Don’t Let That One Snicker Bar Destroy Your Diet
How to stop craving unhealthy snacks.
I see a snicker bar lying there on the micro-kitchen table. I can already smell the delicious chocolate and the crunchy wafer inside. I have had oatmeal and fruits for breakfast, salad for lunch, and grilled salmon for dinner, just one bite wouldn’t hurt, right? One bar down, 250 calories, 22g processed sugar, 11g saturated and trans fat later: the result of a day of dieting vanished.
Junk food is bad for us and we all know that, but we just can’t stop wanting to eat them. Resisting these small snacks is especially hard, more so when you are on a diet, feeling hungry due to the calorie deficit.
In this article, I share some tips that helped me stop craving junk food.
“They are junk”
Everyone knows that processed and sugary food is bad for you, but you have to really develop the mindset that they are junk to truly stay away from them consciously. When you see a bag of chips, you should think:
- They are a mixture of chemicals made in a big factory. They are bad for me and bad for the environment.
- Eating them will only make me feel good for 5 seconds and I will regret it immediately afterward.
- Even worse, I spend 2 dollars just to make myself a little more unhealthy.
A nutrition-conscious mindset is developed from knowledge and habits of managing your diet. Here are the basic steps:
- Learn the basics about nutrition. A good place to start is the articles on our government’s website. There are many books on healthy eating too. Just stay away from the misinformation from some fitness influencers.
- Learn about how terrible junk food is. Again, there are many documentaries like this one on processed food and on the obesity issue.
- Try tracking your diet for a couple of weeks: use a tracker app like MyFitnessPal to track everything you eat.
- Now you have a sense of nutrition, go to a supermarket and just look at all the nutrition labels. Get into the habit of doing this.
Now that you have realized how bad junk foods are and that you want to avoid them, your journey towards a healthy diet begins.
Put them away
This has been my first and the most effective method to stop craving: I just deny myself access to any junk food. Resisting to take a candy bar is much easier when there is none in front of you.
I know this is hard to do when you have kids or if you often host parties at your home. The second most effective thing is to put them out of reach. Hide them on a top shelf, or in the basement. Only bring them out when it is their turn to shine. If you don’t see them, you don’t think about them and you won’t crave them as much.
Drink a lot of water
You have heard a thousand times that drinking a lot of water is good for you. Another benefit of drinking plenty of water is that water fills your stomach so you are not hungry. This stops your craving for food.
There are apps for tracking water intake. Some people use calendar notifications to remind themselves. For me, I just stick to two simple rules that are easy to remember:
- Drink a cup of water before each meal. Drinking the water also makes you eat less for that meal.
- Chuck some water if you are craving snacks. Chances are that moments later, you will forget about the snacks.
Another little trick, try drinking 0-calorie sparkling water. They are refreshing in the summer, and the infused gas makes them more filling than plain water.
Prepare health substitutes
Now, if you are really hungry and your body just needs some real sugar, try eating some healthy snacks. My favorites are boiled eggs, fruits, and yogurt. They are delicious options.
Note, the main reason we often choose junk foods as snacks is for convenience. Bringing and opening a bag of chips is just that easy. Thus, to form the habit of eating healthier snacks, you must make them more accessible. Try getting into the habit of preparing them in batches: every couple of days, I would boil some eggs, cut some fruits, and put them into containers to bring them to work. Now, healthy options become just as accessible at your fingertips.
When I first returned to office after the lockdown, I was unable to resist the temptation of the snacks available in my micro-kitchen. But following these simple and actionable tips has helped me tremendously.
I hope it would do the same for you~
Thanks for reading~