The siren song of the chocolate bar in the cupboard, the beer in the fridge, or the pizza that can be ordered in 30 seconds and easily delivered to your door. All of these things are great treats, but they have can have an insidious nature that plant thoughts and physical feelings of need juuuust when you said to yourself that you’ll cut back on treats.
Eating healthy doesn’t have to be all-or-nothing, and it doesn’t always go to plan. We often beat ourselves up if things don’t look perfect, but healthy eating is about trending in the right direction. If you start trending in a direction that you don’t like, make your next choice one that moves you back toward the path.
Here are some of my best tips to deal with snacking and cravings. To read more, go to the full article on the EatBoon site!
1. Oh that snacking!
The first step for banishing unwanted snacking habits is to simply not have tempting snacks in the house. If that isn’t a possibility, put the snacks or foods you’re trying to avoid in a place that’s hard to get. You can put them in a cabinet where you have to get out a step stool to reach them or put them in the garage. We also do this with beer – we do not refrigerate our beer. It prevents us from opening the fridge and mindlessly grabbing one. If I have to wait for the beer to get cold, that space gives me the time to actually decide if I truly want it or not. The more convenient the snack is to grab, the harder it will be to resist.
2. Create a Pause.
My favorite tip for dealing with a craving is creating a pause before giving in. Say you’re craving a bag of popcorn. What if you ate something healthy first (like some carrots, an apple, one of your planned snacks, or even a couple of handfuls of greens)? I will often tell myself I can have the thing I’m craving if I eat the healthy snack first. If I still want the thing I was craving after I ate a healthy snack, then I can have it. You could also go for a walk or do something else first before giving in to the craving. Creating that space helps you decide if you actually still want it.
3. Ask: What Can I Add-In?
A general strategy I like to employ is not asking “what can I cut out?” but “what can I add in?” Oftentimes, when you add in healthy foods, you tend to crowd out the unhealthy foods.
4. Have a Back-Up Plan.
Life happens. Maybe you didn’t do any meal prep. Having a back-up plan with foods you routinely stock in your house will make things easy. The back-up meal or meals should be super simple. For us, it’s my Asian Noodle Bowl or this pasta dish. Another back-up plan is a tortilla that we keep in the freezer, some black beans from a can, and avocado and salsa. You could also keep frozen potatoes or rice plus hot sauce to have an easy and fast burrito. What ideas can you come up with for fast and easy foods that you like?
But…what about take-out?
If you still just do not want to cook, remember that it might take you the same amount of time to order and wait for takeout to be ready as it would take for you to just make your own food. If you still want take-out (it’s always nice to have a treat!), ask what you can add to that meal to make it healthier. For example, we like to get Panang Curry with tofu. We’ll ask the restaurant to add broccoli to it and make our own wild or black rice at home. Ordering a pizza? Can you add some veggies to it or throw some arugula on top? If you’re ordering a burger, can you get a veggie burger instead?