Imagine this: you walk by a bakery, and you smell the tantalizing aroma of cinnamon rolls, and immediately you think of your grandmother’s house during the holidays. Our environments are overwhelmed with cues that encourage us to overeat. These triggers come in the form of smelling or seeing a desirable food and are large to blame for our food cravings.
Insights on Cravings
Studies show that gender plays a role in what we foods we crave. Men are more likely to desire pasta or pizza over donuts and cakes. The reason? Savory, hot dishes bring forward memories of their mothers. On the other hand, women often relate those foods to kitchen preparation and cleanup. This makes them desire less labor intensive snacks like ice cream or cookies.
Moods and emotions also have a profound influence on our cravings. For instance, being bored or in a depressed mood can be a cue for eating. Think about it: have you ever eaten just because you were upset or merely bored? Happy emotions can also be major triggers for cravings. Research shows that 86% of Americans love to eat comfort foods when they feel happy.
Banish your cravings
If all of the tasty holiday treats and snacks have got you feeling stressed, here are some simple tricks to help you manage your cravings.
Have plan and stick with it
If you know your family Christmas party always includes your grandma’s perfect pecan pie, plan by packing nutritious snacks for yourself. Or, just let yourself have one (and only one) slice. Then, leave the dessert table.
Eat the food you crave less often
As we eat foods we crave, we are reinforcing bad behavior. This doesn’t mean you need to go cold turkey on your favorite snacks, just be realistic about it. Feeling deprived may only make matters worse. Instead, allow yourself to have desserts on the weekends, but avoid them throughout the week.
Do something else
If you’re eating because you’re bored, you need to find a new hobby. Or, revive an old one like jewelry making, photography, or woodworking. An absorbing hobby will help take your mind off the cravings.