Kick Your Cravings to the Curb
Food companies have spent hundreds of thousands of dollars to make junk food as enticing as possible for us. The combination of mouthfeel and taste keep us coming back for more, even if we know it is not healthy for us. Here are some classic tactics companies you to get you hooked on their products.
TEXTURESOur mouth loves the feeling of a combination of textures. Just like salty and sweet work well together, crunchy and creamy also are a dynamic duo. When you eat something like a Twix with the crunch followed by the chewy softness of the caramel, our body loves it and will crave it.
TASTE BUDSOur tongue has a location for each taste. Salty, sweet, umami, sour, and bitter. If you can create a heightened response to one or more of these taste sensations, you are able to hook the consumer into craving more of that food. Sour skittles for example, sour but also sweet. Crunchy yet chewy. That is a craving waiting to happen.
VANISHING CALORIESWhen you eat food like Cheetos or ice cream these foods are designed to quickly melt in the mouth. This makes it hard for your body to understand how many calories you are consuming. Your body will not know when to turn off because you are not feeling more full as quickly.
SUGARYou all know how addictive sugar is. It is something we naturally crave because of how it stimulates the pleasure sensors in your brain. The more sugar you eat the more your body craves and learns to build a tolerance. This cycle continues unless you consciously make the choice to reduce your sugar intake. Be prepared for withdrawal.
MEMORIESAs a child, you create food memories. These memories continue throughout your adult life. Did you eat mac and cheese when you were not feeling your greatest? Do you now reach for a box of mac and cheese when life is feeling tough? Creating these connections when you are young is a sure-fire way to make saying goodbye to junk food as an adult that much more difficult.
NEED SOME COLD HARD STRATEGIES TO HELP YOU CURB THOSE CRAVINGS? HERE ARE A FEW IDEAS TO HELP.
- Outside Ring
Stick to the outside ring of the grocery store. When you begin to venture down the center aisles, that is where the processed junk food lives. Fruits, veggies, and meats live on the outside.
- Make a List
Make a list before you go. By making the list before you leave you can plan for your meals, helping you spend less, but also help you say no to items, not on the list. As much as you possibly can stick to the outside ring, only venture into the middle at the end when you have something on the list to grab. If you save this area for last, the goal is your cart will be more full of healthier items prompting you to pass up the Oreos.
- Reframe Your Thinking
Replace “I can’t” with “I don’t”. "I can’t" makes you feel like you have no control over your food choices. “I don’t” puts the power in your hands to say no and move on. I also say “I shouldn’t”, that way it's not off limits completely, but I know that it is really not the best decision for my health. Your wellness is your choice, the more you say bye-bye to the treats the easier it will become.
- Smaller Plates
It is easy to fill up a plate with food and then eat the whole thing, even if you aren’t that hungry. If you choose a smaller plate you can still fill the plate up, but your portion size will be smaller. In the end, you will not be left looking at a half-full plate thinking, this is never going to last me.
- Trick Your Taste buds
There are some great alternatives to help you feed your cravings in a slightly healthier way. For example, instead of Coke, grab a fruit infused carbonated drink. Or instead of buying sugary creamer for your coffee, opt for milk and stevia. It won’t be exactly the same, but sometimes just tricking your taste buds into thinking they have achieved their goal is helpful. Avoid aspartame as an artificial sweetener.
Remember, living a healthier lifestyle requires baby steps. You can try to cut the cord and dive all in, but that works for very few people. Rather make small changes over a longer period of time.
Start off with cutting certain cereals out of your diet, or maybe substituting your Coke for sparkling water. Practice these small changes for a month, and when they are no longer a craving move onto another healthy step.