Firstly, let's note that dietary restrictions definitely make cravings worse. Does this mean it's best to give in to food cravings? That depends on your level of control once you begin eating in different way; of course, it may have an impact! Consider working with the restrictions as best you can to ensure you're covering your nutritional and mineral requirements. If you must give in, are you able to satisfy a chocolate craving with a bit of dark chocolate or honey? - just an example of how to ease into taking control.
1. Taking control
If you are someone whose cravings get out of control (that is, you end up eating half a gallon of ice cream, or a bag of chocolate chips), its challenging. If this describes you, you may begin by cutting down on the availability of your portion sizes, working up to having only portion-controlled amounts of your desired food available in your space. Buy a single slice of cake instead of a whole one; one chocolate-chip cookie instead of baking a batch.
2. Make lower-calorie choices when possible
Will lower-calorie craving choices be as satisfying as the real deal? Definitely if your new choices are great tasting foods and beverages. If you make lower-calorie, lower-fat brownies that taste just as yummy as regular brownies, they'll probably satisfy your fudge brownie craving. If you crave soda try drinking a glass of half diet soda and half real soda. Get the idea?
3. Re-engineering your food environment
Everywhere we turn, our environment seems to be screaming at us to eat more fast junky food food. Unhealthy food is heavily promoted in the media, it's inexpensive, convenient and accessible. This kind of food is engineered to taste good. If you want to re-engineer your life to include a good food environment, you know where to begin!
4. Don't let yourself get too hungry
Apart from deliberate periods of intermittent fasting, what happens when you skip a meal, or refrain from eating when you're truly hungry? Best to avoid being so hungry that you end up overeating to compensate. When too hungry we tend to crave quick-fix foods like candy bars. Eating three meals a day will help to control cravings and binge-type eating.
5. Delight yourself with a cravings journal
If you have a real problem with food cravings, keep a cravings journal for a month. List the times of day you have cravings, the emotions you're feeling at the time, the foods you crave, and what and how much you ate. When you look back through your journal, look for any patterns, such as certain times of day when you tend to experience food cravings. Are there certain emotions or situations that tend to bring them on?
6. Smart carbohydrates to the rescue
Don't Blame the Carbs - people often say that they tend to crave.
addictive carbohydrate foods.
Take a look at what they are craving and it might include
Rich ice cream
Chocolate chip cookies
Macaroni and cheese
When you crave these foods, you're not just craving carbs, you're craving fat too! Cravings that are spurred by emotions are typically for foods containing fat, sugar, or both. Research demonstrates that almost every food on the common ‘craved’ list contains more calories from fat than from carbohydrates.
When we consume carbohydrates, it helps us calm down. So the best way to calm our bodies and yet nourish them is to choose smart and more complex carbs like whole grains, beans and legumes. The simpler ones come from fruits, and lighter vegetables. These foods give your body the carbs it craves along with lasting nutritional power from fiber, phytochemicals, vitamins, and minerals.
Craving a grilled cheese sandwich? Make it with whole-wheat bread and reduced-fat cheddar. Craving chocolate cake? Make it from scratch, substituting whole-wheat flour for half the white flour and cutting the amount of sugar in half. Cut the recipe's fat in half by substituting some fat-free sour cream.
7. Take care of yourself
How about a good dose of nurturing? If we take good care of ourselves day to day, we may be less likely to feel stressed, angry, unhappy, etc. -- and over time, we are less likely to crave comfort foods. If the voice inside you seems to be telling you to indulge in junk food every time you turn around, how about some self-nurturing? Some help with a project, time to yourself, or time to play a little?
Know that bringing ourselves to health and positive nutritional habits is a journey - the more we embrace this journey in love and appreciation for ourselves, the smoother the path.
Here are a few other ways to compensate until you feel you have more control
Treat yourself to a facial
Meet a friend for coffee
Read a good book or magazine. You can trade books and magazines with friends, too
Get a massage. It can come from a friend or spouse too, which makes it free, although you may need to reciprocate
Get a pedicure
Take a hike -- literally!