When it comes to eating well, most people have good intentions. The problem arises when all of a sudden they get an urge for something sweet—and everything goes out the window. Cravings are one of the hardest things to manage, but luckily good eating habits can prevent cravings from coming up in the first place. Here are five ways to stop cravings in their tracks.
1. Eat breakfast
When you skip breakfast, or any meal for that matter, your blood sugars drop, causing your body to crave sugar for a burst of energy. In fact, “fasting” of any kind causes the body to seek out high calorie foods to make up for the deficit. (See Why Intermittent Fasting Is Unsuitable for Athletes.)
2. Balance carbohydrates and protein
Not only is when you eat important, but balancing meals properly makes a huge difference in terms of curbing cravings. Eating carbohydrates without protein causes your blood sugars to spike and crash. You need to balance and stabilize them with a protein source. Protein also keeps you feeling fuller longer to prevent cravings. (Read How Protein and Carbs Work Together.)
3. Keep healthy snacks with you
As we discussed, cravings often arise when we go too long without eating or simply feel hungry. Having healthy snacks with you prevents you from thinking about other sweets and treats that are not as healthy.
4. Don’t restrict foods
Even those who are trying to lose weight should never totally eliminate fun foods. If you cut out eating ice cream, it’s often all you think about, and it can sometimes cause you to splurge and overeat later. Eat modest servings of your favorite foods once in awhile so you will not crave them.
5. Add variety to your diet
If you eat the same things for most meals, you’ll get bored and your mind will wander to those cravings. Plan different meals using various spices, textures, temperatures and so forth so your taste buds are constantly engaged.