4 TIPS TO BUST CRAVINGS

Cecile Niebuhr, RD(SA)

Have you ever tried to adapt a healthier eating pattern, only to find that maintaining these new practices are difficult due to cravings? You are not alone! It is something we as dietitians see almost every day! Fortunately, there are a few easy ways to crack these cravings!

1.   DIET:

  1. Making sure to not skip meals – especially breakfast, is an important component in preventing cravings. Studies have shown that eating a proper breakfast, especially one with protein in it can significantly reduce cravings, particularly at night.
    1. Small frequent meals that have protein and vegetables in it helps you to feel fuller and therefore less likely to snack.
    1. Being prepared and having packed lunch and snacks can help to reduce impulsive (and often) unhealthy food choices.

2.   ADDRESS STRESS:

  1. Stress is a factor that can lower our inhibitions and ability to make good food choices. It can increase the ‘reward’ sensation that we can get with eating foods that can induce cravings and amplify the intensity of cravings.
    1. Engaging in prayer, meditation or speaking to a trusted friend or loved one can help relieve feelings of stress or anxiety.
    1. Regular exercise helps in the release of feel good hormones that can curb feelings of stress.
    1. Seeking professional help like a counsellor or psychologist can help address underlying issues that contribute towards underlying stress.

3.   BUILD UP A GOOD SLEEP PATTERN

  1. Adults need 7-9 hours rest every night in order to recharge and to be prepared to deal with negative emotions. Poor sleep patterns reduce our ability to make good lifestyle choices and deal with negative emotions properly.
    1. Practises like reducing blue light exposure (screen time – phones, laptops, Tv etc) one to two hours before sleep can help in better sleep quality.
    1. Reducing large meals (particularly high in fat and red meat), caffeine and alcohol intake before sleep can also improve sleep duration and quality.

4.   PLAN A VISIT TO YOUR GP:

  1. Underlying medical conditions (particularly hormone imbalances) can play a huge role in regulating our appetite and therefore predispose us to cravings.
    1. Nutritional deficiencies can manifest themselves as cravings for completely different foodstuffs.
    1. A qualified medical practitioner can help you in identifying any underlying problems as well as an effective treatment protocol.

Don’t allow cravings to get to you…

About the author:

Tanya has been providing dietary guidance since 2009 as a registered dietician licensed in South Africa. Her goal is to help patients understand the connection between diet and diagnosis for improved nutritional well being.

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