How to Turn Unhealthy Cravings Into Healthier Snacking

We all crave comfort food from time to time. And while there is nothing wrong with an occasional trip to the drive-thru or a couple of cookies, frequent cravings for unhealthy snacks can lead to overeating. Here are some tips on how to recognize why you're craving that sweet or salty treat, and how to kick those cravings in the future.

Understand your cravings. Many of us crave unhealthy foods when we are feeling stressed, anxious or depressed. This is called emotional eating. It can be hard to control these cravings because they are not related to physical hunger. Instead, they are an attempt to use food to fill our emotional needs. Make a note of every time you overindulge so you can start to track why you snack.

Address your emotional needs. Monitoring your snacking choices can reveal why you overeat. Is it after a hard day at work? Try skipping the cupcake and taking a walk or a relaxing bath instead. Do you have cravings when you are feeling depressed or bored? Then do something that lifts your spirits. Call a good friend, work on a favorite hobby or get some exercise.

Change your snacking habits. Once you know when a craving might hit, you're ready to take it on. Keep healthy snacks onHealthy Snack: Trail Mix with Nuts hand. These could include some nuts, fruit, yogurt or even a small amount of dark chocolate. You can also create a snacking schedule. This way, you'll know when you'll next be taking a break for a bite of food, ensuring that you don't pick up a less healthy snack beforehand.

If you are someone who craves too many sweet or salty snacks, then understanding your eating habits — and planning ahead — can make all the difference. Making changes one step at a time will boost your future health and set you up for snacking success.