Parsing Hunger Needs From Wants

Intense cravings can strike at any time. Sometimes, the sensation occurs because a person has waited too long between meals. On other occasions, people can feel as if the desire to eat certain foods only appears because of boredom, stress, or other reasons. In many cases, a craving will prompt people to reach for a quick fix like salty, fried, or sweet treats. However, shortly after, a person will likely be hungry again.


Cravings are normal

Whether derailing a diet or popping up during a period of stress or anxiety, know that food cravings are real and very normal. Research suggests that as many as 50% of people normally feel the pull of a food craving. However, learning how to retrain the mind to look for healthier alternatives that satiate can help control cravings and unintended side effects. The following foods are proven to keep a person full, ensuring that troublesome yearnings for empty-calorie snacks don’t come back.

Lean protein for hunger

Unsurprisingly, most diets focused on weight loss will urge participants to replace junk foods with lean protein. Common options include lean meats, poultry, fish, eggs, and soybeans. Along with being rich in fiber, the above foods tend to leave people feeling fuller longer. As a result, individuals that prioritize lean protein at meals are less likely to succumb to snacking on unhealthy foods throughout the day.

Fruit for sweet cravings

Research has proven that sugar is a very addictive substance. Understandably, many people struggle to cut sweets from the daily diet, regardless of whether or not the ultimate goal is weight loss. To get a sugar fix minus the unwanted calories, opt for fruit. While sweet, the natural confections tend to be rich in prebiotic fiber, low in calories, and can even aid in reducing a person’s risk of developing heart disease or obesity.

Grab some water

Many individuals are surprised to learn that what is often thought to be hunger cravings is actually the body demanding hydration. Research suggests that while the brain is an amazing organ, signals for thirst can be misinterpreted as hunger. Combat the mistake by opting for a glass of water when cravings arise. If the urge for food remains a few minutes later, a person is likely hungry.

Get smart about food

Having the occasional indulgence or sweet treat is no reason to feel frustrated. By contrast, constant snacking that fails to satiate fully is a sign that a person is picking the wrong foods. While the above list of satisfying foods is by no means exhaustive, the recommendations can help people tweak daily food habits. Whether trying to lose weight or simply be more mindful with dietary choices, picking healthier foods that keep the body full and reduce snacking urges is an important goal for any individual.


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