners that spike your blood sugar. Drinking sodas and other sugary beverages can leave you craving high-calorie foods all day. When you’re thirsty, stick with water.
Balance your blood sugar by eating small, frequent snacks. Keep a piece of fruit or a baggie of nuts or seeds close by. Snacking on small amounts of healthy foods every three to four hours will keep your blood sugar balanced between meals and prevent a sudden blood sugar crash that often results in cravings for high-calorie, unhealthy foods.
Eat more of the foods you crave less often. The more you eat the foods you crave, the stronger and more consistent those cravings will become. Eating healthier foods instead can help break the craving.
Use portion control. Avoid keeping tempting foods in your home. You’re less likely to eat junk food (or eat less of it) if it’s not easily accessible. The more you can resist the unhealthy foods you crave, the weaker the link between environmental triggers and that particular food craving becomes.
Distract yourself. When the craving hits, get up and move. Change activities. Go for a walk. Call a friend. Find an activity that can occupy your mind until the craving passes.
Have a plan. Know what to do when you start craving unhealthy foods. Keep a pack of gum handy and chew a piece of gum when you crave sugar, rather than eating something sweet. If distraction works for you, know exactly what you can do to replace cravings when they strike.
Keep a food journal. Every time you have a craving, write down the foods you’re craving, what and how much you ate, the time of day and emotions you’re feeling at the time. Keeping a journal can help you identify patterns that may trigger your cravings.
Exercise. Exercise is a natural stress reducer and also boosts production of endorphins (“feel good” hormones) to help boost your mood. If negative mood or stress is triggering your food cravings, exercise can help.
Go “all in” when you eat. Cut the distractions when you eat so you can savor every bite. Whether it’s watching TV or playing on your phone while you eat, mindless eating often leads to overeating and, as a result, weight gain.
Eating healthy is often about mind over matter. Arm yourself with these tricks to help you reduce cravings and stick to a balanced, nutritious diet.
Could you use a little more help controlling your nutrition? Contact us at 574-364-2679 to learn more about nutrition therapy services at Goshen Hospital.