7 Easy Ways to Help Stop Food Cravings
Food cravings can be the downfall to a healthy eating plan. Whether it’s salty, sweet, or crunchy, many of us struggle to control our desire for specific foods, especially while following a healthy diet plan. There is power in education, so this article will discuss the reasons why we have food cravings and present seven easy methods to help combat them.
Why do we have food cravings?
Food cravings can be a sign of nutritional imbalances. Whether you are following a healthy eating plan or not, it’s important to get the vitamins and minerals your body needs. More specifically, if you find yourself asking, “why do I crave chocolate?” for example, you could have a magnesium deficiency. If you’re wondering, “why do I crave sugar or carbohydrates?” low blood sugar could be to blame. Cravings for junk food could stem from emotional stress. And food cravings of all kinds could signal you aren’t drinking enough water, especially if you are following an otherwise healthy eating plan. 1
How to stop food cravings
The best way to control food cravings is to stop them before they start. Here are some of the most effective ways:
The next time you find yourself asking yourself, “why do I crave sweets?,” think about how much water you’ve had to drink that day. When you crave sugar or other foods, it may be hydration your body needs. So, the next time a hankering for a cookie or potato chip strikes, reach for a big glass of water instead. 2
To make sure you’re hydrated—and prevent more food cravings—the National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine recommend women drink 91 ounces (2.7 liters) of water per day. Men should drink 125 ounces (3.7 liters). 3
If you’re wondering how to stop eating junk food, look at your to-do list. Not much on it? That could be part of the reason your thoughts drift to a chocolate milkshake or plate of cheese fries. You’re much more likely to get food cravings when you’re bored. The next time you feel a food craving come on when you’ve got time on your hands, take a walk, call a friend, or head to Curves for a 30-minute workout. Don’t let a cream-filled donut fill your time. 4
Plan your meals.
An important part of a healthy meal plan—and a strategy to prevent food cravings—is mapping out your meals ahead of time. When you take the time to shop for and prepare healthful meals at home, you’re less likely to pull into a drive-through for a fat and salt-laden dinner or a sugary afternoon snack. When you take the time to write down healthful meal options and shop for fresh ingredients, you can rest assured you’re doing everything you can to support a healthy eating plan. 5
Eat more protein.
Not only are high-protein foods an important part of a healthy diet plan, they help keep you feeling fuller longer, so you’re less likely to give in to cravings for junk food. Foods high in protein include fish, lean meat, poultry, eggs, low-fat dairy products, nuts, beans, and seeds.6
Keep trigger foods out.
If you’re wondering how to stop sugar cravings, taking sugary foods out of your pantry, freezer, and fridge is a good first step. Same goes for salty snacks and other junk foods, if those are what you crave. After all, the easier you make it for yourself to satisfy a food craving, the easier it will be to give in to one.
Swap in healthy imposters.
In those moments where you cannot fight the urge for something sweet or salty, go for the next best thing. Substitute with a healthier food that can satisfy the craving without compromising your healthy diet plan.
If you’re craving something sweet, good swaps include dried fruit, fresh berries, watermelon, dark chocolate, trail mix, and sugar-free yogurt. For salty, crunchy cravings, stock your kitchen with plain popcorn, edamame, carrots with hummus, and kale chips. 7
Look for other ways to manage stress.
In many cases, when someone wonders, “why do I crave sugar?” or “why do I crave salt?” they are really asking, “what can I do to deal with stress?” Food cravings—and giving in to those cravings—are a common reaction to emotional stress, so an effective way to combat them can be to get to the source. If you’re feeling overwhelmed or stressed, try different methods of stress management. Take a brisk walk, do yoga, meditate, practice deep breathing, call a friend, or head to Curves for a 30-minute total body workout. As a bonus, you’ll be doing something healthy for your body as you help lower your stress. 8
Whether it’s because we are stressed or we need to bump up our nutrition with a healthy eating plan, most of us get food cravings from time to time. The best approach is to ward them off with these tips before they strike. And of course, an important part of keeping your body healthy and in balance is by regularly engaging in your full body workout at Curves! The Curves Nutrition Program will give you the jumpstart you need to begin your weight loss journey, as well as sustainable healthy eating strategies you can couple with your fitness relationship goals to maintain your results.