How to Handle Food Cravings

The following Family & Consumer Sciences article printed in the Healthy Choices For Healthy Families health bulletin.

how to handle food cravings

What happens when you crave a certain food, eat too much, and then feel guilty? Some people try to follow diets of a few foods only. Some people try to cut out groups of foods. This causes cravings to become more intense. It can lead to a cycle of eating too much and having guilt. A balanced eating plan allows foods you enjoy — even high fat, high-calorie foods. This plan can be easy to keep since you will not be cutting out those foods from your life.

If you sometimes crave chocolate, keep some dark chocolate on hand. Be mindful when you eat it, enjoy the experience, and put it away when you are content. When you always have chocolate on hand, you are less likely to overeat it.

Here are other tips for handling food cravings:

  • Schedule your snacks. Plan for healthy snacks to keep your body fed. Keep nutrient-dense snacks handy in your desk, backpack, or car.
  • Take a walk, work on a hobby or call a friend. When intense cravings hit, take a moment to think about what else you might need at that moment. Are you truly hungry or are you bored or lonely?
  • Keep a craving journal. What time of day did your craving appear? How long did it last? What was the food you craved? How did you handle the situation?

Source: Adapted from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics

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