How to Handle Food Cravings

Reviewed by Taylor Wolfram, MS, RDN, LDN
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What happens when your cravings become overwhelming and lead to overindulgence and feelings of guilt? When people follow restrictive diets or completely cut out groups of foods, cravings can become more intense and can lead to a vicious cycle of indulging, overeating and guilt. A balanced eating plan that allows foods you enjoy — even high-fat, high-calorie foods — will be easier to maintain since you aren't eliminating those foods outright from your life.

If you sometimes crave chocolate, keep some dark chocolate on hand. Eat it mindfully, enjoy the experience and put it away when you're satisfied. When you always have chocolate on hand, you're less likely to overeat it.

Here are other tips for handling food cravings.

  • Schedule your snacks. Plan for nutritious snacks to keep your body biologically fed. Keep portable, nutrient-dense snacks in your desk, backpack or car.
  • Take a walk, work on a hobby or call a friend. When an intense craving hits, take a moment to consider what else you might be needing at that moment. Are you actually hungry or are you bored or lonely?
  • Keep a craving journal. Note the time of day your craving appeared, how long it lasted, the food you craved and how you handled the situation.

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