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The Facts on Food Cravings: When to Resist and When to Give in

chocolate craving

Have a chocolate craving? Eat a piece of high-quality dark chocolate and savor it! Credit: Amy Loves Yah

How to Control Food Cravings

Are you prone to specific cravings on a consistent basis? Some people crave sweet, some crave salt and some just need a good crunch every once in a while. Next time your personal craving hits, use these strategies:

When a SALTY craving hits: Explore new herbs and spices. Sometimes we are actually craving more flavor instead of salt, so explore different flavors by using new herbs and spices in your cooking. Salt is not the only way to add flavor, and Americans are consuming too much as it is. Also, balance your electrolytes. Try eating a banana before you reach for salt. A little bit of sodium may just do the trick.

When a CARB craving hits: Learn to love whole grains. You must include carbs as a healthy part of your diet. Your brain runs 100 perfect on carbohydrates, so don’t cut them out, but don’t bury your head in a plate of white, enriched pasta. Your favorite carbohydrates can be found in whole-grain varieties, which won’t spike your blood sugar, setting you up for another craving later on. Whole grains also have a ton of fiber which will keep you fuller, longer.

When a CHOCOLATE craving hits: Practice moderation. Chocolate increases seratonin and endorphin production in the brain, which is why it is such a common craving during stressful times. Chocolate isn’t all bad though, so pick a pure, high-quality dark chocolate and allow yourself just a few squares. You will appease your craving, get the chocolate’s antioxidant-rich health benefits and stay sane, while avoiding the added sugars and unhealthy fat in highly processed milk chocolate.

When a CRUNCHY craving hits: Hit something. Anger and anxiety are the most common reasons why we experience cravings for crunch. The mechanical process of chewing, crunching and destroying a bag of chips releases tension, but you can do this in a more healthful way. Take up boxing, punch a pillow or lace up your sneaks and go pound some pavement.

Or pick a healthy crunch. So you aren’t angry, you just want something crunchy. I get it. There are a ton of healthy options that provide a ton of crunch. Try pita chips, kale chips, raw veggies made less boring with a delicious side of hummus, rice cakes with schmear of almond butter or a nice bowl of popcorn.

Don’t think of your cravings as a weakness, they happen to everyone. How you handle them is the key. Control your cravings with a plan of attack for when they strike. That way, they won’t control you.

Do you have food cravings? How do you deal in a healthy away? —Kelly

 

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5 Comments
  1. Cat says:

    I had a craving for crunchy, salty carbs! So I had a small handful of whole-wheat pretzels. Everything in moderation 🙂

  2. Kellee says:

    My cravings are almost always sugar related: usually for jelly bellies or some other candy. In my case, swapping a piece of fruit actually does usually work since it’s something sweet that I’m craving. But it usually means A LOT of fruit. Still, I feel like 3 apples is healthier than a bag of jellies. If that doesn’t work, I turn to chocolate. I don’t really care for chocolate, so I don’t have to worry that I’ll be tempted to eat more than a few bites – but the sweet is still enough to curb the craving. And if all else fails, I head to the store that has bulk jelly bellies and buy a reasonable amount to eat in a single sitting. I know once I start eating them I won’t want to stop, so only buying a handful at a time is a great solution!

  3. Celina Yanez says:

    Lately I’ve been craving salty chips. Little did I know that it was due to the fact that I was doing major Bikram Yoga. My yoga instructor advised to give into these Taro chips they sell at Whole Foods. They are delicious and they’re high in fiber (I usually open the bag and IMMEDIATELY pack two zip lock bags to cut down the portion).

  4. Nyx says:

    For me I always found a reason for my cravings – how I learned this was if I had a craving I’d think about why I was craving what I was craving, I’d go though various foods and if I kept coming back to the same food time and time again then I’d look up that food and see what nutrients they where high in or the like and if there was a more healthy option for those deals I found eating the more healthy option would cure that craving, take the the craving for iron rich foods it was a common deal for me when I was bleeding but since that’s over with the craving have disappeared completely (that and my iron levels are back to normal).

  5. Dania says:

    Hi, great article! Just wanted to say that I recently discovered this site, I’m 13 years old, and am currently working on fitness. A lot of your posts have some great tips, so thanks for posting them! 😀
    For me, like you suggested, I usually take a deep breath and sit down and think about it.
    Measuring the pros and cons really helps for me.