Beat Unhealthy Food Cravings & Build Better Habits
If you are on any kind of healthy eating plan and have recently made a change to your diet, it is inevitable that you will experience cravings for the types of food your body has become accustomed to.
Eliminating sweet, starchy foods and replacing them with more vegetables, fruit and healthy grains is a fantastic step towards better health and both feeling and looking better. It is, however, quite an adjustment for your taste buds.
Fortunately, there are ways to train yourself to truly love healthy foods, replace naughty treats with healthier versions, beat the cravings and form better diet habits. Here are some helpful tips to keep you on track with a healthy diet.
Make Your Breakfast A Healthy One
There is little time to be very imaginative at breakfast and we often fall into a rut, eating the same thing every morning. Repeating a routine of eating cereals laden with sugar or white toast smothered in butter means we are regularly feeding our bodies unhealthy foods.
Changing up your breakfast is a really easy way
to make a sustained change to your eating habits
Porridge is high in protein and will keep you full all morning. To lower the fat content, (although we do need some healthy fats) substitute full fat milk for almond milk.
For an easy and delicious way to get one or two of your five a day, add a handful of blueberries and chopped banana and you will have ticked off two of your five a day before you even leave the house. This is an easy habit to get in to.
Fruit does still contain a lot of sugar, but it is also full of nutrition and a much better alternative processed sugars like syrup, bread and of course granulated sugar.
Satisfy Cravings With Healthy Substitutes
Eating healthier versions of what you love to eat but know is unhealthy will help you to feel as though you aren’t completely depriving yourself and will keep you on track.
- Egg fried rice can be made with a recipe which uses grated cauliflower instead of rice
- Chocolate ice cream can be made by whizzing up frozen banana with cocoa powder and a little peanut butter in the blender
Allow yourself a little of what you fancy now and then
to avoid spectacularly falling off the wagon at a later date
Drink Lots Of Water
Sometimes hunger signals can get confused with thirst. When you start to feel hungry, drink a glass of water and wait twenty minutes to see if your craving have disappeared. At the very least you may eat less / plus most people don’t drink enough water anyway.
Once you acquire a taste for plain water you will be much less likely to over-consume on fizzy drinks, soda and fruit juices, which are all full of sugar.
Find Healthy Foods That You Love
Eating healthily doesn’t need to be a chore. Where previously you would have reached for chocolate, reach instead for blueberries drizzled in honey or strawberries and Greek yogurt.
Once you’ve been eating well for a little while, the sugar and fat cravings will die down and your taste buds will be more sensitive to the delicious taste of juicy fruits and vibrant vegetables. Eventually, you’ll start to crave these instead!
Be aware of the way you cook food
The difference in calorie and fat intake depending
on the cooking method you choose can vary dramatically
Being aware of this can help you to make better choices on a daily basis. Be mindful of the way you prepare food. Implementing small changes to your routine will really make a difference over time and will lead to you forming good habits.
- Use a small amount of a healthy nut oil for frying
- Grill bacon and chicken instead of frying it
- Steam vegetables instead of roasting them with oil
- Use a griddle pan which siphons away fat to cook meat
- Poach chicken breasts- this is the healthiest way to cook them
Opt For Wholegrain
Avoiding all of the white/beige foods in favour of their brown versions is a simple substitution to make and a healthy habit to get into. Whenever you would usually use white pasta, which is calorific and high in carbohydrates, opt instead for wholegrain which will give you slow release energy and doesn’t spike your blood sugar levels. The same goes for bread and rice.
These foods generally contain a much higher proportion of fibre and nutrients with a slightly lower calorie value and as a result you are likely to eat less and still get an increased nutritional benefit.
Don’t Get Ravenous
You may think that you are doing really well by eating tiny portions during the day but allowing yourself to get really hungry only makes you more likely to crave all the bad stuff that will satisfy you instantly.
Eating well doesn’t ever need to mean feeling hungry. If you ever feel a bit peckish before a meal, simply fill up on the good stuff. A handful of cashew nuts, a few cherry tomatoes, a piece of fruit or some crudités with a little low fat hummus will curb your cravings, with the added bonus of tasting delicious!
The risk with getting very hungry is that you will lose the ability to make good food decisions. Instead, keep yourself full with healthy veg and you will not find yourself craving bread, pasta and sweets!
About The Author
Jesse Andrews is a fitness expert who works for Seven Seas. When he’s not out and about he spends his time writing about nutrition and enjoying healthy food. He loves action sports like rock climbing and going to the gym. Click here to learn more about Seven Seas.