We all have food cravings, some of us deal with them more frequently than others,- and have harder time letting go of them without giving in. Initially, the immediate gratification feels good, shortly afterwards, we feel guilty or ashamed of losing control for over-eating.

Unfortunately, cravings, especially due to stress, are common. When it comes to the choice of snack, sweets take the lead. Sweets stimulate the part of our brain associated with reward. Beyond the physiological reasons for food cravings, they often have something to do with emotion and desire. ‘’Food cravings arise to satisfy emotional needs, such as calming stress and reducing anxiety’’ says Drewnowski, a well-known researcher on taste and food preferences.

Below are some smart ways to control your cravings and choose better alternatives.

Jump on the Intermittent Fasting Bandwagon - Everyone has been talking about intermittent fasting lately, and it might help you regain your self-control in a major way. According to the Cleveland clinic, it can help with reducing cravings throughout the day, making you want less sweet and salty foods. Aside from helping you eat healthier, intermittent fasting has also been shown to reduce cholesterol levels and even less inflammation.

Up Your Protein – Speaking of protein, breakfast isn’t the only meal to focus on. Multiple studies have shown increasing your intake helps you in fighting off cravings, but one in particular found that increasing your protein intake to 25 percent, helping you avoid thinking about food throughout the day and even fight off the urge to eat a late snack.

Eat healthy Fats - While protein is important for curbing cravings, so is eating healthy fats. If you’re trying to break a sugar habit in particular, try and include healthy fats in every meal, like nuts and seeds, fish and avocado, which are all jam – packed with heart- healthy omega-3s they are also super satiating.

Limit High-Glycemic Index Foods - Obviously high-Glycemic foods like sugar, white potatoes, white bread and white rice are delicious, but when it comes to controlling cravings, one study showed its best to avoid them. Researchers found high-glycemic foods are easier to overeat and might trigger the same brain mechanism tied to addiction, making your body crave those foods. Luckily, it’s easy to reverse the urges by limiting those foods and eating healthier options instead, like brown rice and plenty of green veggies.

Think About the Long Term consequences - When you’re thinking about pizza, your mind is focused on one think and one thing only: getting the pizza in your belly. But according to researchers, thinking about the long-term consequences opposed to just the immediate satisfaction can actually help diminish those cravings.

Keep Your Stress Levels in Check - If you’ve been extra stressed lately, that could explain a sudden increase in cravings. Stress and junk food go hand in hand, and one way to get those sugary foods off your minds is by simply calming your nerves. Since studies have shown increased stress can make you want sweet food in particular and lots of it, lowering your stress levels with methods like meditation and exercise can help get your eating patterns back on track.

Be More Mindful – Once a craving strike, it’s hard not to act on it. But by being more mindful of your body and what it really needs, you’ll be able to pass on those urges before they get the best of you. 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. Getting your self-control back isn’t so hard, after all.

Exercise Regularly – 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: researchers found those who exercised often had more self- control than those who didn’t, making them better able to avoid giving in to their cravings. And the best part? The more they exercised, their self-control increased – and that benefit lasted the entire time they kept up their workout regimen.

WE SAY - The best way to control your cravings is to have more fiber, protein & fat rich food since the fiber makes you feel full right away, the protein helps you stay full for longer, and the fat works with the hormones in your body to tell you to stop eating.


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