10 Ways To Beat Food Cravings

Cravings for certain foods can derail even the most observant healthy eater. And there’s not a one-size-fits-all answer for every situation. 

Sometimes giving in to the craving is the best option. But there are other options, too, to keep you in control of those cravings. Try one or more of the ideas below, and you’ll have better control over your diet and over those cravings:

Allow it. People who go on strict diets often lose control when their diet is no longer so limited. Better to have a little treat every day so you don’t feel deprived.

Avoid it. Keep items you crave out of sight, or better yet, out of your house. You can’t eat it if you don’t have it.

Be mindful. Sometimes cravings are not about food, or even about how that food tastes. Experts recommend keeping a cravings journal and write a few notes about your situation and emotions whenever a craving strikes. Over time, a pattern may emerge and you can deal with the situation in a more positive manner.

Browse healthy. Studies are showing that photos of high-calorie food (think TV ads or Pinterest) can spark cravings. If you’re browsing the Internet, focus on social media that features healthy foods to keep your cravings in check.

Distract yourself. Don’t rely on willpower. When it doesn’t work, you’ll feel like a failure. Instead try distraction – play a game, go for a walk, call a friend. A few minutes may derail the craving.

Don’t skimp. On breakfast, that is. Studies show breakfast eaters – especially those who eat protein at breakfast – are less likely to report cravings hours later. If you don’t like eggs, try cottage cheese or peanut butter to get protein in the morning.

Eat half. When you’re craving something specific (like cake) and only that will do, watch your portion size. Take half of what you’d consider a portion, put the rest away, and then eat your smaller serving slowly, enjoying every bite. Then wait 15 minutes and chances are you’ve beat the craving with fewer calories.

Go guilt-free. If you eat the item you’re craving, let yourself enjoy it, delight in it even. Feeling guilty won’t make it taste any better and may spark a binge.

Pair it. When you’re craving something unhealthy, pair it with something healthy. Try an apple with brie cheese, grilled salmon with those French fries, strawberries dipped in chocolate.

Substitute. Think about a healthier substitute that might hit the same “notes” as the food you’re craving. Instead of candy, try fruit. Instead of potato chips, try a handful of salted pistachios. Even if you don’t save a lot of calories, you’ll have better nutrition from that snack.

How GMC Can Help


Gwinnett Medical Center’s registered dietitians will tailor a nutrition plan, Diet by Design, to meet your specific needs. They will help you learn to make better choices so you can make a positive difference in your health. Learn more and download our Healthy Family Dinners cookbook at gwinnettmedicalcenter.org/DNEC

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