How To Control Cravings
Cravings: Perhaps you need that 3pm sugar rush to get you through the remainder of the working day, or watching TV at 9pm calls for your favourite crisps. But whatever your weakness, almost all of us experience cravings on a regular basis.
Manufacturers create their products to contain the ‘perfect’ balance of sweet, salty and fatty to keep you wanting more. Our brains react similarly to these tastes as they do to drug addiction.
Sometimes having a little of what you fancy is good for you. Therefore, not restricting yourself of your favourite foods will make your healthy and balanced diet easier to maintain.
However, when do cravings become a too frequent habit? If you find yourself dipping into the biscuit jar or opening that bar of chocolate a little too often, you could perhaps use the following ideas to help control your cravings.
1. Try new foods
Widening your repertoire of foods will help to maintain your interest in healthy foods and curb your junk food cravings. Introduce a new food every couple of days as a minimum and you will soon find that you have opened multiple doors when it comes to main meals.
2. Eat fruit
Fruit is full of antioxidants, water, vitamins and fibre. It also contains sugar. This sugar content will help to satisfy your sweet tooth and dampen sugary cravings. Once you decrease your sugar intake, fruit will begin to taste a lot sweeter, so next time you want to reach for the chocolate, tuck into a bowl of fresh berries.
3. Fill up on protein
Protein will help to keep you feeling fuller for longer, making you less likely to snack on unhealthy foods. Good examples include, lean meat such a chicken or turkey, fish, beans, eggs and dairy.
4. Focus on eating healthily
Instead of persecuting yourself for giving in to cravings, make a conscious effort to eat and enjoy plenty of healthy food – this will help you to remain positive and less likely to fall down the craving rabbit hole.
5. Consume healthy fats
Your body needs fat to stay healthy – much to common myth! However, it is best to avoid trans fats and limit saturated fats. Heart healthy fats can be found in foods such as avocado, nuts guacamole, olive oil and oily fish such as salmon.
6. Plan ahead
Make your meals and snacks ahead of time as this will help to quash your susceptibility to being influence by food smells, advertisements and conversations surrounding you.
7. Stress management
Cravings can often be tied to stress and negative emotions. Instead of reaching for a quick sugar fix, try to instigate some stress busting methods instead. These can include:
- Walking or running
- Breathing exercises
- Being creative
8. Sleep more
Are you one of the majority of people who don’t get enough sleep? A recent study showed that a lack of sleep resulted in higher junk food cravings, more hunger and less will power.
9. Retrain your palate
Aim to eat whole foods. These include, fresh fruit and vegetables, whole grains and lean proteins. You will be surprised how quick your palate becomes used to this, helping to reduce cravings for artificial and processed items.
10. Don’t label foods ‘good’ and ‘bad’
The foods we crave can often be seen as ‘bad’, and something we should avoid at all costs. However, enjoying your favourite treats from time to time will help with sustaining a healthy and balanced diet in the long-term. Deeming foods as ‘bad’ creates an unhealthy relationship with food and will exacerbate negative emotions when these foods are eaten, potentially creating a vicious cycle. All food has a time and a place to be enjoyed.
The more sugar, fat and salt laden foods you eat, the more you crave. Break the cycle by following these steps and feel your cravings reduce by the day.