Cravings can happen for a number of reasons, and the key isn’t trying to rely on will power in order to combat them, but find out the cause.
The top causes of food cravings are:
- Lack of sleep. Not getting enough shut-eye can cause cravings for foods that are high in energy i.e. fatty and sugary foods, so if you’re trying to lose weight then aim for at least 7 hours of sleep a night. Sleep helps to regulate our hunger hormones, leaving you more in control of your food choices the following day.
- Not drinking enough. Your brain is clever, but it’s not that clever. Thirst and hunger can often be confused, so the next time that you’re craving food try having a glass of water, tea or coffee first. You should aim to drink at least 1.2 litres of fluid a day (6 x 200ml glasses), and more in warmer weather or if you are exercising – water, tea, coffee, milk, squash all count.
- Stomach Hunger. Losing weight isn’t about starving yourself; it’s about eating fewer calories than what you are burning off. Regular meals are essential to control hunger levels and if you know that you get peckish in between then plan for this by having healthy snacks such as fruit or a few unsalted nuts to hand. If you fill your cupboards with healthy food then you will eat healthy food.
- Head hunger. Head hunger refers to those ‘I feel peckish’ moments, when you know you’ve just eaten. Boredom can be a trigger for head hunger and the best way to avoid it is to keep your hands busy and keep distracted. Have a list of things stuck on your fridge door that you could be doing instead of mindlessly munching.
- The ‘See Food’ Diet. It takes a heck of a lot more will-power to not eat the biscuits in the biscuit tin on the kitchen top, than it is to eat the biscuits that are on sale in the shop down the road. You get my point.. if we see food then we may automatically begin to think about it and crave it. If you know that you tend to eat the food that you see, make sure to keep high fat/sugar food out of site and put healthy, easy to eat foods in site i.e. keep a bowl of fresh fruit out on the side and have healthy snacks such as boiled eggs or raw crudités at the front of your cupboards or fridge.
By Uk Specialist Dietitian Nichola Whitehead from NicsNutrition.com