Ask the Internet: How to Handle Food Cravings?

This week’s question comes from reader Elizabeth:

Q: I try to eat healthy as much as I can, but after a long day at work, I sometimes crave something sweet and/or want take-out. I try to do this in moderation by limiting how often I eat them, but I'm never sure if I'm indulging too often.

I've learned where I can alter a recipe to make it a lot healthier, but there are some things that just aren't the same made light or in small portions (chocolate chip cookies come to mind).

So, how do you handle cravings?

A: Good question, Elizabeth, and thanks for writing in. Cravings are tricky little things, and I use a few different strategies to vanquish them. Sometimes, I straight up indulge. Healthy eating is great, but it should never turn into deprivation, and if I really want some M&Ms, I’m gonna eat a small bag. Waistline be danged.

Other times, I try to find a lower-calorie substitute. For example, Asian-style noodles are my lifeblood, but I know they’re not really meant to be a snack. Instead, I prep a small bowl of Mark Bittman’s Oatmeal with Scallions and Soy Sauce, and sprinkle it with a little toasted sesame oil. It sates my cravings for salt and carbs without going overboard with calories and fat. Fruit is wonderful for this if your cravings tend to be a little sweeter.

Finally, when during shopping trips, I avoid foods I tend to crave. ‘Cause I know if that carton of Ben & Jerry’s gets into my freezer, it’ll be gone by week’s end. (Note; This is much harder with wine.)

Readers, how about you? How do you claim victory over your cravings? Do tell.

(Photo from Sharkride.)

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