Let’s start by talking about what a craving is. By definition, a craving is “an intense, urgent, or abnormal desire.” It can originate from what we see, what we smell, and our memory of taste. Someone else may say something about food that causes a craving. They can also be caused by how our tummy’s feel, our current mood, our gut microbiota… as well as the need for energy. Once we become aware of our cravings and what is causing them, it becomes a lot easier to eat healthy and lose weight. So, how can we control cravings and eat healthy?
Eat a balanced meal or snack every 3 hours.
Balanced eating will stabilize blood sugar, and make sure that your body has enough energy. When we go long periods of time without eating and let ourselves get extremely hungry, we are setting ourselves up for cravings. The body needs energy to function, and if you are not feeding it, you will begin to experience cravings.
Combine protein, carbohydrates and fat.
Protein helps the repair and development of muscle, bone, skin, and blood cells. Protein is found in meat and some plant-based foods like legumes, seeds and grains. Carbohydrates supply the body with readily available fuel for energy. Carbs are found in grain foods like bread, rice, quinoa, pasta, crackers and barley, as well as fruits and vegetables. Fat is essential for insulation, conditioning muscles and organs. Certain fats are healthy for skin and hair. It is also helpful in the transport of fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K. Combining all 3 at meals will help to keep you full, and also make sure all of the functions in the body are working properly.
Have food prepped and ready to go to help with temptations.
Plan your meals out for the day or the week to ensure that you don’t go a long period of time without food. The less you have to think about what you are going to eat, the less likely you will be tempted with cravings. Prepare balanced meals and pack snacks to set yourself up for success.
Plan for some permissible and occasional maintenance meals or snacks.
No one is perfect all the time when it comes to nutrition and that is okay! Don’t let any foods be off limits or labeled as bad. The more we restrict ourselves, the more likely we are to crave the very foods we are trying to restrict. Practice moderation and don’t be too hard on yourself!
Mindful eating can help control your cravings and eat healthy. Mindfulness can aid in helping you determine if you are actually physically hungry, or if your craving is due another reason. Two specific techniques for mindfulness are the 4 D’s – designed to break the urge, and B*E*L*T* to become more present.
The 4 D’s:
Dine or do something else – either way, it is OK
Body – take stock of your body from head to toe – pay special attention to areas of stress and how your tummy feels
Emotion – acknowledge your current mood
Location – where are you when the craving hits?
Time – current time of day, weekday, special event, season?
If you find it challenging to control cravings, sign up for a complimentary health assessment today and let an expert help you!
Check out what WebMD has to say about how to curb your cravings!