Skip Nav

How to Control Food Cravings

Learn How to Control Your Cravings

We are pumped to share one of our favorite stories from Health.com here on our site.



By Tina Haupert

Cravings — we all get them. If you asked me what foods I typically crave, I can always reel off a number of items without hesitation: chewy oatmeal raisin cookies, cheesy loaded nachos, dark chocolate with sea salt, a malty ale . . . just to name a few. While trying to eat better and lose weight, these cravings often became my downfall, until I discovered where they came from and how to control them by simply cleaning up my diet.

There was a time in my life when I ate way too much sugar. In fact, some days I'd "save" my calories just so I could binge on sweets later. So much, in fact, that I experienced crazy mood swings and terrible breakouts because of all of the sugar I was consuming. Clearly this wasn't the best way to shed pounds. I knew something needed to change, so I decided to take control of my cravings once and for all.

Health.com: How the Pros Curb Food Cravings

My cravings were typically the strongest after eating a meal (for something sweet) or in the late afternoon before dinner (for something savory), so I tried to think back to times in my life when I didn't have these urges and suddenly things clicked! I didn't experience them when I ate a well-rounded and satisfying meal. You're probably thinking: "Well, duh," but hear me out.

Keep reading for more on dealing with food cravings.

I realized I was actually craving calories — quality, nutritious, "real" calories that provided plenty of satisfaction. Consuming more calories might sound counterintuitive since I was trying to lose weight, but I found that if I filled up on nutritious foods such as whole grains, fresh fruits and veggies, lean protein, and healthy fats, I didn't get cravings later on. Also, if I got too hungry between meals and my blood sugar dropped too low, I usually craved something carb-y and sweet like a bagel or muffin. I learned if I kept my blood sugar steady by eating regular meals (and snacks) that included protein and good fats, I was able to ward off cravings.

Health.com: Eat (Yes, Eat!) to Lose Weight

In the weeks and months that I followed, I continued to experiment with my meals. It wasn't the easiest journey — there were plenty of times that I gave into my cravings — but eventually I got the hang of it. Now, one of my favorite meals for lunch or dinner is a big salad with all kinds of fiber-rich raw and roasted veggies, two hard boiled eggs, avocado, and a drizzle of truffle oil. The combination of ingredients is equally delicious as it is nutritious and satisfying. I almost never crave something sweet after this meal.

I still experience cravings, but when a craving for something sweet strikes, I don't immediately run to the nearest cookie or brownie. I've found healthy alternatives for my cravings, including fruit smoothies, flavored Greek yogurt with granola, and sweet potato wedges (which I cook ahead of time and keep in my refrigerator for when cravings strike). Sometimes, even just eating a second serving of veggies or salad from lunch or dinner prevents me from reaching for dessert. Each day gets a little easier, and my progress has come a long way. Remaining in control of my cravings (and giving in to them in moderation) is what keeps me on the path to a healthier lifestyle!

Health.com: Rich Desserts For 300 Calories or Less

Source: Thinkstock
Latest Fitness