Food cravings are an intense desire to consume a specific food – which is different from normal hunger.

Cravings could be a physiological sign that your body is lacking in a certain nutrient; or hormones might be the driving force behind your urge to find a chocolate bar. Some say that cravings are simply a function of habit.

It’s likely that cravings are a combination of both physiological and situational factors. Since we’re not doctors, we’re not going to get into the physiological reasons why you crave certain foods, but we can address the situational reasons. Let’s start by taking a look at what you crave and some of the reasons why.

Take a moment and ask yourself:

  • What kind of foods do I crave when I’m happy, want to celebrate or reward myself?
  • What about when I’m feeling down, sad, depressed, or something negative has happened
  • Do I eat out of boredom or habit? What types of foods satisfy me in these situations
  • How do I feel while I’m eating these foods?
  • How do I feel afterwards?

Now that you’ve given some thought as to why you might be craving certain foods, here are a few tips that can help you curb those cravings:

Eat – Eat well, and eat often. Feeling deprived, like you’re missing out on something, will lead you to crave that food. By making better choices and having occasional treats, your cravings are likely to decrease. Eat mindfully throughout the day, and don’t let yourself get too hungry – that’s when you’re likely to give in to your cravings.

Distractions – Try and create a diversion so that you aren’t as aware of what you think you’re missing. If you pass by a cafe every day and are tempted by the sweet smell of fresh baked goods, then find an alternate route, or walk on the other side of the street.

Your environment – keep you environment free of the foods you crave. Don’t keep ice cream, chips, chocolate or other foods you crave in the house. If you really want that ice cream, go out for a scoop; or walk to the store to buy a small bag of chips. This approach helps give you pause, to really think about how much you want that item, and it also helps to manage portion sizes.

Have a bite, or two – but leave it at that; don’t eat the whole cake! Use a food trade-off if you really want to have that little something. For example, your co-worker brought in some amazing cookies – how can you not have one? Go ahead, have the cookie, but you’re also going to have a nice salad for lunch or go for a walk.

Manage your feelings – some of us are emotional eaters. If that’s you, it’s important for you to recognize it and manage those feelings first. Your emotional well-being is a priority and should be addressed.

Keep busy and wait – sometimes if you keep yourself busy with something, you can wait out the craving. By busying yourself you can try and ignore the craving and move on – mind over matter 🙂

Lastly, if you remember one thing, it’s that eating mindfully most of the time will allow you to indulge some of the time – without the guilt 🙂

You can also check out this post to see how I handled my doughnut craving.