Food cravings are a normal part of life and everyone experiences them at some point or the other. Truthfully, those cravings are messages sent to our mind that we need something. And more often than not, those cravings are for unhealthy foods. Right?
Here are some of the commonest reasons for food cravings:
You Are Dehydrated
If some food craving hits you, drink a glass of water first. When the body has insufficient amounts of water, it may lead to hunger pangs – this does not necessarily mean we are hungry.
You Suffer From Nutritional Deficiencies
Our body needs a variety of macro and micro nutrients every day. If those nutrients are not provided in the right amounts, food cravings can occur.
You Have Underlying Emotional Issues
When nourishment and fulfilment in the area of love, inspiration, friendship, career and/or is lacking, then emotional eating happens. Giving in to cravings and indulging in comfort foods serves as a substitute for entertainment or fulfilment. It fills that emotional void, but only temporarily.
You Have A Yin Yang Imbalance
Our food needs to be balanced to satiate our hunger pangs. Too much sugar needs salt to balance out the sweetness and similarly, raw foods need to be accompanied by some well-cooked foods to help us feel fuller. This is the balance of yin and yang and in its absence, food cravings can often occur.
Tips To Avoid Cravings For Unhealthy Foods And Sugar
Cravings are intense or uncontrollable desires for specific foods that are often junk in nature and high in sugar. These foods can prevent you from losing weight and are obviously hazardous for your health too. Here are a few tips that can help you keep these cravings at bay:
• Drink Water: Drink a glass of water whenever a food craving hits you, and also before meals to help with weight loss.
• Eat More Protein: Increasing protein intake reduces cravings and helps you feel full and satisfied for a longer period of time.
• Distance Yourself From Cravings: A change in thought and environment or chewing a gum can help reduce appetite and cravings pretty quickly.
• Plan Your Meals: Uncertainty about the next meal leads to spontaneous thoughts about something junk; but if your meal is already planned, then there is no scope for cravings or indulging in them.
• Avoid Getting Extremely Hungry: Eat at regular intervals and keep healthy snacks nearby. This will keep food cravings at bay.
• Fight Stress: Stress induces food cravings, which could ultimately lead to weight gain. Stress can be minimised by planning ahead, meditating and generally slowing down.
• Practice Mindful Eating: Mindful eating is a type of meditation that helps you recognise the difference between cravings and actual hunger. It hence prevents you from eating thoughtlessly and impulsively.
• Get Enough Sleep: Sleep deprivation results in disruption of normal fluctuations of appetite hormones which in turn lead to food cravings and poor appetite control.
• Eat Proper Well-Balanced Meals: Eating timely, nutritious meals can help prevent erratic hunger pangs. Keep healthy snacks like fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds for eating in between meals.
• Don’t Go Hungry To The Market: Eating before you go to the supermarket prevents unwanted cravings and impulsive shopping of unhealthy foods, just because they are easily available.
It is alright to entertain your food cravings once in a while because they satisfy your happy memory of that particular food. However, controlling them or replacing them with something healthier is a choice you should make more often. This will help you lead a healthy life and also keep your weight in check.
About The Author:-
Avni, Founder of Nutri Activania (www.nutriactivania.com) is a qualified nutritionist and a wellness coach. She believes in a holistic approach to optimal living and considers other wellness factors such as sleep, exercise, environmental exposures, and stress levels to create an individualized nutrition plan. She does not believe in gimmicks or starvation plans. Which is why she insists on being called a ‘wellness coach’ and not just a ‘dietitian’).