Check Your Health: Food Cravings - What to do?

Check Your Health - Food Cravings

Overcoming food cravings are often difficult as you are trying to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Michelle Francis, Registered Dietitian Nutritionist with Intermountain Utah Valley Sports Medicine stopped by KUTV to give viewers a few tips to help you manage those cravings.

• Avoid restrictive or rigid dieting. It is unrealistic to cut out entire food groups or types of food. This often results in increased cravings for the foods you are avoiding and feeling of guilt when you give in to those cravings.

• Ask yourself if you are physically hungry. If you have not eaten for several hours, it may be appropriate to have a snack to honor your hunger. You should eat every 2-4 hours to fuel your body properly and to avoid getting overly hungry. Schedule regular snacks and meals.

• If you are not physically hungry, ask yourself, “What do I need?” Many times we turn to food rather than recognizing what is really going on. For example many people eat when they are stressed, bored or sad. Sometimes we even eat when we are procrastinating doing homework or some other project we don’t want to do. It is important create strategies to address the emotion we are feeling rather than turning to food to resolve the emotion.

• Have a Plan. Try the following:

  • Consider if you might be thirsty – drink 8-16 ounces of water first.
  • Consider if you have had enough to eat in the past 4-6 hours. Perhaps select something to eat from a food group you’ve missed during the day.
  • Consider eating a vegetable. You can never get enough!
  • Consider eating an ounce of lean protein. It can tide you over.
  • Consider going outside for some fresh air to escape from the boredom of four walls and “beckoning” cupboards closing in. You might even feel like taking an additional walk!
  • Once you have tried all of the above options, then allow yourself a mindful serving of the food you are craving. Eat it slowly, savor it, include it as part of your daily calorie allowance and enjoy it guilt free! Having a reasonable portion of a food you crave once and a while can prevent the feeling of deprivation and the overindulgence which usually follows.