It is so easy to fall off the wagon when it comes to maintaining a healthy diet especially when most people are working from home and raiding their snack cabinet every 30 minutes.
It is by no accident that snacks are so hard to resist – as manufacturers ensure the foods taste the best they possibly can with the goal of overriding our internal ‘stop’ signals and encouraging us to buy and eat more.
Nutritionist Tamara Willner reveals her top five tips to reduce junk food cravings.
1. Eat mindfully
When you really want some junk food, have it, enjoy it and eat it mindfully. Removing distractions (e.g. mobiles, TV), eating slowly, and engaging all of your senses is the best way to do so.
2. Be prepared
Write down a plan to prevent certain scenarios from happening. For example, ‘If I’m bored at home and crave chocolate, then I’ll listen to a podcast, so my mind has something else to focus on.’
3. Build balanced meals
Building balanced dishes can help us feel satisfied and reduce the risk of junk food cravings in between meals. Opt for fresh vegetables, (e.g. spinach and peppers), minimally-processed meat, fish, or vegetarian alternatives and wholegrain carb options.
4. Be aware of bliss-point foods
Try to be aware of unexpected foods that we use every day (e.g. tomato sauce) which has been engineered to have a bliss-point. The bliss-point refers to when our taste system is tricked with salt, fat, and sugar, carefully combined in expertly measured amounts to be ‘just right’ and encourage us to come back for more. Try experimenting with making your food to replace shop-bought ones with added sugars and salts.
The more sleep-deprived we are, the more hungry we feel and the more we crave energy-dense, sugar, and fat-filled foods as opposed to healthy snacks. Getting 8-9 hours of sleep, compared to 6-7 hours, can massively reduce the risk of junk food cravings.