Weight Management Tips and Support 9 Ways You Can Beat Junk Food Cravings By Shereen Lehman, MS Shereen Lehman, MS Shereen Lehman, MS, is a former writer for Verywell Fit and Reuters Health. She's a healthcare journalist who writes about healthy eating and offers evidence-based advice for regular people. Learn about our editorial process Updated on February 08, 2023 Medically reviewed Verywell Fit articles are reviewed by board-certified physicians and nutrition and exercise healthcare professionals. Medical Reviewers confirm the content is thorough and accurate, reflecting the latest evidence-based research. Content is reviewed before publication and upon substantial updates. Learn more. by Jonathan Valdez, RDN, CDCES, CPT Medically reviewed by Jonathan Valdez, RDN, CDCES, CPT Facebook Twitter Jonathan Valdez, RDN, CDCES, CPT is a New York City-based telehealth registered dietitian nutritionist and nutrition communications expert. Learn about our Medical Review Board Print Cravings for junk foods can seem to come out of nowhere. One minute you feel satisfied and the next you feel like your whole body is begging for a peanut butter cup or bowl of ice cream. Of course, it’s ideal when you might crave apples, blueberries, or green beans because they’re low in calories and packed with nutrients. The issue arises when you feel like you need something sweet, salty, or high in fat in order to be satisfied. At times, you might even crave all three at once. You can either fight junk food cravings or indulge. It's perfectly OK to allow yourself a treat every now and then, especially when you choose small portions that allow you to stay within your calorie requirement for the day. But when junk food cravings turn into binges, you run the risk of weight gain and you're overindulging in foods that just aren’t very good for you. Here are some helpful tips to help curb your cravings for junk food. 1 Deal With Your Trigger Foods Verywell / Alexandra Shytsman It’s much easier to give in to temptation when the food you crave is within easy reach. So don’t keep unhealthy foods you tend to crave in your kitchen or at your desk at work. This doesn't mean you can’t keep any treats in the house, but select goodies that are easier for you to manage. Don’t stock up on chocolate chip cookies if you can’t seem to walk by without eating the whole package. 2 Don't Skip Meals AleksandarNakic / Getty Images When your stomach isn't growling it can make it a lot easier to ward off any cravings, so don't skip your regular meals. Start with a healthy breakfast and follow up with a nutritious lunch and dinner. And it’s OK to include some snacks as long as they’re good for you and you're still within your calorie count. 3 Consider Whether It's Craving or Hunger Superb Images / Getty Images There’s a difference between having the physical feelings of hunger and the mental and emotional feelings of craving something. If you’re hungry and it’s not close to mealtime, you should probably eat something. If you’re not really hungry, then try some crave-busting distraction techniques, coming up next. 4 Drink Water or a Low Calorie Beverage Michael Poehlman/Getty Images Drinking a tall glass of water might serve as a distraction or help you to remain adequately hydrated. When you are dehydrated, it is possible to feel hungrier than usual. Making sure you get at least 8 cups of water a day may help to keep cravings at bay. If plain water sounds boring, add a slice or two of lemon, lime, or cucumber. Healthy Flavored Water Recipes for Weight Loss 5 Go for a Walk istockphoto Here’s another distraction that has health benefits. Stave off your cravings with a little exercise and go outside for a walk. If you can’t or don’t want to go outside, do a few minutes of calisthenics. Besides serving as a distraction, physical activity might help reduce the stress that could be contributing to your cravings. 6 Get Enough Sleep Jose Luis Pelaez Inc/Getty Images Adults should aim for 7-9 hours of sleep daily. It's easier to fight cravings when you have adequate sleep. In fact, evidence shows that not getting enough sleep can lead to increased cravings for junk food and weight gain. If you can't get enough sleep during the evening, a nap may be helpful during the day as long as it doesn't disrupt your next night's sleep. 7 Manage Your Stress J.P. Nodier / Getty Images High stress levels can lead to many problems, including cravings for junk food. Consider seeing a therapist or finding outlets to help you manage your stress. If stress leads to junk food and overconsumption of calories, then seeking a registered dietitian or nutritionist can be helpful as well. 8 Phone a Friend GrapeImages / Getty Images Call or text a friend or family member who you can talk to about your craving. You may also want to have a registered dietitian on-board, especially if you're trying to lose weight. It’s always nice to have someone in your corner who can support your efforts to improve your health. 9 Choose the Most Nutritious Snack Options Jon Lovette/Getty Images There are plenty of nutrient-dense, whole foods that can satisfy a craving for something sweet or salty. Fresh berries, a fruit smoothie, peanut butter on a celery stick, or one slice of whole grain toast with almond butter can help conquer cravings for junk food and add important nutritional value. 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Psychol Res Behav Manag. 2017;10:165-173. doi:10.2147/PRBM.S113278 Bleich SN, Bandara S, Bennett W, Cooper LA, Gudzune KA. Enhancing the role of nutrition professionals in weight management: A cross-sectional survey. Obesity (Silver Spring). 2015;23(2):454-460. doi:10.1002/oby.20945 By Shereen Lehman, MS Shereen Lehman, MS, is a former writer for Verywell Fit and Reuters Health. She's a healthcare journalist who writes about healthy eating and offers evidence-based advice for regular people. See Our Editorial Process Meet Our Review Board Share Feedback Was this page helpful? Thanks for your feedback! What is your feedback? Other Helpful Report an Error Submit Advertiser Disclosure × The offers that appear in this table are from companies that partner with and compensate Verywell Fit for displaying their offer. These partnerships do not impact our editorial choices or otherwise influence our editorial content.