9 strategies to help you manage your cravings

April 1, 2024

Rather than letting your reactions to stress control your eating habits, you can eat to help control your reactions to stress. 

Here are 9 strategies to help you manage your cravings.

Shot of a young woman sneak up to a piece of cke standing on a table

1. Eat a proper breakfast

Unless you are fasting, it is crucial to nourish your body. Attempting to function without any food can leave your body feeling sluggish. 

To kickstart your metabolism, aim to eat within 30 minutes of waking. This practice helps raise blood sugar levels and provides the energy needed for a productive day.

2. Cut down on coffee

In moderation, caffeine can enhance your mood and boost alertness. However, excessive consumption may result in anxiety and sleep disturbances. 

Caffeine mimics the body’s stress response, elevating heart rate, blood pressure, and brain energy levels. If you’re already feeling stressed, it’s best to avoid further exacerbating your stress levels.

3. Calm yourself with carbs

When experiencing stress, consider increasing your serotonin levels by consuming small portions of low-fat complex carbohydrates.

Examples include bread, pasta, rice, couscous, popcorn, crackers, potatoes, or cereal.

4. Start grazing

If you find it challenging to go more than four hours between meals, consider having a healthy snack. 

By providing a steady supply of glucose to the brain, you’ll prevent negative mood swings, and lesson the likelihood of cravings. 

The best snacks are hard boiled eggs filled with hummus, celery sticks with peanut butter, avocado topped with cracked pepper, greek yoghurt with berries,  vegie sticks with salsa,  ricotta with raspberries. 

5. Eat low-protein to alertness

When you’re feeling tired and sluggish, consider these nutritious energy boosters: chicken lean ham, low-fat yoghurt, cheese, soy milk, tofu and beans.

6. Wait 10 minutes before helping yourself to seconds

Researchers at the University of New South Wales, using magnetic resonance imaging of the brain, discovered that it takes approximately 10 minutes for the brain to suppress appetite signals. 

Try consuming smaller portions, then wait 10 minutes – you might find that you no longer desire additional food.

7. Sip on soup and consume less food

Researchers found that, when women who consume a broth-based soup before lunch, tend to consume around 400 fewer kilojoules during the remainder of the meal compared to when they begin with a non-soup appetizer containing the same ingredients and equivalent kilojoules.

Why? The liquid component of the soup contributes to a feeling of fullness.

8. Be kind to yourself

Avoid staring yourself or depriving yourself of what genuinely satisfies you.

If you crave chocolate, consider satisfying the craving with non-fat chewing gum or low-kilojoule jelly initially. 

However, if your craving only be satisfied by the real deal, opt for a small portion. 

It’s wise to occasionally indulge rather than completely avoiding craving and risking overindulgence.

9. Take five and relax

When stress hits and you’re tempted to reach for a chocolate bar to lift your spirits, consider taking a brisk walk or climbing stairs for five minutes instead. 

When you’re stressed and you feel like you need a chocolate bar to perk you up, go for a walk, or climb stairs for five minutes instead.

This activity is likely to rejuvenate and re-energise you until you can a proper meal.

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