We all experience strong food cravings and find ourselves digging into that large bag of chips or indulging in a big piece of chocolate cake! Next time this happens, rather than beat yourself up about it, ask yourself some of the questions below:

Am I stressed out &/or upset?
Am I eating out of boredom &/or loneliness?
Am I on a restrictive diet? Am I eating enough?
Am I sleeping properly?
Am I premenstrual?

Once you have an answer, you can manage your cravings better…and remember cravings are normal and NO willpower isn’t the solution!

Here are a few tricks we use to help us cope with cravings when they hit:

Eat Healthy & Eat Enough
Restrictive diets can lead to stronger food cravings and bingeing; which may in turn make you feel guilty and cause you to restrict your food intake even further, it’s a viscous cycle! Instead of diets and quick weight loss fixes, eat healthy, frequent meals with the right combination of complex carbohydrates, lean protein and healthy fats. Eat in moderation without skipping meals

Give in a Little
Resisting or depriving yourself only increases your cravings. Avoid labelling food as “good” or “bad” or “forbidden”. Accepting your cravings, rather than trying to fight them, is one of the most effective ways for modifying your response to food. Eat what you feel like but in sensible amounts.

Eat Mindfully
When it comes to food cravings, always eat slowly using all your senses. Savor your food. Mindful eating means that you are making a conscious choice to eat and not eating out of impulse or habit.

Avoid Triggers and Temptations
Limit stimulants like sugar, caffeine, alcohol, processed food, energy drinks and artificial sweeteners. Avoid temptations around the house and stock up on healthy food items like nuts, seeds, fruits, vegetables and yogurt.

Adopt the 3 D’s Strategy! Delay. Distract. Deflect

Delay your Cravings
Some cravings and urges disappear with time, generally cravings last about ten minutes.

Distract Yourself
Keep yourself busy with activities like doing chores around the house, reading a good book, calling a friend on the phone, going for a walk, watching a movie, taking a hot bath or pampering yourself with a massage.

Sometimes we mistake thirst for hunger and simply drinking water or herbal teas would do the trick. To help with sweet cravings, add a teaspoon of honey, somelemon juice or fresh fruit cuts to your beverage.

Food cravings are common; we all get them and it’s OK to give into them sometimes and at other times be prepared for them. Avoid temptations, eat well, change your routine, drink more water, and eat mindfully.