10 Ways to Control Food Cravings


Maybe it’s something sweet or salty. Or spicy or fatty. Whatever you crave, it’s bound to derail your diet unless you put a stop to it, pronto. Of course, that’s not easy but it’s nearly impossible to lose weight without a strategy for weak moments.

Know the difference between cravings and hunger. Cravings have little to do with hunger, they are just a strong desire for food that is probably unhealthy and full of calories. If you are hungry, go ahead and eat but be reasonable. If you are craving something but are not hungry, you will need to work through it without bingeing. Here's how.

Pay Attention

We all know that everyone is different but it may be surprising just how much. These tips are beneficial only if you tailor them to your own needs. Start now. Pay attention to the times and situations that you are most likely to binge and document them in a weight loss journal. By knowing yourself well, you can gain better control of your eating habits and lose weight easier.

Create a Distraction

Get your mind off of food cravings with a distraction such as a phone call, chore, or newspaper. Similar to what people do when they quit smoking, they get busy to forget what they want. The difference is that smoking can be eliminated all together but food cannot because our bodies need it to survive. The key is finding moderation and eating to feel satiated, not to relieve boredom or depression.

Shop While Full

To avoid making food purchases that you’ll regret later, do your grocery shopping on a full stomach. Still, there are temptations. A good motto is, “if you don’t buy it, you can't eat it.” Remind yourself of this whenever you contemplate buying something that’s unhealthy and move on quickly. This is very effective.

Brush Teeth

Eating with a clean mouth and fresh breath is not appealing to most. It signals fullness and the end of a meal. Use this to your advantage. Brush your teeth more often, especially when you feel food cravings coming on. If you can’t brush your teeth, try breath mints, strips, or a stick of chewing gum to freshen up.

Drink Water, Take a Nap

Sometimes, food cravings are confused with thirst or even being tired. If you feel like you’re ready to fall off the diet wagon, drink a large glass of water and take a power nap. Be aware though, that this strategy can work very well or it can backfire. Some people feel hungrier upon awakening. If this is a pattern with you, it could be that the timing of your meals and snacks need tweaked.

Take Fiber

Besides eating plenty of fiber, you can take fiber supplements in the form of pills or powder to help you feel full and stay regular. Read the directions for dosage recommendations and take with a full glass of water.

Eat Regularly

Eat three meals a day to maintain normal blood glucose levels and add snacks as needed. Don’t get caught up in all of that talk about making sure that you’re full all of the time. This can get excessive and lead to overeating. You just need to be comfortable. If you consume more calories than your body needs, you will certainly gain weight. You will become accustomed to eating a lot and you will crave food.

Eat Protein

Protein is essential for bodily functions and also satiety. Foods high in protein include legumes, peanuts, lean meats, fish, eggs, and cheese. Just by upping your protein, you’ll keep yourself satisfied longer, avoid empty calories, and control food cravings.

Cut the Sugar

Those with a sugar addiction know that eating too much can be a real problem and it hinders the ability to lose weight. Not only that, it can trigger some real binge eating. Eliminating as much sugar as possible can greatly reduce your sweet tooth. Besides cutting out the common culprits such as candy and cookies, read labels to find foods that have hidden sugar and eliminate them too.

Check Yourself

Stay out of or prepare yourself for situations that lead to cravings and overeating. For example, don't watch TV channels that involve cooking, restaurants, or food. Skip fast food commercials. Don't drive by that donut shop on the way to work. Stay away from "Fast Food Lane." If you're headed to a party, don't go hungry. If you're going out to eat, check the menu online to find healthy entrees. Finally, change your attitude about food. See it as nourishment for the body and not as entertainment, rewards, or solace for depression.

*This page is provided as an information resource and is in no way intended to be a substitute for professional or medical advice.