9 Smart Ways Of Successfully Controlling Your Junk Food Cravings

Don’t let a sweet tooth or carb craving prevent you from reaching your goals. Keep cravings in check with these practical methods.

No matter how mentally strong you may be, every once in a while, all of us cock a snook to their diet and give in to food cravings. While it is alright to cheat on your diet and allow yourself a small treat now and then, if you realise that it’s happening all too often, you need to take a step back, take stock and learn how to control those food cravings.

9 Foods That Prevent Cravings and Hunger Pangs

SO WHAT YOU CAN DO TO STOP CRAVINGS

Here are tips to help you reduce cravings which are ordered based on how fast you can act on them. So while you may be tempted to reach for the fastest ones, we encourage you to give all of them a try over the next few weeks for the best results.

GETTING YOUR SELF-CONTROL BACK ISN’T SO HARD, AFTER ALL

Food craving

1.Deal With Your Trigger Foods

Out of sight is usually out of mind

It’s much easier to give in to temptation when the food you crave is within easy reach. So don’t keep unhealthy foods you tend to crave in your kitchen or at your desk at work or wherever you are. This doesn’t mean you can’t keep any treats in the house, but select goodies that are easier for you to manage. Don’t stock up on sugar-filled peanut butter cups instead try our healthy peanut butter dessert treats.

2.Drink Some Water

The easiest thing you can do to curb your cravings is to have a large glass of water and wait for a couple of minutes. Even if the craving doesn’t completely go away, the fullness of your stomach will make it less intense.

Drinking a tall glass of water might serve as a distraction or it might solve your craving without adding any calories. If plain water sounds boring, add a slice or two of lemon, lime or cucumber. Try our Homemade Detox Water

Detox water

The best way to drink water for weight loss

3.Drink Some Coffee

Coffee might have a stronger influence on your appetite and food intake than water. It seems that coffee can suppress acute energy intake. What does that mean?

Right after drinking a cup of coffee people will eat less than they would have without it. So even if you end up giving in to a craving, you have a higher chance of keeping the size of your treat moderate and not going overboard. Another study found that decaffeinated coffee might help suppress the appetite even more!

4. Eat More Protein

Speaking of protein, breakfast isn’t the only meal to focus on. Multiple studies have found that increasing your protein intake to 25 per cent of your daily calories could reduce cravings by 60 per cent, helping you avoid thinking about food throughout the day.

Vegan meal

Protein is your ally against crazy cravings, here’s why:

• Increasing protein intake can reduce cravings

• Eating more protein can help fight the desire to eat at night

• Protein keeps you full longer 

6 Excellent Plant Protein Foods

5. Do A Light Workout

If you already exercise regularly, keep up the good work. And if you don’t, here’s a good reason to make it part of your daily routine.

Before you start rocking 100 burpees, think about this: an intense workout might make you feel even hungrier, but a low-intensity activity, such as a brisk walk or short bodyweight home workout can have the opposite effect. If you’re feeling playful, next time your cravings kick in try walking backwards.

And the best part? The more they exercised, the more their self-control increased—and that benefit lasted the entire time they kept up their workout regimen.

6.Get Enough Sleep

Lack of sleep is also known to cause food cravings, which is why you need to get adequate sleep each night.

Sleep deprived

Getting a good night’s sleep is easier said than done—there are countless Netflix shows to binge, after all. But when it comes to beating cravings, it’s probably the most effortless tactic.

One study showed being sleep deprived makes you more likely to crave junk food, and catching a proper amount of zzzs will ensure you have a little more self-control.

Surprising Reasons Why We Need To Sleep

7.Be More Mindful

Once a craving strikes, it’s hard not to act on it. But by being more mindful of your body and what it needs (not what it wants!), you’ll be able to pass on those urges before they get the best of you.

Common mindfulness-based techniques can significantly lower cravings.

By listening to your body, you’ll learn to accept them when they come and know they’ll naturally fade, but not give in to them. It sounds tricky and takes practice, but it can be done.

8.Don’t Let Yourself Get Too Hungry

Healthy eating
What happens when you skip a meal or refrain from eating when you’re truly hungry?
Sooner or later, you get SO hungry that you end up overeating to compensate.

It’s in this state of extreme hunger that we tend to crave quick-fix foods like candy bars. Eating several meals throughout the day may help to control cravings and binge-type eating. Try out our portable healthy snacks.

9.Substitute a healthier option

Satisfy your craving for something smooth and creamy with something low-fat or fat-free, such as yoghurt, pureed fruit or buttermilk. Eat a piece of fruit as a healthy sweet snack.

Craving a scoop of ice cream from the corner shop? Try making your own and sharing the recipe to make it healthier. Or, eat a better-for-you option — like a homemade energy bar or a stack of banana pancake— to satisfying your desire for sweetness.

Here are My Top 5 Healthier Sugar Alternatives to Try

The main thing is that you learn to tell the difference between actual hunger and cravings for sweet or salty foods. Follow our tips and soon you too will be able to understand your body’s signals.

Related: 11 Top Reasons Why You Should Stop Counting Calories

Why am I so Hungry in the Evenings? The Problem Of Evening Hunger

Your “hunger hormone” levels rise and your “satiety hormone” levels drop in the evening, a study has discovered.

So is this situation just one that has to be accepted as a cost to fat loss dieting?

Is evening hunger just something that everyone who wants to get lean has to push through?

To a certain extent, yes!

No remedy will eliminate hunger.

However, the science of diet design can help reduce evening hunger in several major ways, with the result being a drastic reduction of cravings and a huge drop in the likelihood of falling off the wagon.

HORMONES THAT MAKE YOU HUNGRY RISE IN THE EVENING

Let’s take a look at the phenomenon of evening hunger and then see what steps we can take to reduce it while still dropping body fat.

Cravings

There are several reasons why evening hunger is particularly pernicious during fat loss diets:

• Most people have higher stress hormone levels in the early morning and daytime and lower stress hormone levels (such as cortisol) in the evenings. Stress hormones suppress appetite.

• Most people are busy with work or responsibilities in the mornings and afternoons. Sure, you can be hungry during this time, but the demands of workday tasks can keep you distracted from the hunger sensations to quite a large extent.

• Evenings are usually more relaxed times where you settle down to watch your favourite TV shows or hang out with family and friends. Not only are you no longer focused and distracted from hunger, but you’re engaging in the kinds of activities (TV watching and/or socializing) that are highly associated with eating lots of delicious food.

• For those who drink caffeinated beverages (coffee, tea, diet sodas, energy drinks), morning and afternoon hunger is a much smaller issue. Because they are under the effects of caffeine at these times, the powerful hunger-suppressing effects of this substance make cravings much less likely. However, most people taper their caffeine use in the evenings so that they can fall asleep at night.

Falling asleep requires relaxation, which is the opposite of willful effort! If you’re hungry during the day, you can get through by sheer willpower. But if you’re hungry at bedtime, can you will yourself to sleep? Unfortunately, “willing yourself to sleep” is an internal contradiction.

Related: The Importance of Sleep

What Can be Done to Help?

For many dieters, evening hunger can be a great hindrance to both diet progress and mental sanity. Luckily, science can help. There are no less than 5 different diet manipulations you can employ to make your fat loss diet much less susceptible causing to bouts of evening hunger. Make any or all of the following changes to your diet, and your evening hunger problems will decline.

Plant protein

1.More protein

Of all of the macronutrients, protein is the most satiating. That’s right, per unit of calories, protein fills you up the most and keeps you fuller, longer. With minimum levels of fats needed for proper body and hormonal functioning, and carbs which are effective at supplying energy and preventing muscle loss during dieting.

6 Excellent Plant Protein Foods With All The Essential Amino Acids

2.More greens and fruits

Not only are greens and other low-calorie veggies stocked full of vitamins, minerals, and fiber, they are also incredibly filling. If you eat enough of them they can make a meal downright hard to finish! Fruits can also be consumed more at the expense of slices of bread and grains.

5 Power-packed Immune-Boosting Juices

Eating greens

3.Bigger meals at night

Simply eat bigger meals in the evening. Keep your morning meals to mostly protein and veggies, and then save more of your daily fats and carbs for the later meals. Just when you’re most prone to be hungry, you have your biggest meals of the day to eat.

Healthy Winter Special Beetroot, Carrot Tomato Soup Recipe

4.Lower palatability

When low-palatability foods (foods that are not the best tasting) are eaten, people just don’t tend to want as much of those foods, to begin with, or to have more of them later. If you eat half a cheeseburger on a diet, you might feel like you could kill someone for the other half. But eat the same calories and macros in unflavored oatmeal and egg whites with olive oil, and you’ll be happy when you’re done with the meal so that you don’t have to chew that mess anymore!

Does this mean you have to eat disgusting food during your diet? No. But it can mean that you should ease up on the tasty sauces, spices, and cheeses that make your food both high in calories and super tasty.

5.Reducing or eliminating shakes

Drinking your meals is a much easier way of getting in calories than eating them. Chewing a bunch of food can be a pain in the ass, and solid foods (especially the high volume foods high in fiber, such as whole grains, fruits, and veggies) can keep you fuller much longer than liquid foods.

Soup

If you’re particularly parched or starving come nightfall, it’s probably because you either

a) didn’t eat or drink enough earlier in the day, and/or

b) you didn’t nourish your body with enough essential vitamins and minerals

In that case, pay close attention to what foods you’re craving at night, and figure out what that means in terms of nutrients.

There’s a reason why your doctor suggests eating a well-balanced diet and drinking a ton of water: It’s because all of these different food groups will collectively nourish your body and keep you satiated. So take notice of the number of proteins, healthy fats, and high-fiber foods you’re eating throughout the day.

Also read Reasons to Try Overnight Oats, According to Science 

By Priyanshi Bhatnagar