You know all about the familiar nagging of cravings, which can hinder an otherwise healthy lifestyle. These can hit you at any point during the day, distracting you from work and chores.
You can keep cravings at bay by planning your meals carefully and recognizing the sudden hankering for certain foods early on. If you’re in the mood for a particularly unhealthy food, such as a giant slice of pizza, you can assess exactly what it is that you want. Is it the cheese? Is it the crunchy crust? Once you pinpoint the exact flavor or texture you’re looking for, find a healthier alternative.
Satisfy the need
Can’t stop thinking about the stringy, melted cheese on a pizza slice? Remedy the problem with a similar but healthier item by putting some reduced fat mozzarella in a whole grain tortilla and heating it up on the stove. If there’s a toaster oven at work, you can satisfy this craving right in the office. Or if it’s the crispy, crunchy crust you’re after, drop by the local bakery for a fresh roll. This way, you won’t have to eat an entire slice of pizza just for the crust. Enjoy a version of the crust without the unnecessary calories.
Assess the reason
The danger of cravings is the sudden onset. It can happen for seemingly no reason at all. It doesn’t matter whether you’ve just had lunch or ate a hearty breakfast. Sometimes you just want a particular food out of the blue. Before you rush off to satisfy this need, though, take a moment to step back and figure out exactly why you suddenly need a chocolate chip cookie or a bag of potato chips. Chances are, there aren’t any reasons at all.
Common sense and conventional wisdom clearly state that people should eat when they’re hungry. But, oftentimes, cravings aren’t your body’s way of letting you know that you’re in need of fuel. This sudden hankering can happen for a variety of reasons, including emotional ones, according to The Active Network. Emotional eating doesn’t necessarily mean consuming a tub of ice cream in one sitting, as conveyed in television shows and movies. It can be incremental, but the unhealthy results will add up over time.
Fighting cravings can be as simple as choosing to ignore it. It’s harder than simply giving in, but it will pay off in the long run.
Revisit your day
If your body seems to be telling you that you’re hungry, think back to your last meal and really analyze the food. How big was the portion? Did it fill you up? Was it enough to last you until the next meal? If you packed your lunch bag well, you shouldn’t be hungry again until you get home. You may find that revisiting your last meal eliminates your cravings entirely.
Let your brain catch up
You’re likely aware that it takes some time for your brain to catch up with your stomach. Take a few minutes out of your weekend and eat as your normally do, but instead of moving onto the next activity, Self magazine suggested setting a timer to see when you really register that you’ve eaten and that you’re full. This way, you’ll know that any cravings you may have in the time it takes for your brain to catch up aren’t indicators of hunger at all. It’s just a momentary lapse.
Cravings don’t have to be mysterious occurrences if you recognize the causes and address them accordingly. Whether it’s snacking better or analyzing the true reason behind the hankering, you can respond to cravings in a healthy way.