Do you often experience a strong urge to eat something unhealthy which persists till you actually give in to that craving and end up regretting each time? Eating more than your body requires and consuming high calorie and high fat diet frequently could lead to disastrous consequences for your health over a period of time. Pregnancy is known to be one such phase when expecting mothers tend to crave a specific kind of food. There could be other factors too which can cause food cravings from PMS, lack of sleep, poor nutrition and hydration, eating processed foods. Stress and mood swings could also trigger unhealthy cravings. (Also read: Intense exercise during diet can help reduce fatty food cravings, says new study)
Gurpreet Kaur, Senior Clinical Nutritionist, Cloudnine Group of Hospitals, Chandigarh suggests natural ways to get rid of food cravings and avoiding health issues.
1. Drink plenty of healthy liquids: Consuming water between the meals may decrease the intensity of food cravings and appetite. It helps in shedding extra kilos. Include 2-2.5 litre of water, buttermilk, lemon water, daal soups & veg soups (all homemade) in your diet.
2. Increase protein intake: High protein diet aids in keeping you full and satiated for a long time. Also include fibre in your diet which are great source of energy. Some protein sources are eggs, chicken, low fat milk & curd, lentils, pulses, soy products. All vegetable and fruits are good source of fibre.
3. Avoid Stress: Stress increases the level of cortisol hormone which could let to weight gain. To avoid stress practice mindfulness and breathing exercises, distract yourself from stressors. Eat healthy food to balance your hunger hormones such as whole grains protein fresh fruits and vegetables.
4. Avoid fad or crash diets: These diets make you starve yourself and you are likely to crave and as a result end up gaining extra weight instead of losing it. If you still feel hungry you can indulge on natural sugars like fruits such as banana, grapes, berries, apple or you can add fruit curd smoothies as well.
5. Get sufficient sleep: Lack of sleep could lead to imbalance of body hormones. This imbalance can cause food cravings and overeating, so it is very important to sleep and wake up on a proper time. Also, try to eat meals at the same time daily and avoid eating heavy meals after sunset as your metabolism slows down at that time.
6. Eat nutritious and balanced diet: When we are dieting, we are more likely to crave unhealthy food items. So, try to incorporate nutrition-dense food items such as nuts, fruits, vegetables, whole grains, protein sources etc. Try to eat small frequent meals in small potions.
7. Don’t be hard on yourself: Never get disappointed if you take cheat meals sometime while losing weight. In fact, you can allow yourself for small indulgences and it could encourage you to continue with your diet. But make sure you eat only one favourite meal in a week.