Everyone has cravings. You grow up with sweets and snacks as a child. Or your childhood is one without many treats, so you find yourself overly indulgent as an adult. Whatever the reason, people have the desserts and savory bites they love.
There is, of course, nothing wrong with occasionally giving in to those cravings. The problems occur when you go overboard and veer into unhealthy habits. When you find yourself in this territory, it can be helpful to have tips and tricks to persevere. You can overcome your sweet and salty cravings.
1. Do a Gut Check
The first step to overcoming snacky habits is to review your overall health, mental and physical. Check in with your psychological reasons for wanting to snack. Are you stressed, tired, or sad? If you are an emotional eater, that’s an area to work on. Sometimes, people eat mindlessly — out of boredom. You might have trained yourself into snacking in front of the television. Address the emotions behind your snacking and you may find those cravings lessening.
On the physical front, you may have a health issue that has you reaching for snacks and sweets. Your gut may be out of balance due to an unhealthy combination of good and bad bacteria. Supplements like probiotics, bone broth, and/or miso broth can help. Apple cider vinegar is another way to balance your gut health. And if you can’t stomach the harsh taste of vinegar, you can check out Numo to learn about ACV Gummies instead.
2. Find a Healthy Alternative
In addition to healing your gut, you can swap out unhealthy snacks and desserts for healthy ones. Instead of cheese puffs, try carrots. Replace candy with berries. Sometimes, it helps to swap a sweet for a sweet, like a fruit for sugar. Other times, it is the crunch or the salt you long for. In this case, try foods like cucumbers or jicama with lime and salt sprinkled on top. You’ll still be meeting the urge, but in a way that benefits you and doesn’t add to your waistline.
It can be challenging to realize that many of your cravings are an issue of conditioning. You have likely spent years reaching for the same unhealthy foods. Now, it is up to you to follow that same pattern of reaching but switch out what you reach for. When you take this approach, you can trick your brain without hurting your body. All those contentment receptors in your brain still light up and the fiber in the fruits and veggies fills you up. You’re satisfied by the snack without the guilt.
3. Don’t Cut the Fat
To support these healthy swaps, you can add fat to your diet. It sounds counterintuitive, but your body needs more healthy fats. The health and wellness world went wild a few decades ago and told everyone to cut the fat. Snacks and prepackaged meals came with labels promising to be “low fat” and “fat-free.” Sadly, far too many people followed this “science,” and gained weight!
Why? Because those fat-free snacks don’t fill you up. What fills you up? Fat!
Healthy fats have multiple benefits, not the least of which is that they help curb your appetite. Think of avocado, olive oil, fatty fish like tuna and salmon, and nuts and seeds. These foods fill you up faster and contribute to healthy blood, skin, and organs. Also, eating these rich foods makes you less prone to reach for empty calories and unhealthy fats. Fuel your body with filling, healthy fats, and you’ll find yourself less interested in chips and chocolates.
4. Increase Protein
Speaking of fuel, protein is the new king of the healthy diet world. It is the energy source that will cut cravings as a side benefit. Like with fat, more nutritionists are coming to realize the impact of protein on the human body. For thousands of years, humans ate protein-rich diets as hunter-gatherers, ranchers, and farmers. It has only been with the advent of the commercialization of food that breads and grains have taken over.
When you live more like the people from a few generations ago, you find yourself with more energy. More energy means more movement and better focus. Your lifestyle takes on a shift that simply does not allow for unhealthy snacking. Indeed, if you do reach for a snack, you’ll crave fat and protein.
You’ll want nuts and beef jerky instead of Doritos and Skittles. Plus, like with fat, increasing your protein intake has health benefits that go beyond overcoming cravings. Check out our article on types of whey protein and discover how it could be a good addition to your diet.
Finally, one of the simplest ways to overcome sweet and salty cravings is to give in to them. It seems silly at first, after all this talk about ways to avoid those foods, but it makes sense. Sometimes, you just want the chocolate cake. You don’t want an alternative and you don’t want to try not to have it. Most nutritionists and health experts will agree that it’s okay to occasionally indulge. In fact, indulging can help you curb other cravings.
Of course, this tip only works when combined with the other ones listed here. Once you have a healthy gut, healthy fats, and plenty of protein, you can indulge. Indeed, you can feel good about indulging. Have a high-quality, rich, satiating version of your craving, and you’ll satisfy that urge. Call it a small act of self-indulgence supported by a lifestyle of self care. The truth is that this conversation is about taking good care of yourself. And proper self-care is about balance, which means giving in to the cravings every once in a while.
Ultimately, it takes a commitment to changing your lifestyle to truly overcome cravings. Whether they are sweet, salty, or both, you have spent a lifetime developing and feeding your cravings. It will take more than a few weeks or a single tip to change those habits. It will likely take all of the above tips and a determination to persevere. The good news is that when you incorporate all of this advice, it will be hard to fail. Over time, you’ll be so satisfied on so many levels that you’ll wonder how you ever had those cravings in the first place.