How To Stop Food Cravings

We all have food cravings from time to time.

Whether it’s the urge to eat something salty or sweet, giving in to every craving you have can certainly undo your healthy eating or weight loss efforts.

I’ve talked about food cravings in the past, but there are many things that can lead to cravings, such as boredom, emotions, people, even locations and events.

One strategy you can use, is to ask yourself exactly why you want to eat a particular food when you experience a craving.

Perhaps you are home alone, watching television? Maybe you’ve had a difficult day. Perhaps you walked past your favorite bakery on your way home.

Working out why your craving has occurred is absolutely key to stopping it in it’s tracks.

How To Stop Food Cravings

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Here are a few more ideas to help you put an end to your foods cravings.

1. Cravings Due To Habit

Cravings due to habit can be particularly strong. So, if you find you can’t walk past a bakery without indulging, you need to take an alternative route to your destination.

Removing the things which tempt you will be key to staying strong and overcoming your cravings.

Don’t underestimate the power of these habits. Where possible, do whatever you can to avoid the situations that lead you astray.

2. Cravings Due To Emotions

Perhaps you find your cravings become particularly strong when you are stressed at work, or life at home is difficult.

Some days you may even find that all you can think about is eating to cure the pain. This can certainly be very difficult to manage, because you can’t always control what goes on around you.

You can, however, deal with your problems head on, rather than bottling things up, or simply hoping they go away.

Many people find journalling to be helpful. Try sitting down to brainstorm ways you can improve what’s going on around you.

You can also try strategies that help you to relax, other than eating. Perhaps taking a long walk, calling a friend, doing some yoga, etc. would help you cope without the need for food.

3. Cravings Due To Hunger

Another very common reason for food cravings it not eating enough, or at least, not eating the correct foods.

I’ve dealt with this before, when I discussed five foods that can help deal with food cravings.

Food cravings can be a natural bodily response to making poor choices, which simply are not satisfying your body’s needs.

So, ask yourself if your diet is balanced? Do you have a source of lean protein, wholegrain carbohydrate, fruit or veg, at each main meal? Do your snacks also contain a little protein for satiety? Are you drinking enough water?

Also ask yourself if you could ease your craving by delving into a big bar of chocolate, or would you be happy eating an apple instead? If an apple wouldn’t suffice, you are just having a craving, so try to overcome it by starting a new task to keep your mind occupied until the craving passes.

If you are, however, truly hungry, to ahead and have a healthy snack. I suggest something like unsalted nuts.

This way you’ll have satisfied your hunger, but you will also feel confident knowing you didn’t derail your days eating plan by choosing an unhealthy option.

How do you deal with food cravings?

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About Melanie
Melanie is a Registered Dietitian who started Dietriffic in March 2007. Her aim is to make good health attainable and sustainable, without guilt and torture, making her approach popular with those who desire a level-headed approach to good health. Have you got your copy of her free book yet?


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{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Kati Mora, MS, RD, Kellogg's FiberPlus(R) Wellness Advocate March 14, 2012 at 5:08 pm

Having healthy options on hand is so important! And identifying true hunger versus a craving is not always easy to do. Great tips. :)

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Cathy in NZ March 15, 2012 at 4:55 am

I don’t know how I really deal with that…maybe somehow it’s connected (for me) when I don’t know what I want especially if I’m out and I have choices aplenty in front of me.

I can have such a lot of trouble when I’m out and have select something to eat – unless I know I will be eating with another person…

I often can’t make up my mind and just say “flat white or hot chocolate” because those things fill me up and really I don’t need anything more

Today for lunch, I went into the Uni – cafe thinking I would have a hot mini lunch (none on offer, strange situation) couldn’t make up my mind. Left to go somewhere and said internally “don’t be silly…” I ended up having a delicious smoked fish pie which had a different sort of “pastry”

So in a way that was craving that I wanted a pie but then couldn’t see my usual sort of craving pie; instead that smoked fish – somewhat more healthy (well slightly]

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Melanie March 28, 2012 at 1:06 pm

You reminded me of the delicious flat white coffee’s I used to get in Australia… the best!! There is one coffee shop there, that I know of anyhow, which do them, and they are nice there too. I’m not sure if it’s an Australian or New Zealand thing?

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Tom Parker March 20, 2012 at 1:22 pm

“Removing the things which tempt you will be key to staying strong and overcoming your cravings.”

This one’s the key for me Mel. If I don’t have any chocolate or sweets in the house and I get a craving it’s never strong enough to make me want to rush down to the shops and buy some so I just eat one of the healthy snacks that are already in my house.

If there’s chocolate or sweets in the house, readily available and I get the craving, the convenience factor means more often than not I give into the cravings.

Tom

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Melanie March 28, 2012 at 1:12 pm

I am just reading your comment, Tom, after having eaten some white chocolate… in my defense it was only a few squares!! :-) I totally agree with you, though, there’s absolutely no way I’d go to the shops just to buy something I’m craving.

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Cathy in NZ March 28, 2012 at 6:50 pm

Flat Whites are common here… apparently some barista in the early something or others – saw a similar product being made somewhere else, I think Europe and decided to introduce it here. So it has stayed.

It’s basically a shot of hot expresso from a machine and steamed milk on top. You can have any sort of milk but unless you say “skinny” you will end up with full cream!

I find that one taken at a cafe or wherever; is quite filling, probably the milk component and is like having a snack that is slightly healthy – the milk that is. But I also don’t take sugar with it…I think it is the sugar that causes more problems.

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Melanie April 2, 2012 at 9:54 pm

I also find coffee from a cafe to be very filling, Cathy.

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