Dealing with food cravings


Dealing with food cravings

jo butler

Anyone who lives in the real world, with other people in the same house, with co-workers, with friends, relatives and basically anyone with a life, will come up against temptations when trying to eat a healthy diet.

Feeling deprived, frustrated and restricted by food choices is something that’s going to happen. Going to birthday parties, weddings, out for lunch or meeting for coffee all provide more temptations. Just walking down the street past the bakery or cafe, or sitting in the tearoom at work can bring on feelings of inadequacy as you are tempted to make food choices that you’re trying to avoid.

You know that eating a health diet of fruits, vegetables, protein sources such as meat, poultry, eggs and seafood with some nuts and other sources of good fats makes you feel and look good. But all that seems to go out the window when so called ‘out of bounds’ foods make an appearance. To feel this way is perfectly normal.

Every single day we all have to make food choices that either push us closer or further away from good health and a healthy body weight. I am totally hearing you, with the same daily challenges to face as well. I’m not 100% compliant with my healthy diet. Just like you, I’m faced with challenges within my home and also outside the home. I can’t even claim to have a 90% success rate but am probably closer to 75 or 80%.

What I can claim though, is to avoid those temptations as much as I can and if I can’t, to at least some of the time, take action to make them less tempting. Here are some of the things I do:

  • Have more healthy treats available for those times when the rest of the family is having a treat. Frozen berries are a favourite of mine with greek yoghurt and chocolate protein. This doesn’t always work, but I eat chocolate less often because I have something else to eat instead


  • ‘Don’t start’ is a good tactic to remember. Just one cookie, or just one slice?? No way, you just can’t stop at one TimTam, and everyone knows that. I find it a lot easier to not have anything than to have a small portion. This is particularly effective when on your own. You know eating an entire block of chocolate, 3 bowls of ice cream or a whole packet of biscuits still counts even if you’re in the forest and no one can hear you!!


  • In the evening, I used to enjoy a hot milo while watching TV. While I don’t watch that much TV anymore, sometimes I’m still tempted to have that hot drink. So now I make myself a hot protein shake instead. A scoop of chocolate protein powder dissolved in a small amount of cold water, stir thoroughly and top with boiling water. Not quite the same, but its often the habit of the ‘holding the cup and sipping’ that is the hardest to break. Some people actually have pure cocoa or cacao in boiling water instead. If that’s too bitter for you, stick with the protein supplement.


  • Pack your own food!! This should have been the number one tip. When I’m going out and will be gone over a meal or snack or both, I pack my own food. Some yoghurt, berries and nuts or some fruit and nuts or a salad complete with protein are all very simple to pack and take. I have a small insulated lunch box and I just chuck everything in with a freezer block or two. I also have a larger box for longer trips as well. Those who attend sporting days or other excursions with me will have seen me eating from my tupperware. Long gone are the strange stares I used to receive when eating my own food instead of the terrible choices always put up at children’s events.


  • When the kids have take away once per week, I order a healthy or healthier take away choice. I love the warm chicken salad form My Pizza and Pasta here in town. I may have a few chips from the kids’ pile but I stick with my salad most times.


  • Lastly, I still eat lots of healthy foods. So even if I’ve eaten something that I really shouldn’t have, I always still eat my other food unless i”m so full that I can’t. When eating out, I’ll order a salad first, eat that and then if I am tempted to have dessert, I may have it, knowing that I’ve eaten lots of nutrients first. That way I’m fuller too, so less likely to eat as much

I haven’t found the secret to always making the better choice, but doing the things above means I limit the times when not so good choices happen. I also notice that at different times I can go for ages without caving in and other times it just seem so hard.

So don’t give up, keep on trying and don’t beat yourself up if you are tempted. The key is to limit the times you make not so good food choices and increase the times when you eat healthy. Doing that long term is the key to better health and losing excess body fat.

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