It can strike at any time; one minute we’re proudly sated by a bowl of wholesome roasted veggies, and the next minute we can’t imagine our lives without the cupcake we’ve spotted on Instagram. Yup, we’re talking about food cravings. Though they can’t always be predicted or prevented, a sudden craving doesn’t have to leave us feeling helpless. In fact, cravings often have a deeper meaning than what we may suspect. Jennie Miremadi is an integrative and functional nutritionist who knows a thing or two about helping clients stay on track with their wellness goals. Get her tips for reclaiming control over those cray cray cravings below…
Keeping yourself hydrated can help curb cravings. Drink water throughout the day. Before you reach for that slice of pizza, have a glass of water and then check in to see if you still want it.
DON'T SKIP MEALS
If you’re regularly skipping meals, not eating enough, and severely restricting your calorie intake, you’re setting yourself up to have serious cravings. In particular, people who skip breakfast and lunch often have unhealthy cravings in the afternoon and evening. Instead, eat regularly throughout the day (when you’re physically hungry) and fill yourself up with nutrient-dense food.
GO WHOLE + NATURAL
Eating foods that are processed and artificial will never fill you up, which can cause cravings. Even if you’ve eaten a full meal, your brain will still send out hunger signals because your body hasn’t received the essential nutrients it needs to function properly. Eating whole, unprocessed, natural foods helps satiate you and reduce cravings.
EAT FIBER, PROTEIN + GOOD FATS
Restricting fiber, protein and healthy fat can set you up to have cravings. Make sure to eat enough fiber and quality protein at each meal, and include healthy fats in your diet, such as avocados, olives, seeds, nuts, coconut oil, olive oil and wild Alaskan salmon.
Eating sweets, candies, cookies and other sugary treats can trigger more sugar cravings. Even seemingly “healthy” processed foods often contain hidden sources of sugar. Read labels and try to avoid sugar at the outset to help prevent subsequent cravings.
If you’re not physically hungry but are having food cravings, think about what else might be driving your cravings. Are you stressed, bored or lonely? Identifying and dealing with the real trigger for your food cravings can help reduce the food craving itself.
BE NICE TO YOU
Remember that the food you eat doesn’t define who you are as a person. You are so much more than that. If you get off track and find yourself reaching for that donut instead of the almonds, don’t beat yourself up. Next time, try to think about giving your body love by feeding it with healthy, whole foods that are going to truly nourish it.