“Food is not rational. Food is culture, habit, craving, and identity.” – Jonathan Safran Foer
Good health results from a careful balance of three elements: mental, physical, and emotional health. Balancing these components is not an easy task! However, there are small things we can do everyday to help improve our overall health and manage what we put in our bodies on a daily basis.
Advertisements with burgers and french fries, grocery store aisles overstocked with candy, and food delivery services make it difficult to stay the course and lead a healthy lifestyle. To combat these cravings, we have compiled a list of tips to help you stay on top of and satisfy those pesky hankerings!
1. Preventative Measures
The best way to attack a craving is to fight it before it hits! There are many tactics that have been proven to reduce sugar and salt cravings and keep your body ahead of the game.
- Drink water: Often times, hunger cravings are confused with thirst. Stay hydrated throughout the day to ensure that your food cravings are, in fact, real. Check out our recent blog post to uncover tips and tricks on how to stay hydrated throughout the day!
- Plan your meals: Planning your meals will reduce uncertainty when it comes time to eat. The probability that you will make a food run to your favorite fast food joint or reach into the junk food cabinet reduces drastically when you have your meal planned. Furthermore, part of meal planning is grocery shopping with intent. If you plan ahead, you will be able to buy ingredients that will help you create healthy and satisfying meals.
- Keep healthy snacks nearby: Instead of waiting until you are hungry to visit the vending machine at work, try keeping a stash of healthy snacks at your desk. Lightly salted almonds, popcorn, carrots and hummus, and apples with peanut butter are all healthy snack items that will keep you full and satisfied during the day. Science proves that eating on a more regular basis will help you resist food cravings!
2. Discovering the “why”
Understanding why you are craving a certain food is essential to eliminating the craving. It will take more than self-control and discipline to combat cravings; therefore, it is essential to get to the root of the problem.
- What are you feeling?: Ask yourself if you are sad, bored, mad, or overwhelmed. These are all triggers that can cause unusual food cravings. Furthermore, adding unnecessary sugar, salt, and caffeine to your diet can actually worsen feelings of depression and stress. To combat these feelings, you may find meditation, exercise, or professional help useful. Discovering why you want to reach for the chocolate bar, may help you to stop.
- Are you just hungry?: Sometimes we crave simply because we are hungry. If you are trying a new diet that restricts an entire food group (carbs, sugar, etc.) your body may be trying to tell you something. Oftentimes, cutting out a certain food group can lead to obsessive cravings. Try reducing your intake of the food group instead of cutting it completely out.
- Is your routine getting in the way?: You have finished your work day, had dinner, and now you are sitting down to watch your favorite sitcom. At this time, every night, you reach for the tub of ice cream. Tonight, you try not to reach for the ice cream, but your brain is screaming for it. You have successfully associated sitting down to watch T.V. with eating ice cream. What do you do now? There are actually a few ways to help fend the craving off!
- Have a spoonful: If you can restrict yourself to having only a spoonful of your favorite treat, this may be a great option for you! You will satisfy your craving without over doing it.
- Distract yourself: Grab your yoga mat and try a few stretches while watching your show. Distracting your brain will help to resist your craving!
Food cravings attack at the most unexpected times! Therefore, the best thing we can do to combat them, is to be prepared. Not only can we learn to prevent food cravings, but we can learn why we are craving certain foods. Understanding your cravings and participating in food education is the best way stay healthy and make good choices for yourself and your body.
We believe in you!