Curbing Your Food Cravings

If you have food cravings, you are not alone. A food craving is defined as a frequent, specific, and intense desire to eat a particular type of food. Cravings involve a complex mix of cultural, social, and psychological factors. A food craving is different from both hunger and appetite. Hunger reflects the physical need for food and nutrition necessary for our bodies and brain to function while “having an appetite” may be described as an eagerness to eat. 

Food cravings occur for any number of reasons: 

  • External cues, like smelling popcorn when walking into a movie theater.
  • Internal cues, such as happiness or stress.
  • Restricted food intake and/or dieting may contribute to food cravings. 
  • Many studies show that the lack of sleep may increase both appetite and food cravings. 

There are different types of cravings: 

  • Physical cravings may arise when your body truly requires specific nutrients, such as during pregnancy or when there is a deficiency. 
  • Habitual cravings stem from established routines and habits that may be hard to change, like having dessert after dinner. Of note, cravings can subside by consciously being aware and changing routines.
  • Emotional cravings occur when we turn to food for comfort and support. By exploring supportive skills to deal with feelings, cravings can be reduced.

When a craving hits, it can be difficult not to succumb to the food calling your name. Consider some helpful strategies to curb food cravings:

  • Listen to your body. Learn the difference between physical hunger and cravings. Before you start to eat, stop and ask yourself, “Am I really hungry?”
  • Eating balanced meals with healthful snacks during the day can help eliminate the desire for quick fix foods like candy bars and fast food. Try this Cranberry Almond Trail Mix for a boost of energy that will ward off hunger and prevent a craving from crashing in. 
  • Keep in mind that dietary restrictions can often make cravings worse. If you are hankering for chocolate, perhaps a craving can be satisfied with a a fun-size candy bar. If you are someone who cannot control cravings, your best bet is to only have portion-controlled amounts of the desired food on hand. 
  • Learn more about yourself by starting a cravings journal. Note the times you have cravings, the emotions you are experiencing, the foods you yearn for, and what you actually consume. When looking back through your journal, identify patterns, times of day when you tend to experience food cravings and any certain emotions or situations that tend to bring the cravings on. 
  • Make healthier choices when possible. Studies show that dieters are typically satisfied with the taste of a lower-calorie option. For example, this healthy Apple Crumble is a perfect substitute for apple pie.
  • Avoid processed foods. Our bodies often crave high-fat and high-sugar foods to diminish stress. The best way to calm our souls is to push the “junk food” aside and choose “smart carbs” like whole grains, beans, fruits, and vegetables. Swap out traditional chips for these tasty kale chips. 
  • Drink plenty of fluid. Avoid beverages with excessive sugar or a high fat content. This iced tea has just 23 cool and refreshing calories per cup.
  • Use forms of distraction, like taking a walk, chewing gum, or smelling nonfood items  to allow craving to subside. 
  • Take care of yourself. If the voice inside you seems to be telling you to indulge in food cravings, it may be a red flag that you need some support, time to yourself, or time to exercise which can help with controlling cravings. 

In case you were wondering, the top food cravings in America include pizza, chocolate, and chips. People often crave opposite foods from what they typically eat. For example, individuals who usually eat a salty diet may crave sweets. Allowing yourself to indulge in cravings on a moderate or occasional basis can help keep them at bay.

The next time you have a craving for an oatmeal raisin cookie, try these easy No-Bake Oatmeal Raisin Cookie Energy Bites instead. 


  • 1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 1/4 cup ground flaxseed
  • 2 tablespoons chia seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • A pinch of sea salt
  • 1/2 cup creamy almond butter (or and nut butter) 
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup raisins or craisins
  • ¼ cup mini chocolate chips (optional)


  1. In a large bowl, combine the oats, ground flaxseed, chia seeds, cinnamon, and salt.
  2. Place the almond or nut butter in a small microwave safe bowl. Heat in the microwave for 20-30 seconds until soft and slightly melted. Stir until smooth.
  3. Add the honey and vanilla extract to the melted almond butter. Stir until smooth. Pour over the oat mixture and stir until well combined. Stir in the raisins.
  4. Roll the mixture into small balls, about 1-2 tablespoons per ball. Place in an airtight container and keep refrigerated for up to 2 weeks.

Nutrition-based on 12 balls 

Calories: 148kcal, Carbohydrates: 16g, Protein: 4g, Fat: 8g, Sodium: 3mg,  Fiber: 3g, Sugar: 6g

How Can We Help You Today?