While I was out of town in Park City last week, I realized that I never craved or had one Diet Coke. I usually think of myself as pretty healthy, and a mostly “clean” eater, but over the past few months I have an off-and-on again relationship with Diet Coke. I am only talking about one a day, but still, I try to keep soft drinks at a distance. It really got me thinking about cravings. Now, you might think I’m being silly, but everyone does have their particular “vice” whether it’s candy, chocolate, chips, French fries or even soft drinks. To help you and me, I thought I would jot down some tips on how to avoid cravings:
1. Don’t give in– One of my friends once told me that the more sugar (or salt) you eat the more you crave it. This is so true. Once I start with Peanut M & M’s, I can’t stop, and I continue to crave them until they are completely out of my house. Don’t buy them, and you won’t be tempted as often.
2. Note your trigger foods– Take note by writing down what your “trigger” foods are. Then, stay away from them. Awareness will help you think twice when you crave your trigger foods. Keep your “trigger” foods at bay, and don’t bring them into your house or surroundings.
3. Stay in control– If you are surrounded by your trigger food at a party or at work, keep control. For example, if it’s a doughnut, take a small bite or portion if you must, and push the plate away when you’re done.
4. Eat protein along with fat (healthy fats)– Eating snacks that contain protein along with fat will keep you satisfied longer. If you’re craving ice cream or sugary desserts, opt for Greek yogurt with honey and nuts, reduced-fat cottage cheese or fresh vegetables with hummus.
5. Bake something healthy– I love to bake homemade granola or mini muffins to have on hand. Homemade fresh baked goods are a wonderful substitute for junk food.
6. Stay on schedule– Try to eat 3 meals a day and two healthy snacks, so you don’t get overly hungry. Staying on a schedule will help curb cravings.
7. Drink water and chew gum– A friend once told me this helped her stay away from eating while she was cooking. It helps when you have cravings too.
8. Make homemade smoothies– Use fresh fruit, fresh juice, Greek or low-fat yogurt to make fresh smoothies. These are a wonderful alternative to sugary desserts.
9. Drink green tea– Green tea is filled with so many healthy benefits. Substitute it for that afternoon soda, coffee or packaged snack (I need to do this more).
10. Don’t deprive yourself– Eat something healthy at the end of each meal or occasionally award yourself with a “splurge” meal. My friend, Sandra, brings dark chocolate to every lunch date we have. She eats it at the end of her meals so she satisfies her sweet tooth.