Real World Diet Tip #2

Avoid gateway foods. You’ve heard of gateway drugs – those less addictive, “safer” drugs that start you on the path to hard drug use and a life of crime? Well gateway foods are just as bad. True, we may not end up in jail for eating, but lying on the operating table having my arteries cleaned out during a bypass operation doesn’t really sound all that much better.

So what foods are gateway food? Simple, those foods you can’t stop eating once you start. Things like candy, peanuts, and chips. Have you ever just eaten one M & M? No, me either. Same with chips (which are my downfall). I’ll eat till the bag is gone. Before you know it your healthy living weight loss plan has gone out the window and your pants are tighter. So it’s best to just avoid gateway foods altogether. But since we are still hungry here’s some ideas of what to eat instead:

Want something sweet? Eat a dried plum or dried fig. Sweet, gooey, and full of iron and fiber too! Can your candy bar say that much?

Want something chocolate? My favorite fix is a spoonful of chocolate sorbet. But if you can’t find that (and it’s not always easy to find) have a rice cake topped with Nutella or a little bit of the darkest chocolate you can find (something 70% cocoa). Really dark chocolate will soothe the chocolate cravings, but it’s bitter enough that it’s not a gateway chocolate. AVOID milk chocolate at all costs. Milk chocolate has more sugar than cocoa, and that sugar makes you want more. Yes, it’s a true addiction reaction.

Want something salty? This is why we can’t eat just one peanut or one chip. Same addiction reaction, different gateway substance. This time it’s salt. Keep chips, salty crackers, and salty nuts out of the house! Instead, eat something pickled, like a dill (not sweet) pickle or a large stuffed olive, or pickled green beans, or my favorite – pickled Brussels sprouts. Pickled items will cure the salty, crunchy cravings.



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About the Author

Renee Pottle, an author and heart-healthy educator, loves to explore and write about the Mediterranean Diet. She blogs at and

Comments (1)

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  1. Jackie says:

    Oh how true about chocolate – it needs to be DARK to satisfy and stop the craving! One square of Lindt 99% dark chocolate is all I need. Really melts in your mouth and is NOT bitter. Hard to believe but it has been tested by several chocoholic friends too. 1 square= 10 cal, 1 g fat, .5 mg sodium, .6 carbs, .3fiber

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