You know the triggers.  A sudden, strong urge to toss a coat over your pajamas and drive to the nearest market because you need that one chocolate chip cookie or a pint of ice cream. But, is it the food that’s annoying you? No—it’s cravings. We all have them, but do we understand why? And more importantly, do we know how to tame them?

As per universal research, all women ages 18 to 35 have had a craving in the past year. But, as anyone who has tried to eat one cookie knows, these desires can wreak havoc on your efforts to lose or even maintain weight.

Do you want to stop those uncontrollable desires for specific foods or eating unhealthy? Then, this is the article for you! It will tell you how to stop food cravings, easily in few simple steps!

Eat alternatives

According to recent research in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, the foods people go bonkers for the most are sweet ones. When we feel an intense craving for chocolate, we could drink a glass of water or go for a walk around the block. Research has shown a 15-minute walk can significantly reduce cravings and emotional eating.

You can even carry around alternatives to help if you get a craving. An apple is handy to munch on to keep you busy – even better! A sugar-free or low-calorie option is gum! Not only does it come in many flavors, but it can keep you preoccupied for hours. With practice, the eating alternatives will eventually replace the craved response.

Stay hydrated

Hydrate! Many times thirst is confused with food cravings or hunger.

If you feel a sudden urge for a specific food, your best bet is to drink a quick glass of water and wait a few minutes. Water is not only crucial for fat loss and improved health, but it can also help prevent cravings. Ensure you’re drinking about half your body weight (lbs.) in ounces of water daily (if you’re 150 lbs., drink 75 oz. of water a day). You may find that the craving may subside because your body was just thirsty.

Besides, drinking a lot of water may have many health benefits. Drinking water before meals can reduce appetite and help with weight loss also.

Have Protein at every meal

The next time you’re craving reach for some yogurt or a handful of nuts instead.  Eating more protein may reduce your hunger and keep you from overeating. It also reduces cravings and helps you feel full and satisfied for longer.

As per the study conducted on the overweight men & teenage girls showed that increasing protein intake to 27% of calories reduced cravings by 65%.

Eat meals at scheduled times

The secret to stopping cravings is to manage hunger. Sticking to a timetable helps many people avoid feelings of extreme hunger. This, in turn, can reduce the risk of overeating and also stops cravings.

Only eat at set times — no casual eating!

Distract yourself

If you feel a sudden urge for a specific food, try to distract yourself from it.

For example, go for a walk, a shower to shift your mind onto something else or play with your pet, etc. You’ll forget about the craving.

Do not shop when you’re hungry

Many studies have shown that people who are hungry tend to buy far more food and spend more money compared to those who have recently eaten. You’re more likely to add tempting unhealthy foods to the basket when you’re hungry. Shopping when hungry means you’re more likely to make poor decisions.

Tell yourself “Later”

Our thoughts are all about our own perspective! Preparing yourself that you can have that tempting food “Later” will help trick your mind a little by taking the craving off. It’s not a “no,” so it won’t move your body and brain into the resistant mode. But delaying your indulgence can diffuse the intensity of the moment, and research shows that you’re not inclined to end up treating yourself after the situation has passed.

Exercise and stay rested

Rather than relying on some specific food to help you feel relaxed and happy, go for a brisk walk during the day and get into bed a little earlier at night. These habits generate endorphins just like the best tasting chocolate truffle on the planet. Plus, the activity may boost your serotonin levels—something that should enable you avoid the sugar and extra carbs more effectively, as well. And did you ever observed that your food cravings seem to increase during PMS? As your hormone levels vary, cravings can begin to rise — so exercising and some quality sleep are key at that time of the month too.

Brush Teeth

You read it right. Brush your teeth more often, especially when you feel food cravings coming on. Try minty toothpaste to cleanse your palate which will kill the taste of anything you crave. You’re much less likely to snack if you’ve just brushed your teeth as anything you try will taste awful! Use this to your advantage. If you can’t brush your teeth, try having breath mints, strips, or a stick of chewing gum to freshen up.

Think about all the negatives involved

If you’re trying to kick a habit, then there must be a reason. Utilize that motivation to continue inspiring you not to give in.Do you feel better? Do you feel more energized? Are you losing weight? These great things will work in as motivators to keep it up.

So there you go – Being mindful of your cravings and their triggers makes them substantially simpler to avoid. Follow these simple ways for getting a handle on your food cravings, once and for all. And remember, these take a bit of work – don’t expect to have superhuman powers over night!

Just stay steady, and before you know it, you’ll be able to say “No!” to your cravings, whenever they pop up.