1. HAVE A PROTEIN-PACKED BREAKFAST.
Having a healthy breakfast sets the tone for making smart choices all day long.
Make sure your first meal is packed with protein. Research shows that it could help suppress unhealthy cravings.
(Building your best body requires drive, sweat, and the right food. Fuel Your Fat-Burners With 101 Muscle Meals from Men’s Health.)
“Make sure you’re eating 30 grams of protein in the morning,” says Medifast California registered dietician Cara Walsh.
2. EAT ENOUGH DURING THE DAY.
Tempted to skimp on daytime meals and snacks to “save” your calories for dinner—and after dinner?
Don’t do it: Not eating enough during the day will leave you hungry and more likely to crave junk at night, Walsh says.
3. HAVE A SLOW SNACK.
Those two tiny cookies you portioned out for your post-dinner Netflix binge? You probably finished them before the end of the opening credits. And before you know it, you’ll probably be going back for more.
So next time, have something that you can eat slowly, recommends registered dietician Amy Goren.
“If I’m truly hungry, I’ll eat a 100-calorie pack of pistachios. Because they’re in shells, they take longer to eat, reducing the risk of mindless munching,” she says.
4. CONSIDER WHAT YOU MISSED.
Rather than blindly reaching for a box of cookies or a bag of chips, do a quick inventory of what you’ve eaten for the entire day.
“Did you get enough fruit? Did you eat any vegetables? How was your protein intake? If you are lacking in any one group, let that be your first choice,” says registered dietician Sarah Pflugradt.
Aim for 100 calories worth of the snack you choose and pair it with a glass of water.
5. MAKE YOUR OWN DESSERT.
Half of a frozen banana dipped in melted dark chocolate tastes indulgent.
But it’s also loaded with magnesium and potassium to help your muscles relax, and carbohydrates to help you fall asleep. Plus, you can control the serving size. Those are just some of the reasons registered dietician Chelsea Fuchs loves this snack.
6. GO TO YOUR ROOM
Indulge your inner sloth and hop into bed early. From there, you can read, watch TV, play Words with Friends, whatever.
When you’re comfortable in a spot that’s far away from the kitchen, you’re a lot less likely to end up grazing on empty calories just because, says registered dietician Lori Langer, founder of Live Well Nutrition Consulting.
7. ASK YOURSELF IF YOU’RE ACTUALLY HUNGRY
When you’re bored, you’re more likely to start hearing that little voice in your head that tells you to polish off the pint of ice cream in the freezer.
So if you start experiencing cravings, take a pause.
“Before grabbing that snack, ask yourself whether you’re really hungry or if you’re just trying to fill the time,” recommends Certified Health and Wellness Coach Nicole Granato.
If you’re actually hungry, it’s fine to have a snack. But if you’re just bored, occupy your time with something else.