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Overcoming Unhealthy Food Cravings

Food cravings. We all have them. Try these tips to overcome the cravings and enjoy life.

Food cravings. We all have them. Try these tips to overcome the cravings and enjoy life. Check out the tips. Pin it now to have it on hand for later.

It happens to all of us, a craving that seems unstoppable and can even feels all consuming. Sound familiar?

First things first. No blanket restrictions. With disordered eating in my background, nothing is off limits. I make smart informed choices, but I do not restrict myself of what I can and can’t eat.

Tips To Take Control and Overcome Food Cravings

  1. Plan and prepare satisfying meals that give your body the nutrients it needs.
  2. Have a game plan for stress. Know the best ways to manage your stress so you’re not reaching for a sweet treat or salty snack for a quick fix.
  3. Stay hydrated by drinking water throughout the day. Thirst and dehydration may increase cravings.
  4. Make sleep a priority. Not getting enough sleep can increase food cravings.
  5. Stock a healthy pantry and fridge. If the unhealthy foods that you crave are not easily accessible you’re less likely to give in to the craving.
  6. Green smoothies. The blend of fruits, veggies, protein and healthy fats make for a delicious, refreshing and nourishing meal or snack that keep the unhealthy cravings at bay.
  7. Make the connection between unhealthy cravings and emotional triggers. Stress, boredom and low self esteem can all trigger “feel good” cravings. Find alternatives with other things that boost seratonin to distract you until the craving passes.
  8. Last but not least, if you’re craving chocolate (or whatever you’re craving), have a little. And once you’ve made the decision to indulge own that decision. Truly enjoy the indulgence.

See. You can take control, indulge a little and enjoy life.

I would love to chat:

Do you have any tips for overcoming cravings? Share them in the comments.

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80 Comments

  1. Oh man! I am so guilty of emotional eating. But I do think planning ahead is the number one way I curb it. Also my favorite low calorie snack is Annie’s popcorn! It’s so good!

  2. Thank you for this. Green smoothies always cure my unhealthy cravings. The best thing about them is I have so much fun making them!

  3. Early evening is the worst time for me! I am tired, stressed, and hungry and I start eating! uggh! Dinner is usually a bit later in our home due to sports activities. I have found that 4 o’clock tea and a few almonds help. But I gotta be prepared!

  4. I make sure to have some healthy options ready to go to help me out. OR just NOT buying anything that I want to cheat & have! lol

  5. I am such a “bored” eater. I just like to eat. Ive learned that I can’t have any “junk” in my house, or I will eat it. Thats been my gameplan and it appears to be working.(for now anyways!)

  6. This is great advice! I’ve definitely noticed fewer cravings when I stay well-hydrated.

  7. I love the crowding out method – try and fill my body with as much healthy food, and eventually the cravings go away. I crave a lot of healthy food now 🙂 Of course, I was never a huge chocolate person to begin with…

  8. Staying active always helps me curb cravings. These are great tips.

  9. These are great tips! I have such a hard time avoiding junky snacks some days and I think a lot of it has to do with stress. I’ll work on that first!

  10. My father told me when I was in high school to drink loads of water and I would be able to stay away from the snacks. It has always worked for me.

  11. Sometimes when the craving calls, you just need to answer it. Other times, I try and look for alternatives that contain healthier ingredients, yet still satisfy my need for sweet, salty or crunch.

  12. I struggle with this alot. I love to much while I work. I need to find something healthy to much on!

  13. These are all great tips! I have to say working from home makes it really hard to ignore those treats calling me from the kitchen. 😉

  14. I find that the more I think about food the more I eat. So I can’t ever think that I am going to restrict myself a whole lot or all I do is think about food and over eat. I have to think…ok I am just going to replace my desert with a yogurt or something similar.

  15. Great tips and reminders! I have been up really late burning the midnight oil trying to get things done before the hubby leaves town for work for a couple weeks and the late nights have lead to lots of late night snacking, and not the best eating during the day, and not feeling the best. I realized it today and already got my green smoothie in and plan to go to bed early and the stuff will be there tomorrow because getting up later, not get enough sleep, and being off schedule has to stop.

  16. Love these. I always say to never deprive yourself. If you really want some chocolate, have some! What’s life without our favorite things?

  17. great tips! as long as i tell myself absolutely nothing is off limits, that reduces the amount of times i crave that item. drinking water and making sure to eat enough of lean proteins, fruits and veggies is also key!

  18. Lately I seem to be craving starchy foods and these are great tips! I especially like the idea of indulging a little and not beating yourself up about it. I’ve ridden the roller coaster of eating, feeling guilty, eating to ease the guilt, and then back to feeling guilty. Torture!

  19. I am the worst. I crave carbs and I have no willpower. Thanks for the tips.

  20. Your right the things that we choose to eat are often connected to our state of mind. For me I have cravings when I am bored or in one place for an extended period of time!

  21. Great tips, Jill! I know that when I don’t get enough sleep I eat ALL THE CARBS. I end up eating starchy and sugary things when my body really needs more sleep or at least a nap

  22. This is definitely an issue I have. I try to keep my meals with a lot of protein and low on sugar. That helps me.

  23. Water is the key! I feel like anytime I think I’m hungry its more likely I am just thirsty. It also makes me feel more full that helps me reduce how much I am eating. Never enough water!

  24. I try not to let myself get too hungry..that’s when cravings can take over and I really don’t care what I eat, I just need something. And not keeping things in the house is really useful for me. I find I want something sweet after a meal, but if I don’t have it available the craving goes away fairly quickly.

  25. These are all really great tips! I love planning ahead and making green smoothies! I’m definitely not sleeping as much as I should/would like to, but one can dream!

  26. Making sure I’m hydrated is a big thing for me with cravings!

  27. This is definitely something I struggle with. Since working from a few years ago, I’ve put on 15+ pounds because I just don’t move enough. I also changed my eating habits. It’s been a combination of things that hasn’t helped my health. I have to improve what I eat during the day because my cravings go into overdrive between meals and I have very little around the house to eat that’s good. I just need to figure out some ideas other than carrots and water. Hopefully these suggestions will be a good start for me!

  28. Robin Rue (@massholemommy) says:

    Love all your tips. If there is one thing I have learned, it’s to give in to those cravings. I try to substitute other things and I NEVER works, so I just give in and get it out of my system.

  29. kellye lukas says:

    Great tips Jill! I will be putting them all to use, living in NOLA is hard with a seafood restaurant and daiquiri shop on every darn corner…not to mention Mardi Gras right now. Luckily the king cake I love so much is harder to find these days, so I just stay away from the Tastee donut shops!

  30. Good Tips Jill! Sometimes it’s hard to stop and think about what we are eating and why. I agree nothing should be off limits that leads to bad food relationships. I can honestly tell when I’m not sleeping enough because ALL I want are sweets it’s a weird connection.

  31. Lori Musselman says:

    It seems like we’re on the same page with our tips! I’m on a mission to spread the word about how important sleep is.

  32. These are all fantastic tips! I wholeheartedly agree with #1 though, and try to express the importance of “moderation” to my clients as well. Being healthy doesn’t mean you have to deprive yourself, just to make smart decisions MOST of the time!

  33. Sweets are my downfall, but I find that if I deprive myself I will end up bingeing and then feel terrible about myself. I allow myself a piece of dark chocolate after dinner and that usually does the trick. I also don’t keep much junk in the house so I can just avoid it all together!

  34. Larisa Dixon (@0to26point2) says:

    I can usually ward off cravings the higher my protein intake is. These are great tips.

  35. Having just come off a sugar detox, I never realised how addicted to sugar I was until I finished it and re introduced foods. Like wow. And things I thought were great now are gross.
    I learned a lot while on this detox, and it had made me realised even more the importance of eating real food. I’m making changes to what I’m eating while in training, but all for the better.

  36. I’ll healthily recipes as well, but I do find that staying hydrated throughout the day does a pretty darn good at curbing any unhealthy craving I may have. I’m not one to resist something though either. If it a craving hits, I’ll honor it… not out of hand though of course.

  37. Is it really only Tuesday night? I’m ready for the weekend. 🙂 I usually get temptations at night and when those temptations happen it is usually because I did not eat enough during the day. My cravings are usually chocolate cake with LOTS of frosting. I do treat myself to this once in a while of course.

  38. Going to bed always seems to stop cravings dead in its tracks. Taking a nap too. Otherwise I believe moderation is key and so I will have some of it just not as much. Win-win.

  39. My biggest issue is chocolate too. Mainly cookies. Whenever I have a craving after dinner I usually just have a square of dark chocolate. 90%. I figure there’s nothing that bad about that!

  40. love it! I, too, believe in “NOTHING’s off limits”…all things in moderation. I don’t know about overcoming unhealthy eating because I still eat unhealthy just not as frequently as I used to. So I minimize unhealthy by allowing myself to have it…track it and see how much it “cost” me. Eventually, I say…”it’s NOT worth it” and I don’t eat it anymore or as frequently. 😉

  41. I’m with you on #6 and #7. One of my favorite things to do is definitely to healthify recipes, and green smoothies are wonderful! 😛

    I really need to work on #5. ._.

  42. “Nothing is off limits” that is key! Nothing is good or bad, it depends on why are you eating it, when and how much. Love these tips! 🙂

  43. I don’t eliminate things from my diet. Even when I was actively losing weight, I just tried to make wise choices and not sabotage my goals. However, when I want to overcome a craving I drink some lemon water.

  44. I think that because I don’t ever restrict anything completely it helps cut down on the unhealthy cravings. I know it is mental but the minute I say “no more chips” then all I want is to eat chips by the bagful!!! If I just have a couple with Mexican food or whatever then I don’t go overboard as often!!!

  45. I do a lot of the same – nothing is off limits and everything in moderation! I ate a few bites of cheesecake at a dinner out on Sunday and didn’t give it a second thought. Even though I’m in “serious” training mode right now, I make decisions about where I want to indulge and then stick to it. The only promise I make to myself? NO GUILT!

  46. Hey Jill – great tips! I forgot to put “drinking smoothies” on mine. That really does work and you get in all those veggies! YES to more sleep and more water as well!! Have a great week!!

  47. The only time I have cravings is when I eat sugary processed foods, so I just don’t anymore. They have become so much easier to avoid since giving up gluten and most grains. Even a bit of white sushi rice occasionally can trigger that craving for me so I have it rarely.

  48. My trick is an apple or cup of tea. Something new I’ve been doing is a green smoothie. Its still hard though. When stress hits, sometimes you want food for comfort. Knowing your craving triggers are important. Once you’re awqre of them, you can control the behavior.

  49. Great tips! I totally agree with not restricting anything. The biggest one for me is asking myself why do I want it and how will I feel after I eat it.

  50. I tend to crave sweets once I have a little bit. If I eat a cookie or a bite of cake, I just want to eat ALL THE CAKE/ICE CREAM. I try to avoid eating foods with added sugar, and stick with naturally sweet things like bananas, dates, etc.

  51. One thing that is huge for me is to not keep junk in my house. I DO keep treats- but healthy ones. Also, making things like mini muffins or mini treats helps me because I still get to indulge, but not go overboard kwim?

  52. A lot of great tips!! Staying hydrated helps me a lot! Drinking water or right now with this cold weather, tea helps me to curb my cravings! I have problems with cookies and ice cream and when I indulge it is worth it! 🙂

  53. Great tips. I have problems with chocolate cake and chocolate ice cream and chocolate fro-yo…. There is probably a trend there 🙂

  54. Jill, I love your perspective, and I am so excited to do a green smoothie experiment…though I am trying to get around trading it for my morning oatmeal. I LOVE OATMEAL. I also love the, ask yourself a few questions, idea. I need to get better at that! Thanks, Lovely! #fitfamlove GREAT PIC!

  55. All great tips. I think having a little bit of what you are craving is a good thing. If you are just bored (not really hungry) a cup of tea is usually a nice way to have something.

  56. Distraction and delayed gratification. Nothing is off limits but I may say wait until I can really enjoy it or it makes more sense in my day.

  57. Great tips, Jill! I think you’ve got a great strategy and outlook for keeping yourself balanced and happy. I too, have the disordered eating demons, and it is so important to have a healthy approach and outlook to keeping yourself happy and nourished. Wonderful insight!

  58. I love all of your suggestions – especially thinking about how you’ll feel AFTER you eat a certain food. Too often we focus on how yummy the food is or we don’t think at all because we are too hungry, stressed, or lonely. If we focus more on the AFTER feeling I think most of us would eat a lot differently!

  59. Yes, staying hydrated! I also think it’s better to have a little bit of what you want rather than suffer without it, no feeling guilty. I also just prioritize my eating preferences . . . . . eg. fruits, veggies, lean proteins are non-negotiable . . . . and then everything else is balance and choices. I’d rather skip pasta, rice, bread or whatever so that I can have chocolate during the day 😉

  60. Great post!! I too believe in nothing is off limits! Food shouldn’t be forbidden, that just creates mental issues around food. I just make choices as they come at me!

  61. Awesome tips! I need to get back on the green smoothie train! I hate cleaner my blender and that’s honestly what holds me back somedays! lol!

  62. i’ve been on a huge chocolate kick lately. i try to have healthy sweet dishes in my kitchen. i made arman’s greek yogurt brownies – still a treat, but healthier than other options 🙂

  63. I am with you! Sometimes a little treat goes a long way and you should not punish yourself for that. I always look at things (especially sweet treats) and say is it worth it? I love cookies but do I eat packages cookies? nope, but if someone took the time and made a homemade cookie and brought it in, well that is worth one more trip around the block! Sleep is huge too- I just woke up, 8 hours and 8 minutes, the most sleep I have had since I came home from the hospital! I feel like a champ, and I not eating that coffee cake my hubby laid out I am marching in there and working on my first smoothie creation!! 🙂

    1. Mary Beth you sound like you’re doing great! I’m a little behind on blog reading. How are you? How did the surgery go?

      Yay for green smoothies! Let me know what you think of your first 🙂 And let me know if you need recipes. I have tons and even a beginner recipe at Jill Conyers dot com.

  64. I think that you have to figure out why you are craving the thing (like, am I bored? often a trigger for me) and then also ask yourself if having a taste of it will set you off to go crazy or if it will be just enough to satisfy you. But never, ever are foods “bad.” They are just not the best choices!

  65. I have been super hungry lately and wanting to reach for anything I see….I think it is because I am not getting enough sleep. Guess I need to catch up on some Zzzz’s!

  66. Drinking more water definitely works for me (most of the time) 😉

  67. Great tips- I agree that its better to not ‘restrict’ yourself of anything because that can lead to unhealthy eating habits…Also, thinking about how I will feel after I eat something usually helps me. I know that if I eat something with a ton of sugar I feel terrible afterwards! But like you said the key is to just accept what you ate and move on..no point in beating yourself up or feeling guilty about it!

  68. ahhh nuber four is one too many people do not make the connection with (and food).
    yet.
    It is so so so crucial in mitigating my SALLLT CRAVINGS.

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