Healthy Eating

7 Ways To Outsmart Your Cravings

  • 7 Ways To Outsmart Your CravingsSniff vanilla
    It may sound strange, but a recent study found that participants wearing vanilla-scented patches had a reduced appetite for sweet foods. This effect may be because it stimulates the release of the brain chemical serotonin, promoting satisfaction. “Try carrying vanilla essence with you so you have it whenever you fancy anything sweet,” advises nutritionist Rob Hobson ( You could also tackle cravings with scented candle.

  • 7 Ways To Outsmart Your CravingsAdd some spice
    If you’re in need of a sweet fix, head to your spice rack. “Cinnamon is a key blood sugar regulator,” says nutritional physiologist Rick Hay ( “Add it to your porridge, smoothies and hot winter drinks.” If spices aren’t for you, there are a supplements you could use to help ease temptations – although always check with your GP first. “L-glutamine helps to reduce, and even eliminate, sugar cravings,” says Hayley. “It also helps to heal the digestive tract and supports the immune system.” Meanwhile, Rick advises taking chromium, as it’s good for maintaining blood sugar levels, as well as herbal remedies such as globe artichoke or St Mary’s thistle, which also aid digestion.

  • 7 Ways To Outsmart Your CravingsFind a compromise
    “Telling yourself that you can’t have something often only makes you want it more,” says Anne-Marie O’Shea, nutritionist at Future Fit Training ( “Try embracing your free choice rather than denying it. If there’s a voice in your head telling you not to give into your cravings, remind yourself that you’re an adult, you can eat what you want and accept the consequences. Why not find an alternative food that is a little healthier, but will still satisfy the craving? If you want chocolate cake, then an apple probably won’t do the trick, but some chocolate spread on oatcakes might.”

  • 7 Ways To Outsmart Your CravingsEat a bite of chocolate
    Yep, you read that right – but before you get carried away, we don’t mean a bar of Dairy Milk! “If you’re craving a chocolate bar, the real reason could be that your body is in need of magnesium,” says Hayley Netser, nutritional therapist at Click for Therapy (clickfortherapy. com). “This nutrient is essential for countless bodily functions, such as your heartbeat, muscle movement, and the production of hormones. Consider eating a dark chocolate bar that contains more than 70 percent cocoa – the darker the chocolate, the more magnesium it has.” You can also up your intake with other foods, particularly raw spinach, pumpkin seeds, Brazil nuts and mackerel.

  • 7 Ways To Outsmart Your CravingsUse more healthy fats
    Eating more fats could be key to conquering temptations. “Fat helps slow the release of food from your stomach to your intestines, making you feel fuller for longer,” explains Amanda Hamilton, nutritionist at Udo’s Choice ( “Integrating healthy fats into meals will also help to prevent morning and afternoon slumps, when you typically want a quick fix. Combine essential fats with plant foods to ensure that you maximise the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins. You could add an omega oil, such as Udo’s Choice Omega Oil Blend (£12.99,, to your morning smoothie, drizzle it over salad, or use it to top hot food.”

  • 7 Ways To Outsmart Your CravingsWrite it down
    “If you regularly have cravings, it can be useful to keep a diary for a week to monitor when temptation arises, what it’s for and what the trigger is,” suggests Anne-Marie. “You’ll soon start to see patterns emerging which can then help you to plan ahead and pre-empt the feelings. If you then find that they’re linked to your emotions, try to identify ways of nurturing your wellbeing that doesn’t involve food. Exercise is great for releasing feel-good hormones in a healthier way, but you could also have a relaxing bath, paint your nails, pamper yourself or plan your next holiday.”

  • 7 Ways To Outsmart Your CravingsKeep your mind busy
    “Instead of saying no to a craving, say ‘yes, I’ll have that in 30 minutes if I still want it’,” recommends Anne-Marie. “Cravings, like any other thought, are transient, meaning that an urgent need can be a distant memory 20 minutes later.” She also advises finding a way to occupy your brain – for example, a study found that playing Tetris on a smartphone for just three minutes reduced temptation. “This is because mental imagery is a key component of cravings – when people want a specific food, they imagine what it would be like to eat it,” she explains. “Occupying your brain with visual-based tasks means that you’re unable to focus on eating.”

Health & Wellbeing