One of the best ways for me to manage my cravings – which seem to strike in the mid-afternoon – is to keep the food that gets me into trouble out of the house. I rarely buy chips so when I want them, I have to find something else to eat.
But there are other strategies that help keep my cravings at bay. If if I eat a good breakfast with fruit and protein and usually a whole grain like a piece of bread, I rarely crave chips or sugary snacks later in the day. That experience is backed up by research.
In a study, Heather Leidy and other researchers found that those who ate a good breakfast were less likely to crave sweets later in the day and those who ate a high-protein breakfast were less likely to want high fat foods.
Works for me.
Walk to End Chocolate Cravings
In another study, a brisk, 15-minute walk was shown to end the urge for sweet and sugary snacks.
Cravings often occur when we are under stress and we want to fill up on the foods that comfort us. Go for a walk instead and the exercise will help diminish your stress and the cravings that come with it.
Keep Your Brain Busy
Finally, distracting your brain with other things, may be the easiest way to thwart cravings for the sweet and savory. In one study, just three minutes spent playing the video game Tetris helped curb the urge to eat.
Immersing yourself in dynamic visual activities – like video games or awesome views — or tapping your imagination to think about stunning visual displays can take our mind of the cravings until we no longer have them.
And, if they do return, a focus on the long-term impact of our food choices can keep us from indulging, according to Brown University researcher Kathryn Demos.
With a few of these strategies we can take charge of our cravings rather than letting them control us.