It’s 2 p.m, and that mid-day slump just hit you. You’re trying hard to work, but your mind is dancing with images of delicious treats. Cookies, cakes, a sweet latte with whipped cream – you’ve got so many cravings.
Research shows that over 90% of people experience cravings, but why do they happen? And how can we stop ourselves from giving in to these junk food desires?
Are you ready to get out of the junk food trap? Keep reading to learn about healthy alternatives and simple steps to beat the craving monster.
How to Stop Craving Junk Food
Before we explain our love for junk food, we need to define the concept of junk food. Most people think of fast food as junk, but there are other sneaky ways it can make its way into our diets.
Most junk food contains high levels of saturated fats, sugar, or salt. So while a burger may be an obvious example, super salty cheese or fruit juices with added sugar can also be junk.
Our bodies crave these foods because they activate feelings of pleasure. Often, our brain fails to send that stop signal, and we overeat. That famous Lay’s Potato Chip slogan, “bet you can’t eat just one!” makes more sense now, doesn’t it?
But there are a few lifestyle changes you can make to beat cravings! Other than replacing junk food with healthier snack choices, you should also get more sleep. Research shows that sleep deprivation makes people hungrier.
And usually, when we’re exhausted, we choose easy meals like fast food, takeout, or instant dinners. Sleep deprivation can also cause elevated stress levels. When stress levels are high, due to lack of sleep or other factors, our hormones get thrown out of balance.
Hormones connected to appetite can increase, causing you to overeat and crave junk. Other small lifestyle changes can include:
- Drinking more water
- Regular exercise
- Avoiding hunger
- Meal planning and snack prepping
- Eating enough protein
- Chewing gum
- Working with a weight loss specialist
Along with these positive changes, you can also choose healthy snacks for cravings instead of junk food. Let’s get into some helpful snack swaps!
Healthy Alternatives to Junk Food
The biggest culprits for junk food cravings are sweet, salty, and fatty foods. Studies show that men usually crave savory food like meat while women can’t get enough sweets, like chocolate. Although men also crave sweet food, they tend to gravitate towards sweet drinks.
Battling Sweet Cravings
Chocolate is a very common craving, but most milk chocolates are full of extra sugar. Instead, choose at least 70% dark chocolate if you have a sweet tooth. To make it even healthier, combine it with more nutritional food.
Dip bananas or blueberries in dark chocolate and freeze them for a few hours to get a blissful cold treat. Try making dark hot chocolate with your favorite plant-based milk. Craving brownies or cookies? Look for recipes that incorporate beans or avocados to up the nutrition factor.
Certain mineral deficiencies can also cause sugar cravings. Lack of magnesium, zinc, and chromium can make you reach for sugar more often. Instead, eat foods rich in these minerals like broccoli, spinach, mushrooms, and whole grains.
Natural supplements like our ChiroNutraceutical line can also help balance deficiencies. Our range of products tackles everything from vitamins and minerals to probiotics and appetite.
Fighting Cravings for Salt
Nothing satisfies a salty craving like a crispy potato chip or an oily French fry, right? But overly salty food can lead to bloating, stomach aches, and gas. And they’re often low on the nutrition scale.
Instead of French fries, try making your own veggie fries. Veggies like carrots, sweet potatoes, and parsnips are a great junk food alternative. Use a tiny bit of high-quality sea salt to please your craving.
Chips can be hard to beat, but there are other options! Instead, make some crispy veggie chips or try kale chips. Kale is a nutritious option with tons of minerals and vitamins. Sprinkle the leaves with a touch of olive oil, a pinch of salt, and bake in your oven.
An air fryer is a powerful addition to a healthy kitchen. It allows you to get that satisfying deep-fried taste without the added oil and sugar. Try air frying chicken wings, cauliflower bites, or tofu to make a crunchy, delicious snack.
Eliminating Fatty Food Cravings
Fatty food like burgers, pizza, and pasta can be super satisfying. But they’re also very high in calories and difficult to put down, even if you’re full. Of course, life is about balance, and cutting these foods out completely might make you miserable!
The key is to create healthy swaps and stick to cooking at home. When you make your own versions at home, you can control exactly how much salt and oil you use. You can also replace high-carb components with healthier options.
If you’re craving a good burger, get some low-fat ground turkey at the grocery store. Add your seasonings and grill outside or in your oven. Swap the patty for lettuce and add low-fat cheese and homemade sauce. Healthy and delicious!
Is pizza your go-to junk food? DIY your own pie with a cauliflower crust and homemade sauce. Sprinkle with low-fat or vegan cheese to get that gooey feeling without extra fat. Lastly, load it up with veggies rather than processed meat for more nutrients.
Beat Cravings With These Healthy Alternatives!
No one is perfect, and you can’t expect to eat healthy 100% of the time. But swapping your regular snacks with these healthy alternatives now and then is a must-do! You’ll feel less bloated, and you might even lose a few pounds.
So if weight loss is your goal, swapping snacks is a great start! But to get the best results, you should also consider seeking professional help. At ChiroThin, we work with your body and goals to create long-lasting results.
Are you ready to get started on the path to a healthier you? Click here to find a ChiroThin doctor in your area.