Top 5 Ways to Manage a Craving

We’ve all had cravings at one point or another. Whether it’s for salty chips, sweet chocolate, or a glass of wine, cravings can come out of nowhere and be detrimental to your health goals. Fortunately, there are five science-backed ways to manage a craving.

1. Make Sure You’re Eating Enough Calories
Restrictive diets are a surefire way to have unhealthy food cravings. It makes sense — if you are depriving your body of calories and nutrients, it’s going to want highly palatable and calorie-dense foods, like sweets or carb-rich foods. Instead, make sure you are eating enough calories for your body and exercise level.

2. Focus on Fiber, Fat, and Protein
Fiber, healthy fat, and protein are highly satiating nutrients. This means you will feel more full after meals and snacks and will be less likely to crave unhealthy foods with empty calories (like chips, cookies, ice cream, candy, etc.)

3. Keep Set Mealtimes
Many people have cravings when they have gone too long without eating. Setting meal and snacktimes can ensure that your body knows it will receive enough nutrients and calories regularly, meaning you will be less likely to crave unhealthy foods.

4. Mindfully Allow Your Favorite Foods
Studies show that food deprivation significantly increases cravings for “off-limits” foods. If you deem them off-limits, you’re more likely to crave them. You can get around this by allowing set amounts of them. For example, if you get to have a small serving of ice cream that night, you’ll be less likely to crave it earlier on.

5. Manage Sleep and Stress
Not getting enough sleep is surprisingly a huge trigger for cravings. People who sleep less than 5 hours per night are significantly more likely to eat sugary and carb-rich foods the next day. The same is true for stress — people who are chronically stressed out tend to have more unhealthy food cravings. Aim for at least 7 hours of sleep per night, and try stress-relieving tips like minimizing screen time, increasing physical activity, getting outside in nature, and following a healthy diet with plenty of fiber, healthy fat, and protein.

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