Saturday, April 7, 2012

Defend Yourself From Food Cravings

No matter what time of day, we all experience food cravings. From salty, to fatty or sugary. These food cravings can really throw your diet off course. Food cravings can be both psychological and physiological, which makes trying to ignore them very difficult. Follow these tips for a few easy ways to defend yourself against the temptation.

Don't skip meals.
Skipping meals or going longer than 5 hours without eating will cause your blood sugar to drop and your cravings to rise.

Eat breakfast.
Research has shown that people who eat breakfast weigh less than those that do not. People who skip breakfast are more likely to make poor food choices later on in the day.

Stay hydrated.
Dehydration can often be mistaken for hunger. Water can help you feel full and keep your mind off of food cravings. It is important to drink water before you get thirsty. By the time you are thirsty, you are often already dehydrated.

Pick protein.
Eating every meal with a source of lean protein will help you feel fuller, longer and suppress your appetite. Protein also helps control blood sugar.

Brush your teeth.
So simple. Once your mouth is squeaky clean, you aren't going to want to mess it up. Wash those food cravings out of your mouth.

Distract yourself.
We crave food when we are bored, stressed, anxious etc. This is how food cravings become psychological. Find a way to distract yourself to get your mind off the cravings. Read a book, call a friend or go shopping to give yourself something to do. Make it something that you enjoy.

Chew on gum.
Recent studies have shown that chewing on gum can reduce food cravings. Make sure it is sugarless with few, or no, calories.

Exercise gets your mind off food cravings and can help suppress them. Also, after a workout, you aren't going to want to have it go to waste by eating unhealthy. You are more likely to make healthier choices after a workout.

Eliminate refined foods.
Research has shown that people can become addicted to refined foods. White bread, white sugar and white pasta are all examples of refined foods. When this happens, the more you eat, the more you crave. If you eliminate refined foods from your diet, you can reduce your cravings. Replace refined foods with fiber and whole grains.

Eat fiber.
Fiber keeps you fuller, longer and is great for digestion.

Clean out your cupboards/desk.
If you don't have unhealthy foods around, you can't eat them.

Avoid high fructose corn syrup (HFCS).
HFCS is a popular sweetener in foods because it is inexpensive and has a long shelf life. Consuming even a small amount makes you want more.

Katherine Tallmadge, MARD, American Dietetic Association spokeswoman. Ruth Patrick, PhD, LDN, food science communicator, Institute of Food Technologists. Fergus Clydesdale, PhD, distinguished professor and head of food science department, University of Massachusetts. Lisa Dorfman, MSRD, LMHC, American Dietetic Association spokeswoman. WebMD Weight Loss Clinic article: "Are You a Midnight Muncher?" by Kathleen Zelman, MPH, RD, published Sept. 12, 2003.

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