Was there ever a time you craved for potato chips that when you didn’t get to eat one, you felt upset?
Food craving is the persistent desire to eat a particular food. It results from emotional or environmental factors and is often for processed or junk food.
Burgers, french fries, chips, chocolate cake — whatever food you think of that contains a high amount of sugar, salt, and fat — they’re all junk food. They defeat your goal of following a healthy diet or losing weight.
Unhealthy food cravings only last for three to five minutes. This means you have the choice. It’s either you give in or you walk away from it.
Stop food cravings and start healthy eating. Easier said than done, right?
There are ways to help you suppress your cravings for unhealthy food. Find our tips below plus a few notes on how your food choices can affect your overall health.
Effects of eating junk food
If you want to eat pizza since the moment you wake up, for sure you’ll grab a slice or two for lunch. And if you can’t wait, you might even have it for breakfast. This uncontrollable desire to eat something is manageable.
You have the power over your cravings. But that can only be true if you have the drive to eat healthier and be more considerate to your body.
Eating processed food and those that contain too much sugar, salt, and fat can lead to unwanted health risks and conditions.
Watch what you eat so you can protect yourself from these long-term effects of eating junk food:
- Heart disease
- Type 2 diabetes
- Digestive problems
- Early death
Why do we crave for junk food
There are days that no matter how you resist that chocolate mousse or that bacon and cheese overloaded pizza, you can’t. You’re trying hard to control yourself but something inside you is telling you to go eat whatever you want.
That’s your brain. It’s making you crave for whatever it tells you to be super delicious. That if you give in, it makes you think you’ll be happy afterward.
The parts of your brain associated with pleasure and reward are what you can blame for wanting to eat that whole bag of sriracha-flavored potato chips.
It could also be because of hormonal imbalance. Ladies, have you observed that when your monthly period is nearing, you crave for something sweet or salty? Hormonal changes cause strong cravings for pregnant women.
When you see an ad from your favorite fast-food chain, the thought of savoring that quarter pounder burger makes your mouth water. The patty that’s oozing with flavor and the texture of the ingredients that play around in your mouth, these lure you to eat it again.
Remembering that pleasurable experience will make you crave for such food repeatedly. Satisfying a craving feels like something you owe yourself. This constant urge leads to unhealthy eating habits.
Ways to stop unhealthy food cravings
How can you eat healthy when these temptations are everywhere? Here are effective ways you can curb your cravings:
1. Have a meal plan
If you really want to stop your unhealthy food cravings, this recommendation is the best one to follow. Plan your meals. There are so many blogs and Instagram accounts that are all about meal planning. Either you copy those meal plans or you create your own.
Healthy meals don’t have to be bland in taste and presentation. You can prepare delicious meals packed with nutrients and less sugar, salt, and fat. This way, you’ll look forward to eating what you prepared yourself instead of craving for processed or junk food.
2. Stay hydrated
There are times we mistook thirst for hunger. If you’re craving for something, wait for a few minutes and see if you really want to eat. If your feeling doesn’t change, drink a large glass of water. Once your stomach feels fuller with water, wait for it to wash away your cravings.
3. Walk away from your cravings
You can take this tip literally. Like when you’re about to pass by your favorite pastry shop, go the opposite direction. Distract yourself. Find another activity that can help you forget about wanting to eat a slice of cake.
4. Avoid getting extremely hungry
You have higher chances of wanting to eat more when you’re too hungry. And the fastest way to fill that empty stomach is, well, fast food. To avoid this, eat on time and have regular healthy snacks throughout the day. Check out tip #1.
5. Eat a protein-rich breakfast
According to a study, a protein-rich meal can help reduce your appetite and cravings for sugar. If you want to avoid those sugary treats, include egg, quinoa, and Greek yogurt in your breakfast.
6. Avoid stress
When you’re stressed out, you think the way to feel better is to eat a sumptuous meal. The food you believe can make you happy are usually the ones with a high amount of sugar. Or those that glisten with too much fat and are bursting with flavor.
Stress eating is another culprit for weight gain. So if you’re dieting, manage your stress and have proper meals.
What’s your comfort food when you’re sad? Do you think eating a bar of Snickers can alter your mood? Emotions can also trigger food cravings. And most of the time, they’re for the less healthy options. Don’t fall for tempting junk food just because you’re sad or frustrated.
7. Get enough sleep
Sleep deprivation causes hormonal imbalance, which, as you know, leads to overeating or food cravings.
What to do when you’re badly craving for an indulgent dessert? You are not forbidden to have one. Truth is, you can eat a triple chocolate cookie when you want — just not every single day.
Eat more of the good stuff more often so your body can have enough nutrients to protect itself from a sudden increase in sugar, salt, or fat levels if you give in to a craving.
Remember that line? You are what you eat. So if you want to be healthy, eat healthy.