12 Effective Ways To Control Food Cravings

  • postauthorEditorial Staff
  • postdateJune 11, 2024
  • postreadtime10 min read
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Food Cravings

Ever find yourself irresistibly drawn to a chocolate bar or a bag of chips? These intense desires, known as food cravings, often lead us to consume high-sugar, high-salt, or high-fat foods. These cravings are triggered by various factors, including stress, emotions, and hormonal imbalances. Controlling food cravings is crucial for maintaining a balanced diet and achieving weight management goals.

This blog offers 12 effective strategies for managing food cravings, emphasising the significance of handling cravings to support overall health and dietary adherence.

What Are Food Cravings?

Food cravings are an extreme urge to consume specific foods, often high in sugar, fat, or calories, that go beyond normal hunger. They are triggered by various factors like stress, emotions, hormonal changes, or habits rather than physical needs. Cravings typically involve energy-dense foods like chocolate, sweets, and savoury snacks

For example, an imbalance in hormones like leptin and serotonin, as well as the brain’s appetite centers, can lead to food cravings.

Also, Read: How to Build Your Customized Diet Plan?

Difference Between Hunger and Cravings

The main differences between hunger and cravings are:

Aspect Hunger Cravings
Physical symptoms Hunger is accompanied by physical symptoms like stomach growling, dizziness, and weakness Cravings do not necessarily involve these symptoms.
Specificity of food Hunger can be satisfied by a range of foods. Cravings are often specific to a particular type of food
Timing Hunger typically sets in after several hours without food. Cravings can occur at any time and are often unrelated to meal times.
Emotional component Hunger is primarily a biological response. Cravings often have a strong emotional component, such as seeking comfort or relief.

Psychological Factors That Contribute to Food Cravings

Psychological factors contributing to food cravings include stress, emotional states, personality traits, eating context, and mood. Stress can elevate cortisol levels, leading to hunger and cravings, while impulsive or addictive personalities may be more prone to it. Specific moods, like negative emotions, can trigger cravings for comfort foods.

Additionally, the brain can associate certain foods with specific contexts, leading to cravings in similar situations. Understanding these psychological triggers can help if you want to identify and help manage it effectively, promoting healthier eating habits and overall well-being.

Quick Read: How To Overcome Stress Eating Disorder?

Common Triggers of Food Cravings

Common triggers of craving for food can vary among individuals but often include environmental, emotional, hormonal, and physiological factors. Environmental triggers, such as the sight, smell, or sound of food, can play a significant role in driving food cravings.

Emotional factors like stress, sadness, or deprivation can also prompt cravings for specific foods. Hormonal fluctuations, such as those during the menstrual cycle or pregnancy, are known to trigger cravings.

Additionally, physiological factors like an imbalance in hormones (e.g., leptin and serotonin) and the brain’s reward system can contribute to food cravings. Moreover, certain personality traits like impulsivity may make individuals more prone to experiencing food cravings.

Related Read: Top 6 Nutrients & Their Source Of Foods During Pregnancy

12 Effective Ways to Stop Food Cravings

how to control food cravings

1. Eat enough calories

Eating enough calories is essential if you want to prevent extreme hunger that can lead to intense food cravings. When the body is deprived of adequate energy, it may signal a craving for high-calorie, often unhealthy foods to satisfy its needs.


  • Helps maintain stable blood sugar levels.
  • Supports overall energy balance and metabolism.
  • Reduces the likelihood of intense craving for unhealthy foods.


  • Choose balanced meals that have a mix of healthy fats, carbohydrates and proteins.
  • Learn to listen to your body for hunger cues and eat when hungry.
  • Avoid prolonged periods of fasting to prevent extreme hunger and subsequent.

Also, Read: Diabetes Management: Types, Symptoms, Tests and Treatments

2. Avoid restrictive diets

Restrictive diets that eliminate entire food groups or severely limit calorie intake can lead to nutrient deficiencies and intense cravings. When the body is deprived of certain foods or nutrients, it may signal a craving for those specific items.


  • Assists in a balanced, sustainable way of eating.
  • Reduces the risk of nutrient deficiencies.
  • Helps maintain a healthy relationship with food.


  • Emphasis on making gradual and manageable changes to your diet.
  • Incorporate all food groups in moderation.
  • Consult with a registered dietitian or healthcare professional to develop a personalised eating plan.

Suggested Read: Tips for Postnatal Diet

3. Don’t let yourself get ravenously hungry

Allowing yourself to become extremely hungry can trigger intense cravings to eat food, especially for high-calorie, quick-energy foods. When you reach a state of extreme hunger, your body may crave foods that provide a rapid source of energy to satisfy its immediate needs.


  • It helps regulate appetite and prevent overeating.
  • Supports stable blood sugar levels and energy throughout the day.
  • Lowers the possibility of impulsive, and unhealthy choices of food.


  • Eat regular, balanced meals and snacks to maintain steady energy levels.
  • Carry healthy snacks with you to prevent extreme hunger when on-the-go.
  • Listen to your body’s hunger cues and eat when you start to feel hungry to avoid reaching a ravenous state.

4. Eat filling, nutrient-dense foods

When chose to eat filling, nutrient-dense foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins you can help satisfy hunger and if you have increased cravings. These foods provide essential nutrients, fiber, and protein, promoting satiety and preventing excessive snacking on high-calorie, low-nutrient foods.


  • Supports weight management and overall health.
  • Helps control appetite and cravings.
  • Provides sustained energy levels.


  • Ensure a variety of fruits and vegetables in your meals.
  • Consider whole grains such as oats, quinoa and brown rice.
  • Incorporate lean proteins such as chicken, fish, tofu, or legumes.

Also, Read: 5 Quick and easy to cook High Protein Recipes

5. Stop eating highly palatable foods

Choosing highly palatable foods, often high in sugar, salt, and fat, can trigger intense cravings & lead to overconsumption. These foods stimulate the brain’s reward centers, creating a cycle of cravings & potential overeating.


  • Reduces cravings for unhealthy foods.
  • Supports better control over food intake.
  • Promotes healthier eating habits.


  • Limit exposure to highly processed and sugary foods.
  • Opt for whole, minimally processed foods.
  • Practice mindful eating to savour flavours and textures without overindulging.

Quick Read: Daily Protein Intake For A Healthy Body

6. Maintain a healthy body weight

Maintaining a healthy body weight through a balanced diet and regular exercise can help regulate hunger and cravings. Excess weight may contribute to increased food cravings & make it more challenging to control them.


  • Supports overall health and well-being.
  • It helps manage hunger and cravings.
  • Reduces the risk of chronic diseases.


  • Focus on making sustainable lifestyle changes.
  • Engage in regular physical activity.
  • Work with a healthcare professional to develop a personalised plan.

Related Read: 10 Best Health and Fitness Apps

7. Drink water before meals

By drinking water before meals you can help reduce hunger and cravings by promoting a feeling of fullness. Staying hydrated throughout the day can also help distinguish between true hunger and thirst.


  • Supports weight management by reducing calorie intake.
  • Helps control appetite and cravings.
  • Promotes overall health and hydration.


  • Drink water 15-30 minutes before each meal. Ideally, you should carry a bottle of water throughout the day.
  • Flavour water with fresh fruits or herbs for added taste.

8. Eat more protein

Including adequate protein in your meals can help increase feelings of fullness and reduce cravings. Protein takes longer to digest than carbohydrates, promoting satiety and helping control appetite.


  • Supports muscle maintenance and metabolism.
  • It helps regulate hunger hormones.
  • Reduces cravings for high-calorie foods.


  • Include protein-rich foods such as lean meats, eggs, dairy, legumes, and nuts in your meals.
  • Aim for a balanced protein, carbohydrates, and fats in each meal.
  • Consider protein-rich snacks to curb cravings between meals.

Related Read: Daily Protein Intake For A Healthy Body

9. Plan your meals

By meal planning, you can help prevent impulsive food choices and reduce the likelihood of giving in to cravings. Having nutritious meals and snacks prepared in advance can support healthier eating habits.


  • Promotes balanced nutrition and portion control.
  • Reduces reliance on convenience or unhealthy foods.
  • It helps manage cravings by having healthy options readily available.


  • Schedule time for meal planning and preparation each week.
  • Create a grocery list based on planned meals.
  • Batch cook or prepare meals in advance for busy days.

Quick Read: Intermittent Fasting for Beginners

10. Eat mindfully

Practicing mindful eating involves paying attention to your food, savouring each bite, and being aware of hunger and fullness cues. This approach can help prevent overeating, reduce cravings, and promote a healthier relationship with food.


  • Enhances enjoyment of meals.
  • Supports better digestion and nutrient absorption.
  • It helps control portion sizes and prevent mindless snacking.


  • Eat slowly and without distractions.
  • Chew your food thoroughly.
  • Listen to your body’s hunger and fullness signals.

Also, Read: 3 Effective and Natural Ways to Boost Immunity

11. Avoid grocery shopping when hungry

Shopping for groceries if you are hungry can lead to impulsive purchases of high-calorie, craving-inducing foods. Hunger can cloud your judgment and make it harder to stick to your shopping list and healthy eating goals.


  • Reduces temptation if you’re buying unhealthy foods.
  • Promotes sticking to a grocery list and budget.
  • Supports healthier food choices.


  • Eat a nutritious snack before going grocery shopping.
  • Make a detailed grocery list and stick to it.
  • Shop the perimeter of the store, focusing on whole, nutrient-dense foods.

Suggested Read: Pregnancy Diet: Foods To Eat During Pregnancy

12. Get enough sleep

Adequate sleep plays a crucial role if you desire to regulate hunger hormones and weight control. Lack of sleep can disrupt these hormones, leading to increased cravings for high-calorie foods and unhealthy eating patterns.


  • Supports hormone balance and metabolism.
  • It helps regulate appetite and cravings.
  • Promotes overall health and well-being.’


  • Aim for 7-9 hours of quality sleep each night.
  • Establish a bedtime routine to improve sleep quality.
  • Create a relaxing sleep environment to enhance restful sleep.

Also, Read: The Importance of Routine Sleep

Why Are Cravings So Tempting at Night?

Cravings are more likely to be tempting at night due to several factors the circadian system increases hunger and cravings for sweet, starchy and salty foods in the evenings. If you’re to stay up, you are more likely to be exposed to artificial light, which can make you sleepy and contribute to weight gain.

Eating higher-calorie foods at night is counterproductive for weight loss, as the body makes you handle nutrients differently depending on the time of day.

Common Myths About Food Cravings:

Myth 1: Cravings are just about willpower.
Fact: Cravings are influenced by biological, psychological, and environmental factors, not just willpower.

Myth 2: Only women experience cravings.
Fact: Cravings affect everyone, though they may be more commonly reported by women due to hormonal influences.

How to Replace Cravings with Alternatives?

To manage your food cravings with healthier alternatives, which can lead to weight loss you are to consider the following options such as:

  • Potato Chips: Swap chips for salted cashews or peanuts, which are higher in healthful fats and protein. Opt for unsalted nuts for a healthier choice, which can result in weight loss. Air-popped popcorn is also a good alternative.
  • Chocolate: Choose dark chocolate with at least 70% cocoa for its antioxidant content. Its intense flavour can satisfy cravings with a smaller portion.
  • Candy or Pastries: Replace sugary treats with sweet fruits such as peaches, cherries, or melons. Dried fruits like prunes or raisins can also be convenient alternatives.
  • Soda: Substitute soda with sparkling water mixed with a splash of fruit juice or a slice of citrus for a similar fizzy sensation with fewer calories and less sugar.
  • Cheese: Opt for low-fat, low-sodium cheese varieties or use nutritional yeast for a savoury, cheesy flavour rich in B-complex vitamins and folic acid.

These alternatives provide healthier options to satisfy cravings while offering nutritional benefits and helping to manage overall calorie intake. Making these substitutions can support a balanced diet and aid in reducing the consumption of less nutritious, high-calorie foods that can make you often have cravings.

Also, Read: Benefits of Running in the Morning

How Onsurity’s Healthcare Plan to Help You Stay Fit?

Onsurity’s healthcare plan aims to help individuals stay fit by offering comprehensive wellness benefits for employees and their families. The plan includes features like discounted health check-ups, medicine delivery, fitness tracking, and group health insurance, promoting holistic health encompassing physical, mental, and emotional well-being.

By providing access to a range of health and wellness services, Onsurity’s plan supports individuals in maintaining their fitness and overall well-being.


In conclusion, managing your cravings for food is crucial for maintaining a balanced diet and achieving weight management goals. By implementing strategies like eating enough calories, avoiding restrictive diets, staying hydrated, and practicing mindful eating, individuals can effectively control cravings and make healthier food choices.

Onsurity’s healthcare plan supports employees in staying fit by offering comprehensive wellness benefits.


1. How to control food cravings?
To control food cravings avoid keeping fast food at home, cook at home, and opt for healthier snacks with textures and flavours you enjoy.
2. What causes food cravings?
Factors like stress, emotions, and nutrient deficiencies can trigger food cravings, leading to make you have desire for specific foods.
3. How do you detox from food cravings?
Detox from food cravings by staying hydrated, eating balanced meals, and replacing unhealthy snacks with nutritious alternatives.
4. What should I eat if I crave junk food?
Opt for sweet fruits, nuts, dark chocolate, or sparkling water with fruit juice which can help control your food cravings.
5. Why do I crave junk food?
Junk food is designed to make you addicted, stimulating the brain’s reward system like drugs, leading to cravings and overconsumption.
6. What cravings mean your body needs?
Cravings can indicate nutrient deficiencies, dehydration, stress, or emotional needs, highlighting areas for potential improvement in health.
7. Specific foods to reduce food cravings?
Protein-rich foods, fruits, vegetables, and nuts can lead to reduced cravings by promoting satiety and providing essential nutrients.
8. How importance is hydration in managing food cravings?
Staying hydrated can prevent thirst from being mistaken for hunger, reducing unnecessary snacking and curbing cravings.
9. Can stress and emotions affect food cravings?
Stress and emotions can lead to cravings for comfort foods, leading to emotional eating and unhealthy food choices.

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