I’ve had loads of emails from my readers since starting Dietriffic back in 2007, and one of the things many people email me about is how to deal with food cravings.
This is certianly a challenging area, and not something than can be “cured” overnight.
However, I believe there are certain foods, which you can add to your diet, that will help you control your food cravings a little better.
One of the main reasons I find people experience uncontrollable food cravings, is because they are not eating enough at mealtimes.
You see, when you stave your body of the nutrients it needs to function optimally, it responds by making your desire to eat very powerful. This is a survival tactic, and completely normal.
If you experience food cravings on a regular basis, I suggest first of all asking yourself if your diet is missing essentials nutrients, and try to rectify that initially.
Obviously, the foods you crave can also be a lot to do with habit.
If you habitually eat certain foods, you are more likely to crave these foods.
I personally find it is better to leave certain foods on the supermarket shelf, rather than bringing them home, where I will inevitably find them difficult to resist.
There are, however, specific foods which will help you to control your food cravings.
5 Foods That Deal With Cravings
So, what are these super foods you should be eating on a regular basis?
Okay, not actually a food, but it’s too important to leave out of this list!
In actual fact, water can be a powerful appetite suppressant, if you drink a glass when you first start feeling hungry.
It does take a little discipline, but when you experience food cravings, try to get into the habit of drinking a large glass of water and waiting 10 minutes. Much of the time you will find your appetite is either completely gone, or dramatically reduced.
And, simply waiting for 10 minutes also allows you to make a more rational choice, if you do decide you still need a snack.
If water doesn’t do the trick for you, vegetable broth is a healthy alternative.
If you aren’t in the habit of making your own, go for an organic clear soup, which doesn’t contain any harmful MSG, or other similar ingredients.
Perhaps not a fruit you pay much attention to, particularly if you are dieting.
However, the healthy monounsaturated fats found in avocados, along with the fiber, make them a wonderful food to keep you feeling fuller for longer.
Avocado’s have so many additional health benefits, including anti-inflammatory properties, as well as promoting heart health, etc., that they should really be a regular part of our diets.
One serving of avocado is half a medium fruit. Try adding them to salads, sandwiches, smoothies, or just eat them on their own.
3. Nuts, Seeds and Nut Butters
I’m sure you all know by now that I’m a fan of nuts. I recommend them to everyone, and they are a big part of my upcoming weight loss program, which I hope to release very soon.
Not only are nuts extremely nutritious, but like the avocado, the healthy fats they contain help to stave off hunger.
Hunger is one of the main reasons for food cravings, as I mentioned above, so simply making nuts one of your snacks each day, can really help you get control of food cravings.
Any nuts or seeds will do, I personally love almonds and sesame seeds, but it’s up to you.
If you can get your hands on a natural nut butter that will be much healthier than regular nut butters, which tend to be full of sugar and trans fats.
Alternatively, you can make your own, which is something I’ve been meaning to do recently, so watch this space for a how-to post.
Another food, which I tend to go on and on about, are eggs :-)
They are quite simply an extremely important food, containing lots of essential nutrients. You just can’t go wrong with them.
One of the best things about them is that they are a very low cost way to get good quality protein into your diet, and this protein is very helpful in controlling food cravings, by delaying hunger.
I recommend choosing free range eggs when you possibly can, because the nutritional benefits are much greater.
5. Dark Chocolate
We all like to enjoy a sweet treat from time to time, and I figure it’s better to have a treat that is a little bit healthier, rather than telling yourself you can never eat a certain food again. This just begs for food cravings to arise stronger than ever.
One of the best options you can go for is dark chocolate, with a higher cocoa content.
Dark chocolate is a reasonably good source of antioxidants, and is even thought to be a natural fat burner, due to the action of theobromine.
However, before you race to the kitchen cupboards, some research does suggest that to get the weight loss effects of theobromine, you would need to eat dark chocolate in very large amounts, which obviously isn’t a good idea.
That said, dark chocolate can give you a little pep when your energy levels start to flag in the afternoons, and it’s a very good way to kill a sweet craving.
I recommend eating two squares of dark chocolate with a couple of apricot halves. They taste great together, you’ll get a sweet boost, and the fiber from the dried fruit will keep your blood sugars a little bit more steady.
Don’t forget, it is also okay to make a healthier version of the food you’re craving.
So, if you feel like a grilled cheese sandwich, make one with wholewheat bread, a smaller amount of grated cheddar, and extra salad on the side.
If you’re craving chocolate cake, try making your own version at home by substituting in some wholewheat flour in place of half the white flour. You may also be able to reduce some of the sugar, and substitute with mashed banana for extra sweetness.
If you feel like take away pizza, instead try making your own version. Use a wholewheat tortilla as your base, then top with tomato puree, lots of roasted vegetables, and a small amount of strong grated cheese.
These are small changes which can make a big difference.
What are your tips for preventing food cravings?