The urge for something sweet or salty can hit you for lots of reasons: an afternoon lull, a light or early dinner, or even boredom. But you can do some things to get past it, or better yet, stop it before it starts.
Leave it at the store
If you know you’re likely to give in to a salty urge, don’t let potato chips sneak into your grocery cart. Instead, stock up on unsalted or lightly salted walnuts – they contain protein and omega-3 fatty acids that can be good for your heart. Same goes for a sweet tooth: Pick up some fresh strawberries or pineapple chunks, and leave the ice cream in the freezer aisle.
It’s a simple thing that can really help: If you drink more water, you’re likely to eat less fat, sugar, and salt, just what you want to avoid in a snack. This is because water helps fill the space in your stomach, and that can make you feel fuller.
Boredom can lead to mindless eating. Call a friend, read a book, go bowling – anything to stop yourself from eating just because you don’t have anything else to do. You could even go to a movie, but walk right past the popcorn to your seat.
Make It Inconvenient
Put those cookies or chips in a small bowl across the room and put the bag back in the pantry. You’ll have to get up each time you want some, and that’ll make you eat less. And it’s not just the effort to get up that makes the difference: It’s also because you have a chance to stop before you grab that next handful and ask yourself, “Do I really want any more?”
But not with food – make it something else you really like. Give yourself a prize for each small goal achieved. For example, if you skipped that late-night ice cream on Friday, buy yourself some new nail polish on Saturday. Don’t hold out for broader goals like “eating better”.
It’s not just good for you, it can actually make you snack less. Whole grains, vegetables, fruits, and lean meats fill you up more easily and with fewer calories. And they take longer to digest, so energy gets to you in usable amounts through the day. Junk food dumps all that energy at once and your body stores the extra as fat. This can leave you tired and hungry – even “hangry” – soon after.
Stay Away From Triggers
A trigger is any situation that leads you to eat things on your “naughty list”. If you’re not sure what yours are, keep a journal and look for patterns. For example, if you’re often tempted at the bakery where you get your morning coffee, make your coffee at home or go somewhere else to get it.