1.Take the apple test. "Check in with yourself, and ask yourself if you're really hungry or if the craving stems from something else, like boredom, stress or anxiety," Rumsey says. To differentiate between true hunger and a craving, ask yourself "Would I eat an apple right now?" (Feel free to substitute any fruit or vegetable that you like.) "If the answer is yes, then you have physiological hunger, and [you should] go get an apple to eat," Rumsey says. "If the answer is no, then it's emotional hunger. You're not actually hungry for food, but for something else." In that case, instead of reaching for a snack, reflect on what your mind and body are really craving, whether it's a distraction, stress relief or a social connection, and try to proactively address the situation.
2.Know your weaknesses. Amidor is what's called a "supertaster," which means she has a heightened sensitivity to flavors. She dislikes bitter foods like coffee and dark chocolate, and is instead drawn to sugary foods like cookies, brownies and donuts. "It’s an inborn trait, and it's up to me to control it," she says. "Today, for example, I was craving ice cream, but instead I grabbed a Greek yogurt frozen bar for 100 calories made by Yasso that helped curb my sweet tooth for much fewer calories, plus it has the same nutritional profile as Greek yogurt, with calcium and protein."
3. Distract your mouth. Next time a craving strikes, Rumsey suggests chewing a piece of sugar-free gum or brewing a cup of hot tea. "Often when we have a craving, it can be difficult to stop thinking about it," she says. "The act of chewing a piece of gum or drinking a hot beverage can divert your mind from the thought of eating food." As an added benefit, hot beverages can be filling, which can further help to decrease cravings.
4. Distract your mind. Instead of reaching for chips, cookies or soda, experiment with a non-food diversion. "Try taking a walk around the block, leaving your desk to chat with a co-worker or just grabbing a good book," Rumsey suggests. "These distractions will separate your mind from the food and give you a chance to realize that you aren't actually hungry."
Get plenty of protein and fiber. Assess your diet and make sure you're getting enough protein and fiber in every meal and snack. "These two nutrients help to slow down digestion and keep you feeling fuller longer," says Rumsey. "In contrast, foods high in sugar or refined starch digest quickly and can cause a blood sugar rebound effect, which triggers more sweets cravings."
5. Substitute a smarter temptation. When a craving simply cannot be denied, outsmart it with a smarter, but still satisfying, indulgence.