About the Author: Kate Number is a nutrition intern with the Masonic Village at Elizabethtown, studying at Pennsylvania State University.

About the Author: Kate Number is a nutrition intern with the Masonic Village at Elizabethtown, studying at Pennsylvania State University.

As a dietetic intern, one thing I have noticed is that generally people want to improve their eating habits. But there are challenges. Food cravings are one challenge I have faced many times.

It happens to the best of us – that craving sneaks up on us late at night before bed or in the middle of the day when we are bored. Cravings are a normal part of life, but there are some ways we can try and reduce them.

1. Drink Water

The feeling of thirst can often be confused for hunger. Before you grab for that candy bar or bag of chips, try drinking a glass of water and waiting to see if that helps your cravings.

2. Eat More Protein

Eating protein helps you feel satiated and full. When you are eyeing up that bowl of ice cream, go for some yogurt or cottage cheese with berries, and see if that helps satisfy your craving.

3. Plan Your Meals

By knowing what you are planning to eat, you eliminate the possibility of uncertainty and caving into your cravings. It also allows you to have a meal or snack to look forward to, keeping your mind off other random food. Keep a meal calendar and pre-dish up meals to help you stay on track.

4. Practice Mindful Eating

Getting the most out of your meal is important to feeling satisfied and reducing cravings. Mindful eating allows you to look at your food in a more conscious way, taking your time to appreciate your food, and eating slowly. Mindful eating also helps you distinguish cravings from hunger.

5. Beware of Your Triggers

Some of us get cravings after watching commercials or certain television shows, or maybe we get cravings when we are bored or feeling emotional. Sometimes cravings can arise late at night or when we didn’t eat enough for breakfast. A huge helpful step to reducing cravings is to pinpoint triggers that might be causing them to occur.

6. Say Yes

It’s okay to cave to your cravings in moderation. Once you tell yourself you can’t have something, all you’re going to want is whatever you are telling yourself you can’t have. Instead of denying yourself your craving, try to find a better choice that is similar or indulge your craving in a small amount. If you have a sweet tooth, maybe have a small pudding cup after dinner or a piece of dark chocolate. If you like something salty, maybe have a few pretzels with mustard or a snack bag of lightly-salted air popped popcorn.

Cravings are normal, but having a plan can keep you from caving!

Find more info at https://authoritynutrition.com/11-ways-to-stop-food-cravings/.