NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Most of us have cravings, usually for the most fattening of foods. But you don’t have to give in. New strategies claim you can outsmart your cravings in a hurry.
Irene Roth fights cravings for potato chips.
“It is hard to stop because you’re like, well, what’s one more?” she said.
But Roth controls her cravings by eating the very chips she craves. The trick? Having just a few along with healthy cucumber slices.
“I’m having a smaller portion of the chips, getting that craving out of the way,” Roth said.
A recent study backs up the technique finding when subjects ate small amounts of craved food with larger amounts of healthy foods, the cravings stopped.
“It’s giving you some fiber or it could give you some protein if you do some nuts, which will actually give you that feeling of fullness, which your treat will not,” nutritionist Lauren Slayton said.
You also may want to rethink restricting foods. One study showed women who cur carbs for three days developed carb cravings and ate 44 percent more calories from carb-rich foods on day four.
Distractions can help. Playing just three minutes of a highly-visual video game like Tetris or Candy Crush killed cravings, as did a low-tech approach like tapping on the forehead for just 30 seconds.
“You’re actually interrupting the brain circuitry and with that you’re redirecting yourself and you’re keeping yourself distracted and actively engaged in something,” nutritionist Nicolette Pace said.
Finally, experts say you can actually train yourself to have healthy cravings. Start with lower-calorie foods with a focus on fiber and protein.
“The body is going to get conditioned to want it, it’s going to get used to having it and you’ll end up craving the healthy food,”
Experts say that sometimes what you turn to your craving for is to feel better, so something as simple as a hot bath or massage can do the trick.