If you’re having trouble taming your sweet and salty cravings…
And, If you think cravings are the reason the numbers on your scale aren’t moving in the right direction…
Try these 6 easy steps for taming your sweet and salty cravings.
First, know this: It is possible to lose your cravings.
If you’re like most people, you’re just not going about it the right way. These tips will help, but only if you follow them.
Forget about dieting. Make an effort to build healthy, portion-controlled meals from nutritious foods…then taper your calories throughout the day.
And never, ever skip meals.
Eating regularly throughout the day helps control cravings. Keep meal and snack times consistent.
- Eat breakfast within one or two hours of waking up, and allow no more than four to six hours between meals.
- Include a protein source in every meal and snack. This helps to satisfy you and curbs your cravings.
Crave something sweet or salty? Choose foods with nutritional value:
- whole grain crackers
- fresh fruit
- plain yogurt topped with fruit
- dark chocolate that’s over 70 percent cacao.
And be prepared:
- Stash healthy snacks in your purse, desk or bag.
- Plan dinners ahead of time so your mind, and not your stomach, decides the menu.
Finally, avoid being too restrictive.
- Enjoying appropriate portions of sweet treats from time to time can help keep you on track.
Are you trying to satisfy your sweet tooth with diet soda?
Drinking artificially sweetened beverages has no effect on weight, studies show. If anything, diet beverages are more likely to expand your waistline.
- Artificial sweeteners tend to make us overeat. Eventually, they encourage many people to turn to the real thing: sugar.
Some animal studies also suggest that artificial sweeteners make our bodies resist insulin. This may increase the likelihood that you will develop prediabetes or diabetes, and could increase the risk of heart disease.
Want to quench your thirst?
- Try seltzer water with natural flavoring or add lemon, cucumber or berries to your water.
3. Reprogram your taste buds
How do you retrain your taste buds when taming your sweet and salty cravings?
- Crowd out the addictive sweet and salty foods with real foods. It’s difficult to overeat foods that come from the earth.
- Instead of pretzels and chips, enjoy air-popped popcorn, popcorn made with extra virgin olive oil, or unsalted mixed nuts.
- Try replacing sugary treats with berries and dark chocolate (over 70 percent).
- Add a bit of nut butter for protein and healthy fat.
- Try a piece of dark chocolate with cashew butter. The fat from the cashew butter helps turn off some of those sweet cravings.
Other options include:
With patience and practice, what used to taste sweet to you will start tasting too sweet.
- Juicy, fresh blueberries can be enough to satisfy a sweet tooth once you stop bombarding your taste buds with candy, sweet drinks and foods sweetened with hidden sugars.
Similarly, after eating less salt for several weeks, by cutting down on processed foods, convenience foods, restaurant foods and the salt shaker — a little salt will start tasting like a lot of salt. And you’ll need less to satisfy your salt craving.
4. Find support for the changes you’re trying to make
A strong support system is one of the secrets to controlling cravings.
- For kids, “parents can help by not buying sweet and salty snacks on a regular basis. And grandparents can encourage whole, natural foods instead of desserts.
- If emotional eating is involved, a behavioral health specialist or psychologist can help develop strategies to keep weight loss on track.
5. Pay attention to your body
Are you overeating because of stress? That’s often when cravings for sugar or salt surface.
- Try meditation, exercise or reading to settle yourself.
- Keep a water bottle at your desk, in your car or in your purse to avoid dehydration.
6. If you have diabetes:
- You may crave something sweet even when your blood sugar is normal.
- Add a small amount of whip cream or dairy-free whip to berries or fruit.
For a quick, healthy, warm dessert
- Mix ½ cup steel-cut oats, 1 small apple, diced, and some cinnamon. Heat in the microwave for a minute or so, and you have a healthy, tasty alternative to apple crisp.
If you have diabetes and your blood sugar is low when cravings hit:
- Eat 15 grams of carbohydrate (three to four glucose tablets or 4 ounces of 100 percent fruit juice) to normalize it.
- But, in this case, avoid chocolate, because it takes too long to digest and won’t raise blood sugar as quickly.