Tips To Curb Food Cravings

Posted Tue, 05/18/2010 - 9:18pm by Debbie Dragon

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One of the most difficult parts of starting a healthy eating plan (and being able to stick to it) is fighting through the food cravings. No matter what your food craving is, whether it be for sweets or salty treats, if you give in it can sabotage your healthy eating goals. Here are some tips to help you stay on track.

1. Choose healthy foods

Eating wholesome foods for your meals and snacks can be one of the best defenses in preventing cravings. Fresh fruits and vegetables, lean meats and whole grains top the list. Leave out of your grocery cart items that are processed, contain trans-fat or contain lots of salt and lots of sugar. Even artificial sweeteners should be avoided. These foods can trigger uncontrollable cravings and stimulate your appetite. You should also stay away from strong coffee and alcohol. They tend to elevate your blood sugar level, which in turn increases your food cravings.

2. Eat small meals every few hours throughout the day

Falling blood sugar levels can leave you feeling the urge to grab anything in site to give your energy level a boost. This can be avoided by eating small healthy meals every 3-4 hours throughout the day. Eating more often keeps your blood sugar levels constant, keeping your body from crashing and needing that sugar fix.

3. Keep healthy snacks ready to go

Cut up fresh fruit and vegetables are a great snack. A small handful of nuts or a protein shake are also great options. If you have a true hunger craving and you have healthy snacks on hand, it will keep you away from the not-so-healthy food.

4. Stay hydrated

If you are dehydrated, your body will let you think you are hungry and the cravings will begin. Drinking plenty of water will not only keep you well hydrated, but also help keep your belly full.

5. Avoid temptation

If you know you have eaten plenty and are hydrated and a craving comes on, ignore it. Cravings, if they are psychological, will diminish in about 15-20 minutes. If you are truly hungry, they will stick around. If after a time you are still craving food, eat one of your prepared healthy snacks to tide you over to your next meal.

6. Distract yourself

One of the easiest ways to get your mind off of food is to simply find something else to do. Changing your mindset can be a very powerful psychological tool.

7. Exercise

Many people overlook the fact that exercising not only makes you feel good, but can also put a quick end to psychological food cravings. If you find yourself lagging energy to get through the workout, then you know that your craving is real and you need to stop for one of your healthy snacks.

8. Every once in a while, just give in

This may not be what you expected to read, but it is important advice. While food cravings do tend to diminish over time, we are only human. Every once in a while it is OK to have that slice of pizza or piece of chocolate cake. You will, however, need to set limits. Instead of eating the entire container of ice cream, have a small bowl. Or instead of eating an entire pizza, stop at one slice. You should also set limits to how often you give in. Once every couple of weeks is usually best, and never give in to temptation multiple days in a row. This will only make it harder to get those cravings back under control.

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