How To Combat Your Food Cravings
Making healthy changes to your diet is always an adjustment. Once you’ve decided to eat smarter, more balanced meals, you may find yourself craving some of your old favorites. Some people have an insatiable sweet tooth, while others develop a hankering for foods that are higher in fat. Whatever your vice, it can be difficult to resist the urge to indulge. There are, however, methods you can use to curb these cravings from choosing better snacks to potentially utilizing appetite suppressing medications.
One reason people crave certain foods has to do with blood sugar. When your blood sugar spikes and crashes quickly, your body can trigger food cravings for more energy. One way that you can minimize these spikes is to snack throughout the day. But don’t go reaching for the candy bowl. Snacks should be part of balanced diet over all.
HelpGuide.org recommends filling up on fruits and veggies throughout the day. “Fruits and vegetables are low in calories and nutrient dense, which means they are packed with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and fiber. Focus on eating the recommended daily minimum of five servings of fruit and vegetables and it will naturally fill you up and help you cut back on unhealthy foods.” If you have a sweet tooth, snacking on fruit can often curb cravings for other, less nutritious sweets.
Many parenting experts advise putting children on an eating schedule to help them maintain energy throughout the day. They advise sticking to the snacking schedule so kids can learn to identify when they are truly hungry and keep them from overeating at meal time. KidsHealth.org recommends, “Pay attention to portion sizes and timing of snacks so they don’t interfere with a child’s appetite for the next scheduled meal.” The same advice holds true for adults. When planning your day, be aware of when you usually get hungry throughout the day, and pack healthy snacks.
Don’t Waste Calories
Snacks should figure in to your all day calorie intake. Many people plan out meals, but forget to account for times in which they are grazing or grabbing handfuls of snacks throughout the day. By making snacks part of your overall meal plan, you will not only stay in line with your calorie goals, but you will also reduce your chances of overindulging at meal time.
A pamphlet from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics titled “Eat Right” offers the following advice when packing smart snacks: “Make snacks work for you by choosing nutrient-rich foods from the grains, fruit, vegetable, dairy and protein food groups. Snacks can boost your energy between meals and supply essential vitamins and minerals.” The group advises approaching a snack as you would a meal with a balance of foods. Snacks like yogurt and granola, veggies and cheese or dried fruits and nuts offer a balance of protein and carbohydrates without piling on the calories.
Consume More Fiber
One of the reasons nutrition experts advocate for diets rich in fiber is that it is an excellent filler, and it helps to keep your digestive system in check. People who don’t get enough fiber through food often turn to supplements, such as psyllium, which is a soluble fiber that is often used to treat a wide range of digestive issues. According to the Mayo Clinic, “Foods containing fiber can provide other health benefits as well, such as helping to maintain a healthy weight and lowering your risk of diabetes and heart disease.” Psyllium husks can be found in a variety of supplements, as well as some cereals.
The first few weeks of any dietary change can be rough, but if you stick with a regular snacking and meal schedule, you can minimize your blood sugar spikes and the cravings that accompany them. Once you’ve stuck with your routine for a few weeks, you may find yourself losing the cravings.