9 Smart Secrets for Self-Control When Cravings Hit
Whether it's the sweet, smooth taste of chocolate, the cheesy goo on a slice of pizza or the salty crunch of salt-and-vinegar chips, there's probably a food you crave. Here's how to stop food cravings—and stick with healthy choices!
The 3 p.m. vending machine run for Fritos. The detour to the drive-thru for a hot bag of fries. That double chocolate chunk ice cream in the freezer, calling to you as you binge-watch Anne with an E. When your next craving strikes, use one of our nine tricks to keep it at bay!
Drink a Glass of Water
It’s weird but true—we often mistake thirst for hunger. If you find yourself craving a snack, pour a nice, tall glass of water and drink it down. Wait a few minutes and you might just see that your craving has subsided.
Get More Sleep
Studies have found that when you don’t get enough sleep, levels of the hormones that help control your appetite drop, boosting your desire for starchy foods. In the short term—to deal with that craving that’s striking right now—caffeine might help you keep away from the cookies.
Write Down What You Eat
Keeping a food journal might not eliminate your craving completely, but having to document what you eat might boost your willpower enough to combat the desire. Journaling can also help you identify the situations that tend to trigger your cravings. It’s one of the main strategies one of our editors used when giving up sugar for 30 days.
Get Your Game On
Research has found that playing a game like Tetris can reduce your cravings. The theory is that the visual images from the game crowd out the imagery in your mind of the food you’re craving. If Tetris isn’t your thing, it’s worth giving your favorite game app a try!
Walk It Off
A 15-minute walk can stave off the craving for chocolate, which is the food people crave most commonly. In a study of 78 people, those who walked snacked on about half as much chocolate as those who didn’t. Scientists believe that exercise might create changes in the brain chemicals responsible for managing cravings.
Stash Some Snacks
When your plan for the day includes healthy meals and snacks, you’ll be less likely to cave to cravings. From trail mix to Greek-inspired hummus dip, this collection of healthy snack recipes is sure to have something that will satisfy.
Gum Up the Works
Sometimes, simply chewing something can cut your cravings. Give gum a try—just be sure to choose a sugar-free version to keep the calorie count to a minimum. (And chewing gum comes with a bonus! Studies have found that people who chew gum consume fewer calories overall.)
Have a Plan B
See if you can satisfy your craving with a healthy alternative. Looking for something crunchy and salty? Try this healthy snack mix. Craving sweets? See if these yogurt and honey fruit cups do the trick.