Conquer the Craving - Learning to Resist Temptation

Updated:Jan 9,2015

TemptationLast-minute impulses sinking your healthy eating?

Try these tips for that moment of weakness.

So you’re heading to lunch with every intention of buying a tasty salad. But then you see the menu and all your heart-healthy intentions crumble in just a few seconds. Next thing you know, a greasy cheeseburger is inexplicably sitting in front of you. 

How did that happen? More importantly, how can you avoid such unhealthy temptations during those critical seconds when you place your order.  Rachel Johnson, Ph.D., R.D., a nutrition professor at the University of Vermont, says there are a few things you can do to steel yourself against that “moment of weakness.”

Keep Those Blinders On

“Don’t even let yourself look at that [unhealthy] section of the menu,” said Johnson, American Heart Association volunteer and past chair of the American Heart Association’s Nutrition Committee. She stresses that a healthy diet is one of the most important ways to lower your risk for heart disease and stroke. Placing that salad order becomes a cinch if you don’t know the calorie-loaded options.

Many people cave after dinner as they relax after a busy day, Johnson says. Distract yourself with a brisk walk or a call to a friend.

Plan Ahead for Healthier Eating

Johnson suggests a few other tricks for conquering everyday cravings:

  • Keep the unhealthy foods you typically crave out of sight. For example, don’t leave candy in a clear bowl on the counter. Keep it in a cabinet or in a container that you have to open to see what’s inside. Keep a bowl of fruit on the counter instead.
     
  • Choose individually packaged treats. Control how many calories you consume by trading in the half gallon of ice cream for individually packaged low-calorie ice cream.
     
  • Brush your teeth after eating. You’re less likely to sneak an extra treat with a minty fresh mouth.
     
  • Chew sugarless gum. Quench a sugar craving with a stick of sugarless gum. The sweet flavor and chewing can help keep you from eating something with more calories.
     
  • Indulge in moderation. If you do cave, try to eat a small portion. You can share the rest or save it for later.

Last reviewed 9/2014

Weight Management

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