We've all been there before: As much as you’d like to ignore the Oreos sitting just beyond the pantry door, you can’t seem to shake the urge to go back for that second (or fourth) cookie. The first one was just so divine. You start thinking about the second and, before you know it, the whole sleeve is gone and you’re riddled with guilt. While it may not happen often, it’s easy to let your taste buds lead you astray—even when you know eating another cookie isn’t going to do your waistline any favors. We have good news: it is possible to cut yourself off after one treat—and you don’t need to have crazy willpower or lack a sweet tooth, either. Along with some insight from registered dietitians, Ilyse Schapiro MS, RD, and Elisa Zied, RDN, we reveal the exclusive Eat This, Not That! plan for how to do it:
Go Out For Dessert
If you know you simply can’t control yourself around a box of cookies, cross them off your shopping list and plan to head out for a sweet treat next time your craving strikes. Schapiro and Zied both agree that enjoying a treat at a coffee shop or bakery instead of your kitchen counter can help keep that second cookie from passing your lips.
Why It Works: “You’re less apt to buy another treat when you have to go up to a counter and pay for round two,” says Zied.
Cleanse Your Palate
People often yearn for that second cookie because the taste of the first is still lingering. To cleanse your palate, keep mints or breath strips on hand and pop them when you finish your first cookie.
Why It Works: Not only will this rid the alluring taste from your tongue, it will also keep your mouth busy and act as a distraction. The duo concours. Drinking water or sipping on coffee or tea can also be helpful tactics for the same reason, adds Schapiro.
Don’t Eat It When You’re Hungry
While reaching for a Thin Mint may seem like a delicious way to quell your appetite, you’re better off viewing cookies as a treat to enjoy when the craving for something sweet strikes, not something that stops your stomach from rumbling. Make sure you have good snacks on hand to ward off hunger and sugar cravings. Some of our picks even have dark chocolate to keep your sweet tooth subdued.
Why It Works: “If you look to cookies to stay satiated, you’re more likely to go back for more,” says Schapiro.
Pair It With Something Healthy
A single medium-sized cookie generally doesn’t have more than 100 calories, so if you’re reaching for one as a snack, you’re bound to be left hungry and wanting more. To keep your cravings for that second cookie at bay, pair your treat with some fruit or vegetables.
Why It Works: “Eating a serving of fiber-filled produce before biting into your cookie will fill you up and temper your appetite. It will also leave less room in your stomach for that second cookie and help you meet your daily fruit and vegetable quota,” says Zied.