All of us, at some point or the other, have reached out for comfort food. Junk food cravings and sugar cravings are an indication that our body is under stress. We try to release feel good endorphins through food, when in reality, sugary foods and beverages throw our hormones out of balance lower our immunity and cause a plethora of lifestyle diseases. So let us study some easy ways to curb those junk food and sugar cravings.
1. Do not starve yourself-eat when hungry
Food cravings meaning could be that your body needs protein, healthy fats and complex carbohydrates. Instead of starving yourself, eat healthy meals with vegetables, fruits, nuts and seeds. Eat smaller meals 4-6 times a day. Go for fish, chicken, brown rice, green salads etc.
2. Drink more water
Dehydration causes the body to snack on unhealthy items and sugary foods. When you crave junk food, drink a few glasses of water or a cup of herbal tea. This is an easy way to stop craving food when not hungry. Water will leave less room in the stomach for you to crave junk food. You can also try vegetable/fruit juices before meals or drink 2-3 cups of green tea before meals.
3. Eat more fiber
Fiber rich foods keep you full longer to reduce junk food cravings. Eat fruits and vegetables, spinach extract, green juices, etc.
4. Increase your protein intake
The very fact that your body craves sugar and junk food could be an indication of low protein intake. Eat protein rich foods like eggs, lean meat, tofu, etc. You can also consider protein supplements. A study has shown that increase in protein intake by 30% can curb the total average calorie intake by nearly 450 calories.
5. Stay away from refined stuff
Refined foods cause a spike in blood sugar followed by an immediate low. This causes even more food craving. It is best to eat food that is as close as possible to its natural state and that means fruits, veggies, nuts, seeds etc.
6. Keep a journal
A food diary or journal will keep you accountable. When do the food cravings occur? Is it when you are stressed, emotional or overwhelmed with work? How much time did you exercise today? Write it all down. This is a simple trick to stop cravings for junk food.
7. Make lifestyle changes
Certain simple lifestyle and routine changes are the easiest ways to stop craving food when not hungry. For example, do food shows make you hungry and lead you to reach out for that bag of chips? Stop watching such shows; or better yet, do not stock your pantry with snacks. These simple changes can easily make a big impact on your health and diet.
8. Pay extra attention to what you eat at dinner
Research has shown that Americans consume nearly 64% of their total calories at dinner time. So watch what you eat in the evening. It is best to eat 2 hours before bedtime and also focus on healthy meals like lean meat and fibrous vegetables for dinner. You can also have some soup (low sodium) and brown rice to keep you full longer. Post dinner; drink some herbal tea made with fennel or licorice. These herbs curb sugary cravings so you are not tempted to eat a big dessert. These simple tips can stop food cravings at night.
9. Fight cravings with herbs
Many herbs and herbal remedies can help you stop junk food cravings. Stevia, gymnema sylvestre, fennel, licorice, myrrh, cinnamon, etc regulate blood sugar, balance hormones and help you put a stop to binge eating by enhancing your mood. Take these herbal ‘stop food cravings supplements’ and teas after consulting a herbalist. Mulberry extracts tea can also help.
10. Take vitamins and minerals
Pills for stopping food cravings are readily available in the market. Most contain herbs, green coffee extracts, garcinia cambogia, vitamins and minerals which help overcome deficiencies. In addition, you can also take vitamin B complex (25-100 mg/day), chromium, zinc, Omega 3, Calcium and Magnesium, L-glutamine etc. These supplements are known to stop sugar cravings. Also follow the food cravings chart which show why cravings occur and which deficiencies are causing them.
11. Cheat from time to time
Allow yourself some cheat days in order to stop food cravings. When you diet strictly, your leptin levels crash which causes unhealthy cravings. So allow yourself some treats from time to time.
12. Get your family and friends on board
Sugar cravings and food addictions often occur when you are with friends who binge. So bring your close ones on board of your healthy eating plan. Try to limit your social gatherings and eating outside. Do call up a health conscious friend/family member when food cravings strike!
13. Try yoga and meditation
Mind-body techniques like pranayama, yoga and meditation help you stay in the present moment. They also help you honor and respect your body more. Over time, you learn to let go of all unhealthy habits.
Exercise increases serotonin levels, reduces stress and subsequent food cravings caused by higher cortisol levels. Do indulge in physical activity for at least 30-40 minutes per day.
Drink apple cider vinegar (unpasteurized, raw organic and unfiltered) to boost metabolism, balance ph levels, and keep the stomach full longer. Drink a tablespoon mixed with a glass of water before meals.
16. Distract yourself
When cravings strike, call a friend, go for a walk or take a warm bath. This is an easy way to stop food cravings when not hungry.
Try these 16 easy ways to stop food cravings today.