Fighting your unhealthy cravings just got easier!Sticking with a New Year's resolution to firm up can be crazy-tough when your cabinets are stocked with holiday leftovers just waiting to trip you up (thanks, Nana). Luckily, new research from Yale University found that eating certain foods during key moments in the day can help you resist temptation. Experts swear these healthy options will kill any craving-yup, even when chocolate is involved.
By Korin Miller
The 3 P.M. Itch
You know the deal: It's mid-afternoon and all of a sudden you're dying to nosh. The new Yale study found that eating high-glucose foods ahead of your usual craving time can help squelch the urge to snack on stuff that's bad for you, so try a serving of glucose-rich whole grains at lunch. Mary Jane Detroyer, a registered dietician who works in New York City, says a turkey sandwich on whole wheat will carry you through your crunch time.
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The I'd-Kill-For-Chocolate Moment
If your chocolate cravings are consistent, plan ahead by munching on this trail mix recipe from Today show health expert Joy Bauer an hour before they usually hit: ½ cup whole grain cereal mixed with a sprinkling of dried fruit and nuts. If it creeps up on you, Bauer says it's okay to give in a little. Just opt for a mug of hot cocoa with skim or almond milk. It'll fill you up and give you a boost of glucose without a ton of calories.
The Pre-Bed Snack
That time frame after dinner and before bed is jam-packed with temptation-you're hanging out at home and there's a fully-loaded kitchen nearby. It's especially bad if your inhibitions are lowered thanks to happy hour or a glass of wine you had with dinner. Curb the cravings by treating yourself to "dessert" right afterwards. Bauer recommends four or five dried apricots and a stick of string cheese. It'll satisfy your sweet tooth and keep you full.
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The Post-Gym Pig-Out
It's a looong stretch between lunch and dinner if you regularly hit the gym after work, leaving you extra ravenous. Plus, you feel awesome that you just worked out, so you're more likely to treat yourself. Plan ahead: Detroyer recommends eating a regular yogurt an hour and a half before you break a sweat. Unlike its protein-rich Greek version, regular yogurt is loaded with glucose, so you won't start inhaling everything in sight the second you leave the locker room.
The After-Lunch Sweet Attack
It's like clockwork: You eat a healthy lunch and crave something sweet within a half hour. What gives? According to a recent study published in the Journal of Nutrition, we tend to crave sugar after a meal because we associate it with rewards: You ate a good meal, so you naturally want to treat yourself for being so good. Beat the urge by snacking on a piece of fruit before you eat lunch. It'll give you a dose of sweetness and glucose ahead of time so you won't crave it after you eat.
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The Morning-After Munchies
After a night of drinking, nothing tastes better than bacon, eggs, home fries, bagels loaded with cream cheese … . Basically, if it's salty and fatty, we want it. Like now. Fend off these cravings by snacking on three cups of air-popped popcorn before you hit the sack, says Bauer. Or, if there's no way you'll remember that before you crash, nibble on ¼ cup of roasted, lightly salted nuts when you wake up. It'll keep you from buying out your local fast food joint in the a.m.
The Sunday Afternoon Nosh Fest
Sunday p.m. is ground zero for snacking, especially if you love to spend it curled up with a Real Housewives marathon. Chilling in front of the TV can lead to mindless eating, so fill up ahead of time. Bauer recommends nibbling on hard boiled egg white halves filled with hummus before you settle in -the hummus is packed with glucose so you won't be dying to raid your candy stash an hour later.
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