We’re probably all well aware of specific foods that trigger our sweet tooth or other weakness. Just seeing or having them around creates temptation! Whether that be a piece of chocolate, pastry, or slice of pizza, it can be hard for us to restrain ourselves when we’re around these delicious foods. With that being said, there are helpful ways to overcome these cravings and become more cognizant of what things might cause them in the first place.
1. Drink water: Hunger and thirst can produce very similar sensations in the mind, which can lead to cravings being misunderstood. If you feel an urge to reach for something, try drinking a glass of water instead. Often times, your hunger cravings will go away because your body is actually thirsty, not hungry.
2. Distance yourself from the craving: Cravings typically last for about 10 minutes. When you feel a craving, try to distance yourself from it physically and mentally. For example, you can take a quick walk or do some other activity to shift your mind onto something else. A change in thought and environment may help stop the craving and urge to eat. Also, keep the food you crave out of your house in order to make them less accessible.
3. Avoid getting very hungry: Hunger is one of the biggest reasons why we experience cravings. It’s during this time where we’re more prone to overindulge ourselves. To avoid getting extremely hungry, it’s a good idea to eat small meals throughout the day and have healthy snacks close by.
4. Don’t go to the grocery store hungry: Grocery stores are the worst places to be when you have cravings. First, they give you immediate access to just about any food you could think of. The best way to prevent cravings from happening at the store is to shop only when you’ve recently eaten.
5. Be prepared: If you’ve done all of the above but still feel an urge, have healthy options at your side ready to go. When you’re confronted with temptation for a treat at work, home, or elsewhere, having easy access to something healthier can help reduce temptation and fight cravings. So, if you’re going to a party with friends and family, or having a potluck at work, bring something healthy along!
6. Healthy Food alternatives:
Potato chips: To avoid potato chips, replace them with a salty snack that is higher in healthy fats and protein, such as cashews, walnuts, or pistachios. Nuts are high in calories, however, and should be eaten in moderation. Popcorn products, such as SkinnyPop or Smart Pop, are also a good replacement for potato chips.
Chocolate: Cravings for chocolate may be a need for magnesium, and some people find they can satisfy the craving by eating magnesium-rich foods, such as almonds. If nothing but chocolate will do, opt for dark chocolate that contains at least 70% cocoa. The intensity of dark chocolate makes it easier to feel satisfied with less.
Candy or pastries: Sugar cravings can be easily satisfied with whole fruits. Keeping dried fruits on hand, such as prunes or raisins, may also be helpful for combatting cravings on the go.
Soda: Sparkling water with a squeeze of zero sugar water enhancer (like Mio) can replace a craving for soda. It provides a similar feeling to soda but has fewer calories and less sugar.