It’s 3:00 in the afternoon and you’re feeling hungry and that banana on your desk just doesn’t look good. You head to the store near your office and get a cookie. You have a dip in energy a short while later and you feel guilty for having the cookie. You really want to eat nourishing foods, but sometimes you just can’t stop yourself from going for some junk food. Here are three powerful ways to end your junk-food cravings for good:
1. Have a hearty breakfast. In a perfect world, breakfast would be your biggest meal of the day. In a near-perfect world, breakfast would be at least as big dinner. You at least want breakfast to be half as big as dinner. This means, grabbing a banana on your way out the door is not a hearty breakfast. Setting aside a bit of time for breakfast goes a long way in ending junk-food cravings. My go-to breakfasts are a vegetable omelet with fruit on the side and smoothies made from water, fruit, protein powder, greens, and coconut oil.
2. Eat meat at each meal. This can be fish, poultry, beef, game meat, or any meat you like. Or eggs. For vegetarians, legumes are a great option. Protein plays an important role in maintaining the structure of our bodies. So when we don’t get enough, we literally break down. Our bodies need a continual supply of protein. We cannot have a lot of protein at dinner and use that for the next 24 hours. We need a steady supply so that it’s continually there for our bodies’ processes of tissue generation. Because protein is so important in maintaining our structures, and because it takes time for our bodies to digest protein, protein makes us feel full after a meal and for hours to come after a meal. When you have a hearty breakfast and include some protein-rich foods with your breakfast and lunch, that 3:00 p.m. junk-food craving doesn’t stand a chance.
3. Drink water all day long. Thirst and hunger are easy to confuse. Many people are chronically dehydrated. Their constant thirst is often confused as hunger and can manifest as junk-food cravings. In a society where nutrition supplements are a billion-dollar industry, it’s amazing how many of these supplement-takers don’t first meet their need for water which is so inexpensive. Aim to drink half of your bodyweight (in pounds) of water (in ounces) each day. A good practice is to drink 20 ounces when you wake up and then the rest of your daily amount during the day between meals.
Bonus tip: Make sure you are meeting your needs for sleep, rest, exercise, friendship, and romantic relationship. Sleep, rest, exercise, and all aspects of friendship and romantic relationship (touch, connection, shared experiences, empathy, bonding, sex, and more) are all powerful stimulators for the release of feel-good neurotransmitters like serotonin. Guess what else releases serotonin? Sugar. When you are low on these feel-good neurotransmitters, you will have more cravings for sugary food products. So one of the best ways to curb junk-food cravings is to call a friend, do some yoga, and get plenty of sleep. Interesting, right?
Remember your mantra for today: NOURISHING MOVEMENT, NOURISHING FOOD, NOURISHING LIFE.