One of our bodies’ most important jobs is to tell us when we’re hungry. But, as most of us can attest to, we don’t always eat because we need to. The urge for junk food can often be irresistibly seductive. Our bodies primal needs for valuable sources of energy- such as fat, salt, and sugar- often leave us craving foods we don’t necessarily need to eat, especially in today’s typical sedentary lifestyles. Here are five rules to follow to curb your junk food cravings.
First of all, be sure to eat breakfast. Nutritionists agree that eating a small, nutritious meal in the morning makes it much easier for people to turn down less-healthful snacks later on in the day. Why? Snacks will be much easier to pass up if you aren’t starving. Try eating fresh berries and yogurt or whole-wheat toast and almond butter.
Second, have a piece of gum. Studies show that chewing gum when you feel a craving coming on can reduce hunger and kill food urges. Studies also showed that chewing gum can help reduce anxiety, improve mood, and even assist memory. How’s that for a bonus?
Drink a glass of water. Water is a healthy, calorie-free way to fill yourself up, and distract your body from food cravings. Studies also show most Americans are chronically dehydrated, which can surprisingly increase the desire for sweet foods and carbs. Try keeping a bottle of water in your purse or on your desk at work. That way, it will be available the second you feel the urge to make a vending machine run.
Remove temptations from your life. You’ll be more likely to give in to junk foods if they’re readily available and in plain sight. Don’t stock the house with chips and ice cream- instead, opt for healthier alternatives, like frozen yogurt or salted nuts. At work, try keeping a small bag of beef jerky or a bar of dark chocolate in your desk.
Lastly, don’t forget to treat yourself from time to time. Things have a strange tendency to be much more appealing if they’re not allowed’. Let yourself indulge in your favorite snack from time to time. However, keep in mind that moderation is key.
The bottom line is that learning to control your cravings is essential to your own health and well being- and it’s not impossible, either! In fact, most cravings only last anywhere from 8-15 minutes. Refusing to give in to a craving can be uncomfortable, but having the willpower to say no for a matter of minutes can make all the difference in the world.
Understanding your body and utilizing curb-craving tips will allow you to stick to a healthy diet more easily, as well as build healthy eating habits for life.