Survive Cravings & Heal Your Relationship with Food: A Beginner’s Guide

Written by: Michele Wroblewski-Pflug, RDN

Remember, there is NO replacement for seeking individual counseling with a Registered Dietitian, the ONLY nutrition expert licensed and credientialed to practice medical nutrition therapy. If this below article sounds like you, let’s talk. Email [email protected]; most insurances cover nutritional counseling.

April Showers Bring May Flowers: Survive the Cravings and Feel Empowered!

HERE IS YOUR CHEAT GUIDE TO MANAGING THOSE PESKY CRAVINGS! Read on for tips from the expert, your friendly neighborhood Registered Dietitian Nutritionist, Michele!

Day 1: You’re sitting at your desk and glance up at the clock. Tick, tock, tick, tock…you keep yourself from anxiety with a daydream.

You’re thinking of the dinner you have to prepare for your family, the laundry you have to get done, the lunches that must be packed for tomorrow, the calls you have to make, and the emails you have to answer.  The tasks seem endless. You tell yourself that you have a nice, rich piece of chocolate cake awaiting your arrival after all is complete.

You tell yourself you’ll be “good” tomorrow.  

Day 2: Another day goes by. You start your day with a trip to the gym, a nutritious egg white and spinach omelet, a salad for lunch topped with grilled chicken, and a colorful assortment of carrots, broccoli, red and yellow peppers. You’re feeling on top of the world!

The day continues.  The morning spirals and is polished off by stress, stress, and more stress. You tell yourself that you have a nice, rich piece of chocolate cake awaiting your arrival after all is complete…you tell yourself you’ll be “good” tomorrow. And the cycle repeats.

Listen, we’ve ALL been there.  Question is, how do we get back up from giving into these cravings and get back on track? First, we must confront the source.

What triggers cravings?

Psychological and emotional triggers:

  • Boredom and depression
  • Stress and anxiety
  • General need for comfort
  • Habit

Physical triggers:

  • Low blood sugar
  • Thirst
  • Dehydration

Does any of the above apply to you? Do ALL of the above apply to you? Discover the secrets to saying goodbye to the cravings, and hello to empowerment! Always remind yourself: you are ALWAYS in control! Follow these steps to survive those cravings!

  1. Change your routine
    If your craving is linked to a certain activity, such as watching television, go for a walk, call a friend, or just wait it out for 15 minutes.
  2. Drink more water
    Thirst is often perceived as hunger.
  3. Try sour and spicy foods
    Sour and spicy foods are known to help combat sweet cravings. Add lemon to your water.
  4. Limit refined flours, sugar, and alcohol
    Look for hidden sugars on food labels—typically those that end in “-ose.” Common sugars are sucrose, dextrose, lactose, maltose, fructose, and high-fructose corn syrup.
  5. Eat breakfast every morning
    It really is the most important meal of the day.
  6. Have small, frequent meals and snacks throughout the day
    Eat every 3–4 hours. Preventing hunger will help prevent cravings.
  7. Buy fruit instead of sweets
    If you do not have sweets in your house, you have no choice but to snack on apples or grapes.
  8. Think small
    If you must have something sweet, eat smaller portions. Have one scoop of ice cream with no chocolate syrup.
  9. Exercise daily
    Exercise releases endorphins, which help to reduce cravings. Walk at least 10 minutes every day.
  10. Reduce or eliminate caffeine
    The highs and lows of caffeine may contribute to dehydration and blood sugar imbalances, making cravings more urgent and frequent. Instead, choose decaffeinated coffee, herbal teas, caffeine-free and sugar-free soft drinks, or water.
  11. Get enough rest
    Many of us are sleep deprived. Rest and sleep to feel rejuvenated, rather than relying on sugar and stimulants.
  12. Treat yourself to something relaxing
    Reduce anxiety and stress by taking time for daily meditation or “down time,” even if only for a few minutes. Treat yourself to something that you enjoy, such as a bubble bath, manicure, pedicure, or massage on a regular basis—even monthly or quarterly is better than never.

Just remember; these tips are only that: just tips. They cannot and will not replace what individual counseling can provide!

Your Personal Cheerleaders,

Caruso Physical Therapy and Nutrition, LLC

Michele Wroblewski-Pflug, RDN

[email protected]


Burrell D. Stop the cravings! Accessed July 5, 2012.

ScienceDaily®. The psychology of food cravings. Accessed July 5, 2012.

Nutrition 411. Sweets: How to Overcome Cravings. Accessed April 5 2016.