5 Ways & Tips to Curb Hunger Cravings
By: Dan Graziano, Co-Founder MightyMeals & Personal Trainer
We have all experienced food and hunger cravings at some point in our lives, especially during stressful times, holidays, parties, or moments that bring on emotional or binge eating. Unfortunately, it’s usually unhealthy foods, bad snacks, empty carbs, or sugary sweets that draw us in. There are reasons for our hunger cravings and ways to avoid giving into them. Here are five simple ways to kick cravings to the curb.
1. Fill Up on Protein
Protein has been scientifically proven to be the most filling food source. It is more effective than most foods in keeping you full longer and satisfying hunger and cravings.
“This is partly because protein reduces your level of the hunger hormone ghrelin. It also boosts the levels of peptide YY, a hormone that makes you feel full.
These effects on appetite can be powerful. In one study, increasing protein intake from 15% to 30% of calories made overweight women eat 441 fewer calories each day without intentionally restricting anything.”
If you are looking to lose weight or get rid of belly fat, try replacing some of your carbs and fats with healthy, lean proteins. The best lean protein sources are turkey, chicken, lean beef, beans, salmon, tuna, tofu, low-fat milk, quinoa, edamame, and plain yogurt.
TIP: Use our macronutrient filter to find the right protein, calorie, carb, and healthy fat freshly-made meals for you. Go to our menu and click on FILTER BY MACRO.
2. Plan your Meals and What you Eat
Our lives can be overstressed and rushed, making it too easy to grab the fastest food nearby or whatever someone puts in front of us. Not having a plan for what you should eat, cook, or order opens the door to bad eating habits and unhealthy food cravings. It may sound hard to plan your meals and what you eat but, if you follow these tips, it can be simple:
– Before you eat, know what healthy food options are available. Most restaurants offer healthy options or substitutions.
– Carry healthy snacks with you when traveling or on the go.
– Distance yourself from the foods you crave. Meaning, leave them at the grocery store and don’t bring them home.
– Eliminate meal prep time and have pre-made healthy meals and snacks ready to eat at a craving’s notice. Give our meals a try. All of our fresh, chef-prepared meals are full of craving crushing healthy ingredients from local sources. Find over 100 meal-prepped meals here.
3. Avoid Stress
Stress often depletes our mind and body of energy and nutrients without us even realizing it. Our mind and body react by creating cravings for unhealthy simple carbs/sugars and unhealthy fats. And rightly so. Our body is doing its job in telling us the fastest way to instantly replenish lost energy–through simple carbs. Unfortunately, these are usually the worst for us in the long run. Avoid putting your body and mind into stress mode in the first place by avoiding these sources of stress: lack of sleep; not drinking enough water; consuming too much alcohol, sugar, or simple carbs; and lack of exercise.
TIP: If you need fitness motivation and fun ways to release stress, try out one of our partner gyms, personal trainers, health coaches, and fitness gurus. Find out all about them in our Partner Spotlight blogs.
4. Avoid Simple Sugars/Carbs
Simple carbohydrates–or simple sugars–contain one or two sugar molecules. This makes them easier to digest and absorb when compared to complex carbs. They create instant energy and blood sugar spikes–fast energy sources–but this does not last long. When the boost from these sources drops, so does our energy, and back we go to craving them again. To prevent these unhealthy cravings, avoid foods that contain simple carbs: raw sugar, brown sugar, corn syrup, and high-fructose corn syrup, glucose, fructose, sucrose, and any fruit juice concentrate. These are often found in soda, desserts, baked goods, packaged snacks/cookies, fruit juice, and cereals.
TIP: Looking for healthy treats to satisfy your sweet tooth? Try any of these Mighty Bite cookies, or Berg Bite treats. They are full of complex carbs, plant protein, essential omega-three fats but are low in sugar, dairy-free, vegan, and gluten-free. Bye, bye, sugar spikes! Can they get any better?
5. Consume Complex Carbs
Our body’s primary source of energy is carbs. If we eat don’t eat enough, our body sends us a craving for those fast-acting but unhealthy simple carbs again. To combat this, eat complex carbs instead. Our bodies digest complex carbs more slowly, which makes them more filling. Complex carbs are also higher in fiber–another food source that is digested slowly–making you feel full throughout the day. Many fiber sources are also prebiotic, feeding the good bacteria in your gut. And complex carbs are higher in nutrients. Some of the best sources of complex carbs are most vegetables, asparagus, whole grains (like oats, buckwheat, brown rice, barley, quinoa), wheat bran, beans, lentils, berries, seeds (chia, flaxseeds), and some fruits (bananas, and apples.
TIP: Keep quinoa on hand. Quinoa is one of the healthiest and most nutritious foods on this earth. It is high in fiber, minerals, antioxidants and includes all nine essential amino acids. We feature many chef-prepared meals with quinoa.