Cravings

We all know what can end a diet or healthy streak...cravings, and then giving in. However, healthy living does not mean deprivation. Enjoy your food and manage your weight by indulging your cravings carefully. Here's how:

Review your Daily Journal
What are you willing to give up based on your review? For example, do you use regular salad dressing? If so, try the light version to save calories and fat. Do you drink regular sodas? Try the diet version, switch to iced tea, or better yet, switch to vitamin water or other flavored vitamin drinks.

Review your Weaknesses
Is it chocolate? What is the minimum that you need in order to not feel deprived? Give yourself the option of either surviving on 1 small piece of dark chocolate per day or splurging on a piece of chocolate cake once a week. Do you crave salty snacks such as chips or pretzels? If 1 serving is enough to not make you feel deprived, sort out that big bag of calories into single serving bags for a daily treat. You can also look for the lighter versions, such as baked chips instead of the higher fat varieties.

Distract, and then Satisfy the Craving
Try not to eat around the craving. Many of us will eat the apple, banana, and whole grain cereal to push away the craving, and then end up eating the chocolate anyway! Then we've had more calories and fat than we would have had by just satisfying the craving in the first place. When you feel a craving coming on, do something distracting like taking the dog for a walk, talking to your neighbors or calling up a friend or relative. Drink a glass of water or a cup of hot tea. If the craving is still there, be reasonable and have a serving.

Eat Often
Manage cravings before they start by eating nutritious foods every few hours so that your blood sugar level does not take a dip. Important tip: Plan a small meal around the same time that you typically have cravings.

Take a Day Off
Here is another option. Take an entire day off each week from your plan. If you know you get this day to indulge in normal-sized portions of your favorite foods, you will be more likely to control yourself throughout the rest of the week.