Here are 5 smart ways to get control of your cravings so they don’t end up controlling you:

1. Know your kryptonite. Everyone’s cravings foods are different, so figure out what sends you on a food bender, then steer clear.

2. Keep junk food out of the house. You’re less likely to gorge on chips or cookies or candy if they’re not readily available in your pantry or fridge, so you do yourself a huge favor by not even bringing them home from the market.

3. Find a healthier substitute. You may be able to fake out a craving and avoid the extra calories, fat, salt, and sugar by eating foods that are close to what you’re jonesing for. Craving sweet? Try dates, grapes, prunes, raisins, and dried figs. Creamy? Low-fat Greek yogurt works. Salty? Reach for a dill pickle.

4. Strike a bargain. Make this deal with yourself: You’ll set a timer for an hour, and when the time’s up, if you still want what you want, you can have a small amount. Then find something else to do for that hour. Cravings usually don’t last for more than 20-30 minutes, so hopefully it will have passed.

5. Cleanse your palate. Brush your teeth, gargle with mouthwash, chew some gum. Nothing tastes good after you have that minty taste in your mouth. Clear your palate after an indulgence so the food taste doesn’t linger in your mouth making you crave more.

What else helps? Avoid cravings resulting from emotional stress turning into comfort food binges by calling a pal to vent instead!

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