No one is more familiar with the concept of cravings than recovering addicts. After they master the drug and alcohol cravings they experience during detoxification, there comes another problem — figuring out how to resist food cravings. Believe it or not, as recovering addicts make progress through recovery, many are likely to experience intense food cravings.
While this might seem not as dangerous as drug cravings, it can still cause a series of health problems down the line. Besides, learning to control food cravings during rehab will help them manage their cravings after leaving treatment. Keep reading to learn some proven healthy hacks to curb cravings once and for all.
1. Find a Healthy Alternative
When you’re craving sweetness like ice cream or chocolate, you don’t have to deny these cravings immediately. Instead, try to find healthier alternatives. As you start trying different foods, you’ll begin to move away from these sugary treats and learn that you don’t need them. Nowadays, you can also find many delicious alternatives to most sweets, thanks to natural sweeteners like Stevia or Monk Fruit. Before you know it, your sweet tooth will be under control.
Here are some healthier alternatives to satisfy your cravings:
- Ice cream – Greek Yogurt
- Milk Chocolate – Dark Chocolate (70% Cacao)
- French Fries – Baked Sweet Potato Fries
- Candy – Frozen Grapes
- Salty Chips – Roasted Nuts
2. Eat Foods That Reduce Cravings
Many foods work to prevent cravings overall. In most cases, your cravings are the result of nutrient deficiencies. For example, if you’re craving red meat, it might be you’re low on iron or vitamin B12. Thus, learning about your deficiencies can help you find out what foods you need to load up to prevent cravings.
Include high fiber foods like chia seeds or beans to control your blood sugar levels and control your cravings. Make sure you eat at least one cup of leafy greens a day, load up on lean protein and healthy fats. These diet changes can make a huge difference when it comes to your cravings.
3. Drink More Water
So many of us mislabel or cravings. It’s fair to say that more than half of our craving episodes is our bodies telling us it’s thirsty. We’re so accustomed to drinking coffee, tea, eat, and keep going through our days without drinking water that we don’t notice that our bodies are dehydrated. Next time you feel like craving some food, drink a full glass of water and wait about five minutes. Odds are your craving will disappear. If it doesn’t, that’s when you know you’re hungry and might need some fuel to keep going.
4. Avoid Restrictive Diets
If you’re always following a super strict diet that deprives you of the foods you love and enjoy, you’re bound to struggle with cravings. Restrictive diets are never a long-term solution to anything. Most of the time, these diets lead to more cravings, guilt, and regret when you fail to keep it up. Instead, we always recommend following a complete and balanced diet that caters to your body’s needs.
At Lighthouse Recovery Institute, we incorporate nutritional guidance and assistance to make sure our patients learn how to start following a healthy diet. Beyond offering healthy meals for our residential programs, we also teach our patients how to create a healthy diet after rehab. This means learning how to identify healthy foods, reading nutrition labels, and more.
5. Know the Root Cause of Your Cravings
Not all cravings are the same. Some come from stress, others come from deficiencies, while some are just habits. Taking the time to question what makes you crave a specific food can help you develop the right coping mechanisms to control those cravings. For example, if you know that you crave sugary foods every time you’re stressed, it might be time to find out how to manage your stress levels.
If you notice your cravings are not the result of a specific feeling or situation, it could be a nutrient deficiency. A complete blood test can help you determine if you have a vitamin or nutrient deficiency. Then, discussing the findings with a doctor can help you decide whether you need to take any supplements or a change in your diet might be enough.
6. Eat More
Last but not least, your cravings may be the result of smaller portions. If you don’t get enough food throughout the day, your body will not have the right amount of nutrients and fuel it needs to keep you going. Make sure your meals include complex carbs, vegetables, healthy fats, and lean protein.
Filling up your plate with the right quantities of food can make a huge difference in how your body carries itself throughout the day. Most people think that we only need three meals (breakfast, lunch, and dinner) when, in reality, we need about five to six meals a day. Experts recommend that we include a healthy snack between meals to prevent blood sugar level drops that result in cravings.
A healthy plate should look like:
- 40% of fruits and vegetables
- 25% of fiber-rich carbohydrates
- 25% of lean proteins
- 10% of healthy fats
The more you learn about your body and the right foods it needs to keep going, the better food choices you’ll make. Other tricks like chewing gum can help resist food cravings. Keep these proven ways to resist food cravings in mind, and before you notice, you’ll cravings will be forever gone.