1. Stay hydrated. Make sure you’re drinking about half your body weight (lbs) in ounces of water daily (if you’re 140 lbs, drink 70 oz water a day). Thirst and dehydration make you feel hungry, and may kick up your cravings. Drink water throughout the day to help you stay hydrated and control your hunger.
2. Eat something else. Even though you feel like you “need” a chocolate bar, chances are you’ll be just as satisfied with a healthier alternative, such as hummus, nuts, fresh berries, low-glycemic whole food desserts, or even a cup of tea. Having better choices on hand to munch on can help distract those cravings until they pass.
3. Exercise and stay rested. Rather than relying on french fries and cookies to help you feel relaxed and happy, go for a brisk walk during the day and get into bed with a good book a little earlier in the evening. These habits produce endorphins just like the best tasting truffles on the planet. Plus, the exercise may boost your serotonin levels—something that should help you skip sugar and extra carbs more easily too.
4. Make meditation and sunshine a priority. Taking a few minutes every day to meditate and getting 10-15 minutes a day of sunshine or light therapy may boost serotonin levels so you’re not reaching for Snickerdoodles to turn your mood around.
5. Avoid trigger foods for 21 days. Your taste buds have a great memory. If you really want to break a food craving, one of the best ways is to avoid eating those foods for a set period of time. Find a new food or drink—low-glycemic smoothies and desserts, fresh berries, guacamole and rice crackers, raw cashews, nut “cheese,”—to grab when you’re having a craving for candy, cheese, or chips.