Curb your cravings

bell peppers

Learn to control food impulses

Most people are tempted to indulge in unhealthy foods during their day. What you might not realize is that most cravings only last for a few minutes.

If you can get past those cravings and avoid the impulse to overeat, you'll overcome one of the hardest parts of sticking to healthy eating habits.

5 ways to control cravings

When a craving for unhealthy foods hits, it can be almost impossible to resist. It may seem that your body "needs" this food and won't let you rest until you satisfy your craving. This strong desire to overeat fat, sugar, and salt is called "conditioned hypereating."

Learn to ride out your urge to splurge by following these suggestions:

Distract yourself.
Do an errand, talk to a friend, or work on a project that requires your full attention. The craving period will pass more easily if you don't fixate on it.

Move your mouth.
Chomp on healthy snacks such as raw vegetables, an apple, or a piece of sugar-free gum. Sometimes we just have the urge to chew, and you can fill your mouth without loading up on calories.

Think about what you’re really craving.
Is it sweets? Grab some fruit. Something crunchy? Try celery with peanut butter. Want something savory? Hummus and whole-wheat pita bread might do the trick. 

Walk away.
Remove yourself from the area of temptation. Get out of the kitchen, move away from the buffet table, leave the bakery. Just seeing tempting foods can prompt the desire to eat something.

Work out to work through it.
Go for a walk or get some other type of exercise. You'll avoid overeating and burn some calories while you're at it.

You can still fit in your favorite foods as part of a healthy diet. But learning to curb cravings will help you avoid giving in when a craving hits, so you feel more in control of what you eat and when.

Reviewed by: Carole Bartolotto, MA, RD, April 2016
Additional Kaiser Permanente reviewers

© 2016 Kaiser Permanente

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