How to reduce food cravings

9 Tricks to Fight Food Cravings—without Going Crazy

How to reduce food cravings

You know the feeling: a sudden, powerful desire to throw a coat over your pajamas and drive to the nearest market because you absolutely need that one chocolate cookie.

Food cravings are practically universal-research shows virtually all women ages 18 to 35 have had a craving in the past year. But, as anyone who has tried to just eat one cookie knows, these urges can wreak havoc on your efforts to lose-or even maintain-weight.

(Your sudden need for snacking could be your body trying to tell you something. Find out What Your Food Cravings Mean.)

Good news: An ongoing study at the USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University found that while 94 percent of dieting participants report cravings, they are still able to shed pounds by managing the impulse.

It's good to know what triggers a food obsession (stress, a memory, the need for comfort, boredom), but how well you deal with the discomfort may matter more, says Laura Slayton, R.D.

, a nutrition practicing in New York City, and author of The Little Book of Thin.

The biggest mistake you can make? Trying to go it alone: Studies shows that having any kind of game plan makes you better able to resist. Instead of just digging in your heels against unhealthy urges in the name of weight loss, try one of these tricks to fight cravings without going crazy.

Rule Your World


Food prompts are everywhere, and these cues spark cravings, whether you realize it consciously or not, says Evan Forman, Ph.D., professor at Drexel University and an expert on food cravings at the Lab for Innovations in Health-Related Behavioral Change.

It's that uninterrupted hum that exists under the radar and keeps your brain perpetually reminded of the pleasure of food.

We live in an eating-centric world, as Forman points out, so control your corner of it: Avoid having food you crave in the house, don't window-shop for food and recipes online, find a route for your commute that doesn't bring you past delicious places, stop “just looking” at what's stocked in the vending machine today…. Simple enough, but effective.

Go to Bed


As anyone who's raided the fridge while watching late-night TV knows, you're at prime risk for furious snacking at night, according to a study published in The Journal of Obesity.

“It's the work of your circadian system, which amps up cravings come sundown, telling you to keep eating in order to store energy until the next meal,” explains Steven Shea, Ph.D., from Oregon Health and Sciences University and senior author on the study.

“Your food urges peak at 8 p.m. and stay high until midnight. Basically, the later you stay up, the more food you're ly to eat.” Not getting enough sleep also triggers the release of hormones that are linked to hunger, which can spark more cravings the next day.

(If you're legitimately hungry, try eating these Foods That Help You Sleep.)

Use a Scent Memory


“Imagining a scent, freshly cut grass or gasoline, takes over the place in your brain occupied by a craving,” says Forman. “Focus on the smell for a few minutes and it can dissipate the strength of your urge.”

Tell Yourself “Later”


It's not 
a “no,” so it won't shift your body and brain into defiant mode. But postponing your indulgence can diffuse the intensity of the moment, and research shows that you're not ly to end up treating yourself after the situation has passed. One caveat: Don't attach a time to “later,” or you may hold yourself to it.

Ride It Out


Acknowledge in the moment that you want a cupcake, or chips, or whatever your kryptonite may be, and just be Zen with it. Don't try to push the feeling away, or ignore it, or punish yourself for it-just coexist with the feeling. “It's a technique called urge surfing,” explains Forman.

“It's being in the ocean: If you fight the waves, you'll struggle, panic, and eventually go under. But if you just surf them, you stay calm and in control. It takes practice, but pretty soon you'll learn that not fighting the craving, while also not giving in, is a perfectly okay state.

Eat Enough


Not surprisingly, women who try to ignore their hunger have stronger cravings. (Learn The New Rules of Hunger here.

) A study Oregon Research Institute found that the more people cut calories, the more activity there was in the parts of the brain associated with reward and urges in response to all foods-especially highly caloric treats, milkshakes.

“Timing your meals and distributing your calories throughout the day so you're not deprived for long stretches is key,” says Slayton. “Have a good breakfast, then eat what I call ‘dunch,' which is dinner for lunch. No skimpy salads. That way, you go into the afternoon and early evening-prime craving time-fortified.”

Have Protein at Every Meal


When exposed to food cues, people low on protein had stronger cravings, found a study at Wageningen University in the Netherlands.

“Scans showed that the areas of the brain responsible for reward had increased activity when protein-deprived people were shown pictures of, and smelled, savory foods, even when they ate as many calories as the control group,” explains Sanne Griffioen-Roose, lead author on the study. “They reached for more meat, cheese, and savory snacks.

” The researchers limited the subjects' protein intake for two weeks, but if your routine includes juicing, fasting, or a low-fat, veg-based diet, you might be in a similarly low state. Focus on breakfast and lunch; women often wait until dinner, at the end of the day when they need it least, to fill up on protein.

Skip Sugary Coffee


The foods women go bonkers for the most are sweet ones, according to recent research in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

That's because when you eat sugar and carbs, your brain releases hormones serotonin and endorphins, which make you calm and relaxed-for a little while. But then your insulin levels spike, causing you to crash.

That makes you hanker for more sugar…and so starts the candy roller coaster. When you start the morning with sweetened coffee, you're setting yourself up for a sugar-and-carb-frenzied day.

Make Clever Swaps


Routines are a huge factor in what you crave and when, says Slayton. “If you eat dessert every night, you'll start to yearn for it midway through dinner. But habits are malleable.” Your body might not being told it can't have its treat, but it doesn't mind a swap.

Instead of cookies for dessert, have some Sweetriot cacao nibs, which are intense in flavor and have just a few calories. No, they won't give you the exact same pleasure, but you'll get enough gratification to hold you over until the craving fades.

Other swaps Slayton recommends: If you're dying for salt, try Brussel Bytes, which are the new kale chip, or Alexia baked sweet potato fries. “The trick is to not think of it as a lowly substitute,” says Slayton, “but instead be excited about all the delicious options you do have.

” (Here are 8 Clean-Eating Recipes to Satisfy Any Craving.)


Stop Food Cravings: Here’s What You Can Do Right Now

How to reduce food cravings

We probably all know the desire to give in to our sweet tooth — we need sweets and we need them NOW! We might also have cravings for pizza or some other type of greasy, salty food.

Nasty cravings seem to appear when we least expect them and usually when we are unequipped to resist them.

Are cravings caused by nutrient deficiencies?

Although some conditions such as sodium deficiency and pica can cause cravings, there is no conclusive evidence that cravings are caused by nutrient deficiencies. Certain known facts about cravings the influence of sleep and nutrition habits (and perhaps even gender differences) make it more ly that cravings are caused by external factors and not a lack of specific nutrients.(1, 2, 3, 4)

 Here is an emergency plan so you can be prepared next time the cravings kick in…

10 tips to stop food cravings

These tips to help you reduce cravings are ordered how fast you can act on them. So while you may be tempted to reach for the fastest ones, we encourage you to give all of them a try over the next few weeks for best results.

1. Drink some water

The easiest thing you can do to curb your cravings is to have a large glass of water and wait for a couple of minutes. Even if the craving doesn’t completely go away, the fullness of your stomach will make it less intense.

2. Play a game on your phone

Who knew that playing a game on your phone can help reduce cravings? Whether you had a glass of water or not, it’s important to take your mind off the cravings for a couple of minutes. A study found that playing Tetris on your smartphone for just 3 minutes can weaken different types of cravings, including food cravings.(5) It’s too easy not to try, right?

3. Drink some coffee

Coffee might have a stronger influence on your appetite and food intake than water. Although more research needs to be done, it seems that coffee can suppress acute energy intake.

(6) What does that mean? Right after drinking a cup of coffee people will eat less than they would have without it. So even if you end up giving in to a craving, you have a higher chance of keeping the size of your treat moderate and not going overboard.

Another study found that decaffeinated coffee might help suppress the appetite even more!(7)

4. Brush your teeth

This trick will work in two ways. First of all, it might trick your brain into thinking that the meal is over. But even if you’re brain is not easily tricked, the cool mint toothpaste flavor left in your mouth will make it hard to eat anything afterwards. At least it won’t taste nearly as good…

Craving something sweet?

Cravings can range from sweet to savory and fatty. But sugar cravings are usually the ones that are the hardest to deal with — that’s why we have extra tips (and food alternatives) to curb your sugar cravings!

5. Eat more protein

Protein is your ally against crazy cravings, here’s why:

  • Increasing protein intake can reduce cravings (8)
  • Eating more protein can help fight the desire to eat at night (9)
  • Protein keeps you full longer (10)

6. Do a light workout

Before you start rocking 100 burpees, think about this: an intense workout might make you feel even hungrier, but a low intensity activity, such as a brisk walk or short bodyweight home workout can have the opposite effect. One study found that it might actually make you eat only half the amount of chocolate that you would have eaten otherwise.(11) If you’re feeling playful, next time your cravings kick in try walking backwards.

7. Avoid getting too hungry

The hungrier you get, the higher the chance that you can’t fight off that intense craving. It’s as simple as that. So don’t look for solutions when it’s almost too late. Plan your meals ahead and make sure to have a healthy snack by your side if you are prone to craving attacks.

8. Sleep

Insufficient sleep can affect your appetite and increase cravings. (12) Unfortunately, the importance of sleep is often neglected when it comes to fitness and weight loss.

The problem is that we easily get used to sleeping less and fail to notice the real effect it has on us. We get cranky, are constantly hungry and unhappy, and start to blame it on work, stress, or lack of time. But more often than not, the real reason is the lack of sleep. If you have trouble sleeping, these 11 tips can help you sleep better!

9. Mindful eating

Mindful eating is related to the general practice of mindfulness. Mindfulness in general is about practicing awareness and being present in the moment without judgement. This can also be done in relation to food and eating. (13)

An experiment from the Indiana State University tested the effect of mini-meditations prior to eating or when urge to binge occurs. It involved focusing one’s awareness on behavior, beliefs, and emotions associated with food intake. The results suggested a positive effect, as the binges decreased in frequency and severity for the meditation group. (14)

Even though binge eating and cravings are not the same thing, they may show up together. And other more recent studies have been exploring the potential meditation has to change these behaviors. (15)

10. Think long term

It would be unrealistic to expect that a craving can be stopped by thinking about it rationally, but taking a step back and visualizing the long-term consequences helps some people manage their cravings better.

Some of the consequences may include:

  • reduced energy levels
  • mood swings and more negativity
  • health risks of obesity and diabetes

Did you know?

A study has shown that “comfort food” such as junk food doesn’t necessarily provide a better “comfort feeling” than eating other types of food. This “myth of comfort food” is now being researched in other experiments. Try satisfying your craving with a healthier version of the same food. (16)

“Crazy Cravings” — how our users got rid of them

Take a look at the tips and tricks already used by our Instagram users:



The 27 Smartest Ways to Control Your Cravings

How to reduce food cravings

I know, I know. Life would be so much easier if we were wired to crave broccoli instead of junk food. But unfortunately, life is a daily struggle to hold ourselves back from salty French fries and sweet, sugary treats.

Now, there's nothing wrong with an occasional treat—you have to #TreatYoSelf every so often, after all!—but when you have little to no self-control on a daily basis, you can set yourself up for weight gain and serious health issues diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, and cancer down the road. One recent study even found sugar in particular produces the same cravings and withdrawals as cocaine. (Yikes.)

Good news! You can beat your cravings once and for all by employing these science-backed techniques. From tapping your forehead to playing Tetris, take some time to figure out which option works best for you. Best of all: You'll feel a champ in no time. And for more great health advice, don't miss these 30 Easy Ways to Fight Stress.


Isn't it funny how the more you tell yourself you can't have something the more you crave it? Here's some good news: If there's a night you want a little chocolate, you can have it—the trick it to just have a little bit.

According to the Mayo Clinic, there's nothing wrong with enjoying a small portion of something you're craving in an overall healthy diet—and it actually keeps you from going off the rails later on.

Instead of cutting your beloved junk foods out completely, enjoy a small bite here and there. But if one bite leads to devouring the whole thing five minutes later, this method might not be for you.

And for more great health hacks, trying Saying This One Word That Will Boost Your Mood by 25 Percent. 

The next time you catch yourself drooling over the thought of just-out-of-the-oven chocolate chip cookies, try distracting yourself: In one study, researchers found spending 10 seconds visualizing something—anything!—besides those cookies actually helped do away with the craving altogether.

While the participants pictured everything from a lion in a zoo to a forest, you can choose anything you want. Just close your eyes and use your imagination the best you can to successfully distract your brain and making those cravings disappear.

It turns out you can smell your way to better self-control. A 2008 study found taking a whiff of peppermint helped participants decrease their cravings, as well as consume fewer calories throughout the day.

And crazy enough, the whole mint thing has been said to help people with food-related self-control for years. So much so that one company, Crave Crush, developed a mint you can eat that's been scientifically proven to bind to sweet taste receptors to help reduce cravings.

For more great advice on conquering your day, here are 15 Easy Hacks That Will Make You On Time—All the Time.

You've probably been told to walk off your cravings, and science actually backs the simple technique up: A 2008 study found that going on a brisk, 15-minute walk can reduce cravings, helping you get a little exercise and avoid devouring that chocolate bar you've been drooling over. If you're heading out for a run, be sure to try The Smart Way to Tie Your Shoes Before a Run. 

If you loved playing Tetris as a kid (who didn't?), this might be the most fun way to beat your cravings. One study showed playing the old-school game for just three minutes reduced cravings by a whopping 24 percent.

Yeah, just by playing something you can download onto your phone for free. It's worth giving it a shot, right? And video games aren't as bad for your brain as you may think.

Here are 8 Cutting-Edge Video Games That Will Make You Smarter. 

Everyone has been talking about intermittent fasting lately, and it might help you regain your self-control in a major way.

According to the Cleveland Clinic, it can help with reducing cravings throughout the day, making you want less sweet and salty foods.

Aside from helping you eat healthier, intermittent fasting has also been shown to reduce cholesterol levels and even lessen inflammation.


Once a craving strikes, it's hard not to act on it. But by being more mindful of your body and what it really needs (not what it wants!), you'll be able to pass on those urges before they get the best of you.

Participants in one study, for instance, learned common mindfulness-based techniques that significantly lowered their cravings. By listening to your body, you'll learn to accept them when they come and know they'll naturally fade, but not give in to them.

It sounds tricky and takes practice, but it can be done.


Some people think the best way to control their cravings is by trying to limit their food intake, but you should actually do the opposite: According to the Cleveland Clinic, it's better to fuel your body regularly throughout the day, making sure to keep your meal and snack times consistent—and include a protein source in every meal, if you can. Just eat good foods— the 10 Best Foods for Your Heart.

It might be time to bust out the Play-Doh again. A 2012 study had participants spend 10 minutes constructing shapes from modeling clay, and that time working with their hands (and distracting themselves!) actually helped them reduce their cravings more effectively than spending the same amount of time letting their minds wander.


Have you ever heard of dynamic visual noise? Think of it as white noise, but for your eyes.

When one group of participants watched the dynamic visual noise display whenever they had a craving, they reported less intense cravings and ate fewer calories throughout the day because of that.

Want to try it yourself? The next time the urge to devour something sweet strikes, watch this video and see if you have similar results.

While being in a bad mood has been shown to make you crave junk food (who doesn't want a burger and fries after a particularly stressful day of work?), being happy, less anxious, and less stressed can help you fight off those urges and choose healthier options instead.

Sometimes being happy is easier said than done, though. To boost your happiness, the Mayo Clinic recommends doing things reconnecting with what brings you joy, putting yourself first, and immersing yourself in nature. If you need extra help, here are 30 Ways to De-Stress in Just 30 Seconds (or Less!). 


While protein is important for curbing cravings, so is eating healthy fats, says the Cleveland Clinic.

If you're trying to break a sugar habit in particular, try and include healthy fats in every meal, nuts and seeds, fish, and avocado, which are all jam-packed with heart-healthy omega-3s.

(Yep, that's an excuse to eat more guac. You're welcome.) They're also super satiating.


Have you ever heard of spinach extract? Five grams per day of the supplement—which is literally pure spinach sold in powder or capsule form that you can either take with water or mix into your morning smoothie—not only helped participants in a 2014 study lose weight, but also reduced their chocolate cravings by up to 95 percent. This option—made with 100 percent spinach extract—is a great option if you want to give the Popeye-approved method a try.


If you've been extra stressed lately, that could explain a sudden increase in cravings. Stress and junk food go hand in hand, and one way to get those sugary foods off your mind is by simply calming your nerves.

Since studies have shown increased stress can make you want sweet food in particular (and lots of it!), lowering your stress levels with methods meditation and exercise can help get your eating patterns back on track.

If you typically skip breakfast, here's a reason to make it the most important meal of the day again: According to one study, making that first meal a priority decreased both sweet and savory cravings later on.

And if you want to really show your sweet tooth who's boss, make it a high-protein meal by including foods oatmeal, eggs, peanut butter, or tofu, which made it even easier to stay satisfied until the next meal.


Speaking of protein, breakfast isn't the only meal to focus on.

Multiple studies have shown increasing your intake is great news for fighting off cravings, but one in particular  found that increasing your protein intake to 25 percent of your daily calories could reduce cravings by 60 percent, helping you avoid thinking about food throughout the day and even fight off the urge to eat a late-night snack.

If you already exercise regularly, keep up the good work.

And if you don't, here's a good reason to make it part of your daily routine: In a 2016 study, researchers found those who exercised often had more self-control than those who didn't, making them better able to avoid giving in to their cravings. And the best part? The more they exercised, the more their self-control increased—and that benefit lasted the entire time they kept up their workout regimen.


If you need something sweet and are simply trying to figure out the best option to satisfy your craving, go for dark chocolate instead of milk chocolate: Not only is the variety made with 70 percent cacao or higher a powerful source of body-protecting antioxidants, but eating it made one group of study participants less inclined to indulge in sweet, salty, or fatty foods later on.

Popping a piece of sweet gum in your mouth when you start thinking about ice cream could do you some favors: A 2011 study found chewing it for at least 45 minutes can significantly suppress your cravings. When you do grab a pack, just be sure to choose the sugarless variety to keep your teeth healthy, says the American Dental Association.


If it's hard to make thoughts about all the foods you desire go away, disidentification—or “distancing yourself from your cravings”—could be the way to go.

The skill has been shown to significantly reduce food cravings, and all you have to do to increase your self-control over time is acknowledge your craving, be aware that it's just another thought, and then make it disappear by distancing yourself from the thought. It takes practice, but it works.


Eating dessert might be what you're trying to avoid doing in the first place, but one study found those who ate a protein-filled, 600-calorie breakfast with 60 grams of carbs that included a small treat actually lost more weight than the other participants in the study who ate a 304 calorie, low-carb diet. How's that possible? Well, those who started their day with dessert felt less hungry and reported fewer cravings throughout the day, which made able to stick to their diets better than the other group.


Getting a good night's sleep is easier said than done—there are a countless number of Netflix shows to binge, after all. But when it comes to beating cravings, it's probably the most effortless tactic. One study showed being sleep deprived makes you more ly to crave junk food, and catching a proper amount of zzzs will ensure you have a little more self-control.


When you were a kid, your parents might have given you a treat for being good—and that doesn't have to stop as an adult.

One study found that rewarding yourself after resisting the temptation to give in to a craving can actually make you have better self-control in the future because you'll look back at those moments you resisted and be proud of yourself.

Whether that's treating yourself to a movie night at the theater or a new fitness gadget, you'll be more ly to continue with a good habit when you get something in return.

It might sound silly, but one study says you could actually tap your cravings goodbye. When participants were asked to either tap their forehead, tap their toe on the floor, or stare at a blank wall when they craved a certain food, the intensity of their cravings reduced drastically in each scenario—but the whole forehead-tapping thing came out on top as the most successful option.


Walnuts aren't just a great way to get in your omega-3s—in a recent study, they also promoted feelings of fullness, controlled appetite, and helped the participants deal with their cravings.

In the experiment, they drank daily smoothies that each contained 48 grams of walnuts, but instead of drinking your calories, pop some in a baggie and carry them around for when you get hungry throughout the day.

When you're thinking about pizza, your mind is focused on one thing and one thing only: getting that pizza in your belly.

But according to researchers, thinking about the long-term consequences opposed to just the immediate satisfaction can actually help diminish those cravings.

If you know you'll be lying on the couch in pain after devouring three greasy slices and really think about that outcome, you're less ly to want to indulge.


Obviously high-glycemic foods sugar, white potatoes, white bread, and white rice are delicious, but when it comes to controlling cravings, one study showed it's best to avoid them. (Yep, that means French fries, too.

) Researchers found high-glycemic foods are easier to overeat and might trigger the same brain mechanism tied to addiction, making your body crave those foods.

Luckily, it's easy to reverse the urges by limiting those foods and eating healthier options instead, brown rice and plenty of green veggies. (And sweet potato fries, because a life without fries is no life at all.)

For more advice on living your best life, follow us on  and sign up for our newsletter now!


Food Cravings: Ways to Identify and Cope With Food Addiction

How to reduce food cravings

From the WebMD Archives

Have you ever felt you absolutely must have a piece of chocolate, a potato chip (oh, let's get real — an entire bag of potato chips), or a box of Krispy Kremes?

Those food cravings are not a sign of weakness on your part. If you crave certain foods cereals, grains, and sugar, you may actually be addicted to them, says James Braly, MD, medical director of York Nutritional Laboratories and author of Food Allergy Relief.

People with a food addiction may have symptoms headaches, insomnia, irritability, mood changes, and depression, Braly says. They can relieve these symptoms — but only temporarily — by eating the foods they crave.

Most often, the foods we crave are processed carbohydrates. These change the brain's chemistry, increasing the level of serotonin, our feel-good neurochemical.

“People with food cravings may actually have neurochemical and hormonal imbalances that trigger these cravings,” Braly says.

If you think you may be serotonin-deficient and want to increase your serotonin levels without resorting to a pint of mint chocolate chip, Braly suggests trying these alternatives:

  • Identify and eliminate suspected food allergens — paying special attention to gluten (wheat, rye, oats, etc.) and milk products.
  • Avoid alcohol.
  • Avoid stimulants caffeinated drinks, cigarettes, and amphetamines.
  • Increase your exposure to bright light or sunlight to 1-2 hours a day.
  • Get 60 minutes of moderate or moderately intense exercise every day.
  • Make sure you get enough deep, restful sleep every night.

Although they have not been proven to be helpful, certain supplements might help, according to Braly. These include:

  • 5-hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP)
  • Ginkgo biloba
  • Acetyl-L carnitine
  • St. John's wort
  • Vitamin B-6
  • NADH (vitamin B-3 derivative)
  • SAMe (S-adenosyl-L-methionine)

“It's important to distinguish whether your craving is physiological or psychological,” says Rebecca Wilborn, director of the Midtown Diet Center in New York City. “Pay attention so that you can determine whether you are feeling actual hunger in your stomach.”

Physical cravings may be a result of low fat intake or low blood sugar.

For many of us, the mid-afternoon cravings we feel are merely our body's way of telling us it has been too long since lunch and we actually need to eat.

A piece of fruit, yogurt, or a handful of nuts can get the blood sugar levels back up and keep us from reaching for the no-no snacks we think we're craving, according to Wilborn.

Emotions play a big part in food cravings, too, Wilborn says. “When we're stressed, anxious, frustrated, lonely … all those feelings can trigger our cravings.” She adds that we may have memories of how good certain foods made us feel when we were younger.

Sensory triggers, smells and visual cues, can also set off cravings, says Wilborn. If you walk by the pizza stand on your trip through the mall, chances are you're going to start salivating.

If you're not physically hungry, Wilborn offers several recommendations for handling your cravings:

  • Brush your teeth and gargle with an antiseptic mouthwash Listerine. “Part of wanting to eat is the taste. Nothing tastes good after you've gargled with Listerine,” Wilborn says.
  • Distract yourself. “Take yourself the situation for 45 minutes to an hour,” says Wilborn. “Then if you still want whatever it is you're craving, have a small amount.”
  • Exercise.
  • Relax with deep breathing exercises or meditation.
  • Choose a healthy substitute. If you want ice cream, spoon up some fat-free, sugar-free ice cream, frozen yogurt, or sorbet. Wilborn also recommends freezing a container of Dannon Light yogurt. “It takes on a wonderful consistency,” she says. If you want potato chips, try baked tortilla chips instead.
  • Listen to your cravings. If you want something salty, you may very well need salt. Add salt to your food instead of having salty snacks.
  • If you know what situations trigger your cravings, avoid them if possible.
  • Drink at least 64 ounces of water a day. “Often hunger is a signal that we're thirsty,” says Wilborn.

But allow yourself some moments of weakness, too. “Give in now and then,” Wilborn says. “It's really not healthy to be so rigid.”

Jennifer Grana, a registered dietitian with the Dr.

Dean Ornish Program for Reversing Heart Disease in Pittsburgh, agrees that if there is no medical reason for you to avoid your favorite snacks, you should cut yourself some slack.

“If you're reaching for a bag of chips only now and then, that's OK.” As long as 80% of your food intake is good for you, you can play with that other 20%, she says.

Think of your favorite foods as a reward, she says — a small treat after you've finished your exercise for the day, perhaps. “Don't think of a food craving as a negative,” she says. “For most people, anything is OK in moderation.”

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