A guide to coping with cravings

Stop craving these sweets by substituting them for other foods

We all know the feeling when the clock strikes nine and suddenly, chocolate, ice cream and pizza sound pretty good. Unfortunately, these delicious treats don't make the body feel as good as they taste. So we try to cope with the cravings. However, that sometimes leads to simply overindulging later. We try to convince ourselves that because we didn't cave in the night before, eating twice as much is okay the next day. Here's how to deal with cravings for those ultra addictive foods:

Find your motivation
If you have no reason to not eat that sugary donut, chances are you may just cave into your cravings. Whether your motivation is to slim down for beach season or have more energy in your day-to-day life, having a goal will make it more likely that you'll resist those foods.

Everyone makes mistakes
If you do indulge in an unhealthy meal or have that extra piece of cake, well, sometimes that's okay. Just don't let one mistake erase all of the progress you have made so far. Many have the mindset that because they ate one unhealthy meal or snack that their diet is ruined – it's not. Continue to eat healthy and don't make it worse by assuming that you've failed.

Fill up on the right foods
When you're craving sugary treats, your body may actually be wanting a different type of food altogether. According to Annemarie Colbin, founder of The Natural Gourmet Institute and prominent author and lecturer on natural health and holistic medicine, here is what to really eat when you're craving the wrong foods:

If you're wanting sugar…you should be eating more whole grains and fruit and less meat, salt and dairy products. Substitute those sugary cravings for a frozen banana or a tasty vanilla shake. Naturade Pea Protein powder contains no animal by-products, artificial flavors, sweeteners or colors. With this meal replacement, you can get your fix for something sweet without all of the added sugar.

If you're wanting salty foods…you should be consuming more black beans and vegetables and less sweets, fats, alcohol and meat. To solve your salt fix properly, amp up your food with other herbs and spices or natural soy sauce.

If you're craving coffee…you should eat more vegetables and salad and eat less sugar, salt, grains and flour. Colbin suggested substituting regular coffee for grain coffee, which is a mix of grains, nuts, dried fruit and natural flavors that tastes similar to coffee.

Are you really hungry?
Oftentimes, your brain is just playing tricks on you to make you believe that you're hungry. Women's Health suggested picturing a sizzling steak. If you're actually hungry, the steak will sound good and you can go ahead and eat something. If it doesn't, you're more likely just bored than hungry. Oftentimes we can mistake dehydration for hunger. Instead, grab yourself a tall glass of water.

Clean out your shelves
You're more likely to satisfy your craving if you have it close at hand. If it's not there, you're likely not going to leave your house and drive to go get it. Go through your fridge and cabinets and eliminate any junk food that will only cause you to crave it. Fill it up with fresh fruit and vegetables as well as almonds, cheese, tuna, chicken and salmon.

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