Holiday season can be every dieter’s nightmare, and food cravings for all those holiday treats can cause some serious diet sabotage. Few people can commit to a strict diet over the entire holiday season, but there are several ways you can outsmart those food cravings and still enjoy your favorite foods without the guilt!
Here are just seven ways to outsmart food cravings over the holidays and maintain a healthy weight through New Year’s:
1. Plan your day’s meals ahead of time. This can take some work and self-discipline, but it will help you conquer food cravings when you’re surrounded by tempting treats. Make a plan for your day’s meals, and include some of your favorite holiday foods so that you don’t feel left out of the fun. Planning ahead can help you be less anxious about the abundance of choices at the holiday table, and will help you stick with your diet.
2. Eat more lean protein. Protein can keep your appetite in check and in some cases, can ward off cravings for sugary sweets. Make sure you’re eating protein at every meal so that you are satisfied and less likely to overindulge at the next meal.
3. Skip the refined foods. White sugar, white flour and white rice can all trigger food cravings because they cause a serious spike in blood sugar. Reach for whole grains whenever possible and you’ll be more satisfied at each meal. Whole grains will also keep food cravings at bay – no willpower necessary!
4. Bump up your exercise routine. Working out raises your metabolism and can keep your appetite in check. Make sure you’re getting some exercise every day and you may be able to ward off food cravings for several hours.
5. Brush your teeth after each meal. Brushing your teeth after a meal can shift your mood away from eating and delay the need to eat more. A fresh mouth can also make some cravings disappear. Outsmart food cravings this holiday season by brushing your teeth regularly after each meal.
6. Eat small meals or snacks throughout the day. This goes hand in hand with tip #1. Plan your day’s food consumption so that you’re eating mini-meals and healthy snacks throughout the day. This will prevent extreme feelings of starvation and lower the risk of caving in to your next food craving. Make sure you’re eating a variety of foods throughout the day to stay satisfied and to keep your appetite under control.
7. Don’t eat to distract yourself. Holiday season can be stressful and an emotional time for many. Avoid overeating and snacking just to distract yourself from your feelings. Many cravings for food are actually cravings for comfort or relaxation. Recognize what is causing you to think about food, and address the real source of the problem. Your waistline will thank you!