Curb those cravings
We all know that it’s better to eat an apple than an entire sleeve of cookies, and that a daily snack of raw vegetables is a much healthier alternative to a once-a-day chocolate bar habit. But while we might know this in our minds, our tummies sometimes get the better of us. Chocolate may “call” to us from the cupboard in a way that seems impossible to ignore, and before we know it, we’ve succumbed to its siren song.
There’s absolutely nothing wrong with indulging in a treat every once in a while. It’s the frequency of the treating we really have to watch! The trick is curbing those cravings so we have control over what we eat, when we eat it, and how much we munch on.
10 tips to manage your cravings
- Walk it off. Hitting the pavement might be the last thing you want to do when you’re craving something sweet, but a walk around the block may help distract you long enough for the craving to subside. And if you do end up giving into temptation when you get back home, at least you’ll have had some healthy exercise first!
- Trick yourself. If you really, really want some chips, have a small handful – but eat something healthy along with it, like some crunchy raw carrots or sweet peppers with a touch of salt. That way you’ll feel full and satisfied.
- Go nuts! Have a small handful of raw, unsalted nuts. They’re packed with healthy oils, and for something that’s good for you they taste a lot like a treat!
- Brush up. Sometimes brushing your teeth with minty toothpaste can make cravings vanish—no one wants to eat after they’ve just cleaned their teeth, after all.
- Don’t make it harder than it needs to be. If you can’t resist chocolate or powdered doughnuts are your weakness, don’t keep them in the house.
- Bait and switch. According to Marcia Pelchat, PhD, of the Monell Center1 if you replace the food you want with something healthy every single time the craving arises, you will eventually crave that healthy food instead—or at least lessen the craving for the unhealthy treat.
- Chew, chew, chew. Try having a stick of sugar-free gum when a craving strikes. According to Nutrition Advisor Dave Grotto, RD, LDN, research has shown that chewing gum can reduce food cravings.
- Think about it. Pay attention to what you’re feeling when you find yourself craving something. Are you lonely, stressed, angry, tired, or bored? Finding healthy ways to deal with emotional distress is good for your body and soul. Consider meditation, exercise or calling a friend when you’re sure the reason you want to splurge is because you’re upset.
- Eat regularly. Eat small, healthy snacks throughout the day so you’re always satisfied and not motivated by hunger to eat that slab of cake. Real Simple has 19 delicious and healthy snack ideas that will keep you on the straight and narrow without feeling deprived.
- Treat yourself. It’s better to have a cookie every now and then than to deprive yourself until you can’t stand it and end up eating an entire cake in a moment of weakness.
If you do succumb to temptation, remember to enjoy every bite and don’t beat yourself up afterward. It’s fine to have a treat every now and then, but if you have a little more than you should, or do it a bit more often than you should, just make a mental note to try to do better next time.
412763B CAN/US (09/15)