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Constant Cravings and How to Tame Them

Wouldn’t life be simpler if instead of craving cakes and chocolate your body cried out for lettuce?

But unless you’re Bugs Bunny, that’s never going to happen.

The good news is that there are ways to control your cravings so they don’t lead to unhealthy eating habits and an expanding waistline.

Read on to find out more.

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Prevention is better than a cure

At 10 am it’s chocolate, by noon it’s KFC, at 3 pm you can’t live without that Coke, and by 9 pm you’re spoon-deep in a tub of ice cream. Sound too familiar? If you feel like you’re constantly craving one food or another, it’s very likely that you’re simply not eating properly.

First, you may just be hungry. Do you get enough calories from protein, healthy fats and carbohydrates? Do you eat at fairly regular intervals? When you’re hungry, you’re more likely to crave high-calorie, high-fat foods. Cravings are also often related to dips in blood sugar levels, which happen when you don’t eat regularly enough. If you experience a dip in blood sugar, you’re likely to look for a quick fix in the form of chocolate or other sweet treat.

Eating regular, well-balanced meals, with plenty of low-fat protein (eggs, fish, lean meat, legumes, leafy greens) will ensure that your blood sugar levels are stable and that you are getting the calories your body requires throughout the day. This can make a huge difference to getting your cravings under control.

Smart snacking on fruit, nuts, seeds (pumpkin, sunflower etc.) chopped vegetables, homemade soup, yoghurt or low-fat cheese will also help you prevent a mid-afternoon blood-sugar slump and the cravings that accompany it.

Also keep in mind that lack of certain nutrients can lead to cravings. For example, lack of protein may cause you to crave ice cream, lack of carbohydrates may cause you to crave fries, and so on. The same goes for micronutrients – chocolate contains zinc and magnesium, so your afternoon Mars bar may simply be satisfying a physiological need for more broccoli. Although if you’re craving chocolate, sometimes no other food will hit the spot – there’s a reason Cadbury doesn’t make a broccoli bar!

No “no-no” foods

When people want to lose weight or change their eating habits, they often deem certain foods “forbidden”. This may seem noble, but in reality it’s just a set-up for cravings. Saying “I’m never going to eat any chocolate at all” is a sure-fire way to end up craving it a week later. It’s better to have the occasional, planned treat than to deny yourself a food altogether.

Restricting a certain food group, such as carbohydrates, also pretty much gurantees a craving. For example, if you eliminate bread from your diet for an extended period of time, it's bread that you’re most likely to crave.

Staying interested in what you’re eating is key to preventing cravings. A monotonous, boring diet in which you only eat certain foods will inevitably lead to cravings.

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