Chocolate cravings can be hard to resist, as chocolate has a taste and texture shared by no other food. Eating chocolate makes us happy, since it increases levels of serotonin in the brain, the neurotransmitter responsible for feelings of well being and good moods. Eating a small amount of dark chocolate can even have profound health benefits. However, chocolate contains a lot of fat and sugar, which can have negative health consequences for those who regularly succumb to chocolate cravings; these tips can help you beat your chocolate cravings.
1) Distract Yourself
Most cravings will disappear after about 20 minutes if you don't give in to them. Find a way to distract yourself from the chocolate craving. Try:
- Going for a walk
- Chewing a piece of gum or brushing your teeth
- Reading a book
Find something to do with your hands to keep busy, or get out of the house and away from your chocolate supply if the cravings are strong. If you wait them out, most of your chocolate cravings will disappear after 20 to 30 minutes.
2) Try Nutritional Supplements
Chocolate contains a number of trace minerals, including magnesium and copper, and some chocolate cravings may be the result of nutritional deficiency. Use daily magnesium supplements to keep your chocolate cravings under control, and make sure you get plenty of copper, potassium and iron in your diet as well.
3) Eat Something with a Strong Flavor
Eating something that has a strong, distinctive flavor that's completely different from that of chocolate can help stop your chocolate cravings. Try eating something spicy or strong, like pickled onions, or try strong licorice, mint or another candy that tastes strongly and very different from chocolate. Even if you eat chocolate afterward, the incompatible flavor will detract from the taste of the chocolate and make you less likely to crave chocolate again.
4) Eat a Chocolate Substitute
Chocolate substitutes, available at many health and whole foods stores, taste like chocolate but don't contain all the added sugar and fat. While chocolate substitutes can be more expensive than ordinary chocolate, they taste just like chocolate and can satisfy your sweet tooth without ruining your diet.
5) Eat a Small Amount of Dark Chocolate
If all else fails and you find yourself unable to withstand your chocolate cravings, eat a small amount of dark chocolate. Eating a few squares of dark chocolate each day can have a number of health benefits. It can improve cognitive function, protect against heart attack, stroke and diabetes, and prevent cavities. Dark chocolate is also high in the antioxidants that can protect against cancer and slow the signs of aging.
Remember, white chocolate and milk chocolate don't provide the same benefits as dark chocolate, since milk inhibits your body's ability to absorb and use the many beneficial compounds available in dark chocolate. Dark chocolate still contains a lot of fat, however, so eat it sparingly and be sure to lower your daily calorie intake slightly to compensate for the calories in the dark chocolate.