Why do we crave unhealthy food?
As explained in the recent New York Times Magazine piece, “The Extraordinary Science of Addictive Junk Food,” there’s no denying that junk food cravings are powerful, physiological reactions—and, apparently, carefully and strategically developed by food manufacturers. Many of our favorite supermarket snacks are made with the “perfect” amounts of added sugar, salt, fat, and other chemicals designed to make us want more. But you can steer clear of processed food by eating as many healthy, whole foods as possible, and the less junk food you eat, the less you want. Try the following tips and see if they work for you. (Take a bite out of one of these delicious snacks that dietitians swear curb their sugar cravings!)
Practice the five-ingredient rule
If there are more than five ingredients on a food label—a red flag for food processing—don’t buy it. (Or if you do, consider it a treat instead of an everyday purchase). This is an easy way to avoid impulse buys like flavor-blasted chips or pre-made cookies when food shopping.
Aim for three colors
A 2012 Cornell study found that people prefer three food items and three different colors on their plates, compared with more or less of either category. So instead of reaching for a candy bar, snack on nuts (loaded with healthy fats), fruit slices, and a small square of dark chocolate to get a healthy variety of colors, textures, and nutrients. (Make sure you know these seven science-backed tricks to stop your food cravings for good!)