We all experience food cravings from time to time. It’s how we deal with these cravings that will make a difference in the long run. Finding out what causes food cravings can also help us choose healthier options over foods that might derail our progress.
How to Stop Food Cravings
The first thing you can do when you get a craving is just wait, most of the time the craving will go away. Go for a walk, get your mind on something else. Keep your hands busy, try knitting or writing a letter to someone, or try chewing a piece of gum. Keep your mind and hands busy and don’t let yourself get bored. Sometimes when we are bored we mistake the boredom for hunger.
It’s also important to make sure you are eating regularly and that you are eating well portioned, balanced meals. If you are constantly hungry or if you are missing something in your diet, you are more likely to start craving foods.
Tips to Deal With Food Cravings
- If you are craving something salty try shelled sunflower seeds or pistachios. Nuts and seeds are high in nutrients and will satisfy the salt craving without the guilt. Salty foods lead to bloat! Keep tabs on how much processed foods you are eating. Processed food contains a lot of sodium. The more salt we eat, the more we tend to crave.
- For satisfying your chocolate craving try dark chocolate, just don’t go overboard! You could also try a glass of chocolate almond milk, or fat-free jello pudding snacks. You can also try my Chocolate Protein Bites to satisfy your craving while getting some protein AND fibre!
- Fast Food cravings are always my downfall. I am in the beginning stages of breaking my fast food addiction. For me, convenience is what lures me to the drive thru. Lately my mom and I have been taking one day every two weeks to do a huge cooking day where we make our own pizzas, casseroles, lasagnas, meatballs, and meatloafs and freezing them. Now it is easy to throw something in the oven on a busy day, and then we add a side salad with it. We also control what goes into the food so we can use whole wheat noodles, home made tomato sauces, and chicken instead of ground beef.
- Make sure you are also drinking enough water. When you feel yourself starting to get hungry and craving something, drink a large glass of water. You may just be thirsty and need to hydrate yourself. Let the water sit for a bit before deciding whether you are actually hungry or not.
What Causes Food Cravings?
If you are completely cutting something out of your diet (sugar, salt, caffeine, etc.) you should expect some withdrawal symptoms. After a few days of no caffeine, or no salt, I have experienced headaches for a couple days. Your body will start to crave what it wants or needs.
Practice mindful eating when you do indulge. Put away the phone, and turn off your TV. Don’t let anything distract you from the food you are eating. Savor and enjoy each bite. This helps to make sure you are satisfied, even if it is a small portion of a treat. When we allow ourselves to fully enjoy something and give it our full attention, our bodies will be satisfied much sooner than if we sat on the couch and mindlessly watched Netflix while digging into a bag of chips.
What foods do you crave?
If you are always craving certain foods, it could mean that you are missing something in your diet. Your body needs carbs, sugar, fat, calories… Things that fad or crash diets commonly refer to as ‘bad’.
If you are prone to following fad or crash diets, diets that make you restrict or completely cut out certain foods and food groups, you may experience more cravings. Restricting foods can actually make cravings worse. Especially if you end up cutting out some of your favorite foods, or you are eating a bland diet. Learning to cook and how to season foods to make them tasty is super important to healthy balanced lifestyle.
Listening to Your Cravings
If your body is craving a piece of chocolate, its okay to have a piece to satisfy that craving. If we try to avoid it and eat fruit instead for example, we may end up eating fruit, not feeling satisfied, so we eat another piece of fruit and another, and when we still aren’t satisfied, binge on chocolate. Instead of just letting yourself enjoy a small treat, we end up going overboard.
Constantly denying your food cravings can actually backfire and end up with you bingeing and eating everything you’ve been craving.
Indulging in a Healthy Way
It’s actually not the end of the world when we indulge in a craving. We just have to make sure we are being smart about it.
Having a small piece of chocolate to satisfy your cravings is completely different than eating a full snickers bar.
We also need to make sure we are being mindful of what we put into our bodies. Eating well balanced and healthy meals and snacks regularly will help our bodies stay full. And if we are eating healthy foods 90% of the time, we really don’t need to worry if the other 10% is spent on a little treat.
It’s important that we learn that foods are not inherently bad for us. There are no good foods and bad foods, there are just foods. It’s how often we choose fruits, veggies, and lean protein over fast food that really matters. When we tell ourselves that no food is off limits, it’s easier to set boundaries and limit the treats, because they are never going to ‘go away’, they are just not an every day or every meal food.