Craving Unhealthy Foods? What You Can Do to Stop | STACK

Craving Unhealthy Foods? What You Can Do to Stop

January 21, 2013 | Kait Fortunato

Must See Nutrition Videos

When it comes to eating well, most people have good intentions. The problem arises when all of a sudden they get an urge for something sweet—and everything goes out the window. Cravings are one of the hardest things to manage, but luckily good eating habits can prevent cravings from coming up in the first place. Here are five ways to stop cravings in their tracks.

Eat breakfast


When you skip breakfast, or any meal for that matter, your blood sugars drop, causing your body to crave sugar for a burst of energy. In fact, "fasting" of any kind causes the body to seek out high calorie foods to make up for the deficit. (See Why Intermittent Fasting Is Unsuitable for Athletes.)

Balance carbohydrates and protein


Not only is when you eat important, but balancing meals properly makes a huge difference in terms of curbing cravings. Eating carbohydrates without protein causes your blood sugars to spike and crash. You need to balance and stabilize them with a protein source. Protein also keeps you feeling fuller longer to prevent cravings. (Read How Protein and Carbs Work Together.)

Keep healthy snacks with you

As we discussed, cravings often arise when we go too long without eating or simply feel hungry. Having healthy snacks with you prevents you from thinking about other sweets and treats that are not as healthy.

Don't restrict foods

Even those who are trying to lose weight should never totally eliminate fun foods. If you cut out eating ice cream, it's often all you think about, and it can sometimes cause you to splurge and overeat later. Eat modest servings of your favorite foods once in awhile so you will not crave them.

Add variety to your diet


If you eat the same things for most meals, you'll get bored and your mind will wander to those cravings. Plan different meals using various spices, textures, temperatures and so forth so your taste buds are constantly engaged.

Photo: alphamom.com

Kait Fortunato
- Kait Fortunato is a registered dietitian at Rebecca Bitzer & Associates, a large and experienced nutrition practice in Maryland. She focuses on individualized nutritional recommendations...
Kait Fortunato
- Kait Fortunato is a registered dietitian at Rebecca Bitzer & Associates, a large and experienced nutrition practice in Maryland. She focuses on individualized nutritional recommendations...
More Cool Stuff You'll Like

6 Eating Mistakes That Undo Your Workouts

Why You Need Dietary Fiber

Fuel Up Fast With 4 Smoothies From the New York Giants

5 Delicious Ways to Make Junk Food Less Junky

5 Foods That Are Stunningly High in Sodium

3 Nutrition Mistakes Endurance Athletes Make and How to Fix Them

A Sneaky Food Additive Athletes Should Avoid

Tips for Healthy Weight Gain

5 Protein-Packed Recovery Shakes

9 Athlete-Approved Peanut Butter Sandwiches

Vegetarian Athlete Tips: Olympic Swimmer Kate Ziegler

Are You Eating Too Much Protein?

How to Eat Organic Without Breaking the Bank

5 Ways to Fuel Your Early Morning Workout

5 Ways Junk Food Can Mess With Your Head

5 Nutritional Power Combos for Athletes

3 Fruits and 3 Vegetables Athletes Must Eat

The Case for Red Meat

Where the Paleo Diet Falls Short

You Should Eat the Peel of These 12 Fruits and Vegetables

Healthy (and Unhealthy) BBQ Ideas For Athletes

11 Food Services That Deliver Ready-Made Nutritious Meals

Load Up on These Foods at Your Backyard Barbecue

12 Foods Every Athlete Should Eat

Spice Up Your Healthy Cooking With These Lively Combos

Living Near Fast Food Could Increase Your Odds of Obesity

Foods for Athletes: Top Trends for 2014

The Cheat Meal Day: Why It's Not So Smart

The Healthiest (And Unhealthiest) Ways to Eat Chicken

10 Easy Ways to Eat Real Food

5 'Healthy' Side Dishes That Are Worse Than French Fries

How to Deal With Your Sugar Cravings

The Boston Cannons'

5 Non-Boring Ways To Eat Chicken

Salad Showdown: Which Greens Are the Healthiest?

Brown Rice vs. White Rice: Does It Really Matter?

Diet Changes: 5 Tips to Help You Stick to Your Plan

4 'Bad Foods' That Might be Good for You

5 'Good Foods' That Might Be Bad for You

How Undereating Can Make You Gain Weight

5 Healthy Foods That Got a Bad Rap

The 6 Worst Foods for Athletes

7 Foods That Are Ruining Your Workouts

How Friends and Family Affect Your Food Choices

Healthy Makeovers for 3 Classic Meals

Terrible Toppings: The 5 Worst Things We Put on Food

The Best Foods for Digestive Health

STUDY: Eat More Fruits and Veggies, Live (Almost) Forever