10 WAYS TO STOP FOOD CRAVINGS
When eating healthy, the golden rule of “everything in moderation” is a pretty good rule. But sometimes you find yourself overcome with evil food cravings that seem to have a mind of their own… Try these tips to help overcome your urges.
1. Stay hydrated! Often our bodies mistake thirst for hunger, so try drinking a large glass of water and see if the cravings go away. Ideally you should drink enough fluids so you go to the bathroom every two to four hours. If water isn’t cutting it, eat a healthy snack:
A handful of nuts, some veggies, or a piece of fruit is often enough to curb your cravings.
2. Play the waiting game… Have you ever noticed that cravings don’t last all that long. If you can outlast your cravings, you may actually find you don’t need anything after all. Chewing gum is a distraction technique that can help trick the body into feeling satiated.
3. Get up and move. Boredom is a breeding ground for cravings and poor food choices. So if you are lounging around and feel your cravings strike, get up and go for a walk around the block or do a quick body weight exercise circuit. This will help distract you so you forget about that craving. If your craving is still there… well at least you exercised!
4. Manage your nutrition throughout the day. By eating 5 – 6 small well balanced meals a day. We are less likely to come home starving after work, which can lead to poor food choices. Also, make sure that you include foods with fiber in your meals to help give a feeling of fullness and cut down your cravings.
5. Fight stress. Like boredom, many people crave unhealthy foods when they are stressed out or emotional. Eating is a crutch that helps us cope with these feelings. Managing stress through meditation or other stress reducing techniques can help you avoid food cravings. When stress seems unavoidable, try eating foods that contain high amounts of Vitamin B and C, Magnesium, and Zinc (like almonds, blueberries, cantaloupe, or sushi).
6. Shop smart. Have you ever noticed that sometimes you want to eat everything at the grocery store? Chances are that you’re shopping on an empty stomach. Hunger makes everything look appealing, especially things that might not be so good for you. So the next time you go grocery shopping make sure you eat something healthy before you go to help you avoid picking up that box of donuts. Another shopping trick is to shop the outside of the store. Colorful food packaging is made to elicit food cravings, and packaged food in the middle aisles is also more likely to be highly processed to make it shelf stable. Limiting processed and ultra processed foods is always a healthy idea.
7. Cleanse your kitchen. Over time, poor food choices start to take over your pantry and kitchen cupboards, making it all too easy to grab something unhealthy when cravings hit. By tossing the junk food it is more difficult for you to make a poor choice.
A Clean kitchen = A Clean lifestyle. Deep cleaning your entire kitchen and pantry will help inspire you to eat better.
8. Get out of your recipe rut. You crave what you eat on a regular basis. Many of us have our go to recipes that we make often; by switching your unhealthy recipes for healthier ones, you will be able to weaken old cravings and reinforce new ones. Your cook books (you know you have them) are a great way to find new recipes or try the internet for millions more recipes. Try choosing different cuisines than what you’re used to, many traditional cuisines rely heavily on spices and herbs rather than fats and sugars, making them healthier and tastier meal options.
9. Indulge once in a while. Allowing a treat on occasion, can be a really helpful strategy for most people. The thing to remember is portion control, so if you feel the need for chocolate, have a few small squares of a high cocoa version (aim for 70%) and take the time to savor the flavor. Same goes for ice cream… eat just a small bowl. Rich flavorful treats will satiate you more so than the cheaper sugary, salty, or fatty versions. They may be more expensive, but they contain ingredients that are probably better for you.
10. Get some sleep. Your appetite is affected by hormones that fluctuate throughout the day. Sleep deprivation disrupts these hormone fluctuations and can lead to increased appetite and stronger food cravings. 6 – 8 hours of quality sleep each night can greatly reduce your cravings. Of course a nap is great way to stop thinking about food as well!
Food cravings are incredibly common, over 50% of people experience them on a regular basis. By being more aware of your cravings and their triggers make them easier to avoid and also makes it easier to eat healthy.
Paul Bradshaw – Kinesiologist at Sparkling Hill Resort
About Paul Bradshaw:
Paul Bradshaw is a Kinesiologist at Sparkling Hill Resort. He graduated from the University of British Columbia Vancouver in 2010 with a Bachelor of Human Kinetics. He is the lead Whole Body Cryotherapy practitioner and also specializes in injury rehabilitation and prevention, and healthy weight loss. Paul is also a certified Kinesio Tape practitioner.