Food and Diet 10 Foods to Stop Cravings
Junk food cravings are the number one diet buster out there. It's difficult to lose weight and keep it off when cravings become so intense that they become irresistible. What follows is a binge, followed by a cycle of guilt and hopelessness, which typically leads to more cravings and binges. This vicious cycle can be difficult to break without the proper knowledge and tools. In addition to fighting food addictions themselves, it is also extremely important to manage stress effectively so that eating becomes about fueling the body, not self-medicating.
Beating Food Addiction
Fighting food addiction is a difficult challenge. With other vices like cigarettes you can simply omit them from your life, but we all have to eat. For that reason, resisting temptations can be extremely difficult and it becomes necessary to find ways to manage the intense cravings.
Fortunately, there are several foods that help curb sugar and fat cravings. Adding these to your healthy diet can help you overcome the urge to eat junk food while promoting good health.
Top Ten Foods to Fight Cravings
- Apples: Apples are loaded with fiber and nutrients. They have a satisfying crunch and sweet taste that helps to curb hunger and satisfy sugar cravings while giving your body what it needs. Sprinkle an apple with a bit of cinnamon to help regulate blood sugar levels. The spikes and crashes in blood sugar are typically what causes cravings to emerge. An apple with some cinnamon is delicious and a great way to head cravings off at the pass without ruining your diet.
- Avocado: Yes they are high in fat, but it is the heart healthy monounsaturated variety. A half of an avocado has a great creamy texture and can satisfy the craving for fatty foods. It is a filling food that will help keep you satiated with its fat and fiber content.
- Dark Chocolate:Indulge your sweet tooth with a couple of squares (an ounce or so) of very dark chocolate (70% cocoa content or higher). Dark chocolate is loaded with antioxidants and it also triggers the release of “feel good” endorphins in the brain that ease anxiety and depression which can trigger cravings for junk food.
- Berries: Raw berries like blueberries, raspberries, or blackberries are a great way to satisfy a sweet tooth while boosting your fiber intake which will help you feel full longer. They are loaded with antioxidants and great for your health so they are an indulgence you can feel really good about.
- Oatmeal: Studies have shown that a hot meal is more satisfying emotionally. Oatmeal with a sprinkle of cinnamon on top and a natural sweetener like Stevia is a great way to increase fiber and increase fullness. It has a satisfying texture and “heaviness” and makes a great comfort food that is good for you. Be sure to use a whole grain variety and not “instant”. Instant oatmeal is highly processed and typically has a lot of sugar added.
Did You Know?
The average craving lasts approximately 15 minutes. When cravings are intense those minutes can seem to last a lifetime, however if you eat healthy alternatives or engage in activities that take your mind off the cravings they can become more manageable. They will eventually diminish over time if you maintain a healthy diet and lifestyle.
- Cinnamon: Yes it's been mentioned twice already with the apples and the oatmeal. Cinnamon has a remarkable ability to stabilize blood sugar and fight insulin resistance. As little as a half a teaspoon of cinnamon will help stop the spikes in blood sugar that tend to trigger cravings. It is also a very warm and satisfying spice to add to coffee, oatmeal, fruit and even vegetables like cooked carrots.
- Citrus Fruit: Oranges and Grapefruit are a sweet treat that helps to boost the metabolism. Chilling citrus fruit before eating it can make it even more refreshing, especially on warm days where you want a cool treat. My grandmother managed her diabetes naturally and one habit she had was eating an orange or grapefruit as an evening snack every night. She kept her weight down and her cravings at bay.
- Sweet Potatoes: If you tend to crave starchy foods like potato chips, cakes, and cookies a sweet potato can help. Miss fries or chips? Cut a sweet potato into thin slices, spritz with a bit of olive or coconut oil and bake for a healthy, fiber filled alternative. Sweet potatoes can also be baked or steamed for a fluffy sweet treat. Sweet potatoes are a better choice than other potatoes because they are lower on the glycemic index scale and have more fiber and nutrients.
- Carrots: With only a few calories you can cure a sweet tooth and get a satisfying crunch with raw carrots. Carrots are a great way to beat cravings and they contain carotenoids which reduce cholesterol and promote a healthy heart. The beta carotene in carrots improves vision and has anti-aging properties as well. Craving sweets? Roast your carrots in the oven to release the natural sugars and intensify the sweetness. When roasting carrots avoid adding extra sugars and butter. Plain roasted carrots are already very sweet without the need for unhealthy additives.
- Flaxseed: This is a food that is great for your health. It is an excellent source of protein and fiber that bulks up in the stomach when you eat it. It can increase in mass by up to five times providing a feeling of lasting fullness. If you consume it a half hour before a meal you will eat less. Flax seed also stabilizes blood sugar levels which reduces cravings. You can sprinkle a bit on oatmeal and other foods to make them even more nutritious and satisfying.
Don't make the mistake of blaming lapses on simple lack of motivation or self-control. Food addiction is a tough cycle to break that requires time and dedication not only to diet, but to understanding the underlying reasons for the addiction in the first place and addressing them. If you eat when you are stressed try activities that are relaxing like yoga or meditation. If you are an emotional eater, begin to find other outlets to express your emotions like art or a journal, rather than suppressing them with food. If you eat when bored, try new activities regularly to engage your mind or keep your hands busy with a new hobby or craft.
In order to be successful at fighting food addiction, you have to accept the fact that it is an ongoing process. Don't allow a lapse to spiral out of control into a lasting cycle of binges or apathy. When you fall - and you will, get back up and keep going. Only you can empower yourself to change your life. There is no magic pill or person to do the hard work for you. A long, healthy life starts with a healthy diet and good habits. Every minute is a new opportunity to make a better choice.
I love this cookbook because it features time-tested low-carb recipes and reinventions of comfort food favorites without the use of any processed junk. It's a great way to transition to a healthier lifestyle in a way that is easier, and allows you to experience food in new ways.
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