USDA Calorie Cutting Tips

Resisting Temptation

Certain foods may always be tempting to you. Perhaps it's their flavor, or the fact you ate them growing up, or that they're part of a comforting routine. There are ways to avoid tempting foods, or at least minimize their hold on you. And it's okay to give in every once in a while by spending some of your discretionary calories to enjoy small amounts of the foods that tempt you the most.

There are other ways to fight the temptation. They include:

  • Don't make certain foods forbidden -- you'll only want them more. Instead, eat them less often and in smaller amounts.
  • Eat what you're craving but in a small amount. Eating around your craving usually means eating many extra calories before finally giving into your craving -- and all those extra calories, too!
  • Decide to eat dessert just once a week.
  • Keep small containers of healthy snacks in the car so you're not tempted to stop for fast food or at convenience stores or vending machines where high-calorie foods are often the only choice.
  • Don't bring home tempting foods. Having to go out to the store is a major obstacle that will keep you from impulse eating.
  • Avoid activities that trigger food cravings, such as watching cooking shows or smelling cinnamon rolls baking.
  • Distract yourself from going into the kitchen just to browse. Make a list of alternative things to do. Your list might contain tasks that you frequently put off because you lack time. Pick one and do it, telling yourself that you can go to the kitchen later, when that task is done. Chances are you'll forget about eating, or it will be meal time when you've completed the task. And you'll have accomplished something you've wanted to get done for a long time!
  • Find things you can do instead of rifling through the cupboards. Call a friend, do a hobby, turn on the radio and dance -- whatever makes you feel good.
  • Mute television commercials and do something else while they're on so you don't see and hear the constant barrage of tempting food advertisements.
  • At gift times, ask your friends and family to give you nonfood treats instead of special or tempting foods. Suggest gifts such as flowers or movie tickets. Treat yourself with nonfood items or events as well.

Think we're done with ways to cut calories? Hardly. In the next section we'll look at fat-fighting tactics like being a smart shopper and modifying recipes.