Highly processed fare like pizza and ice cream are the most addictive eats, according to University of Michigan researchers. “These foods have tons of sugar, fat and refined grains, all of which influence blood sugar levels and the release of serotonin, which is quickly converted to sleep-inducing melatonin,” says Libby Mills, RDN (who was not involved in the study). “So we feel good one moment and deflated and tired the next. Then we crave a quick fix—more sugar, fat and refined carbs.” Break the cycle with these techniques.

Pause

Before you dig in to your chocolate stash, evaluate your hunger. “Ask yourself, ‘Am I just eating because it’s there?’” Mills says. If you’re truly starving, eat a healthy lunch or a snack. Tell yourself you can have a small bite of chocolate later if you still want it.

Plan

“If you try to ignore your cravings, you’ll end up bingeing,” Mills explains. “Decide on a small serving and a time to enjoy it. Also, have healthier choices like hummus and veggies alongside it to fill you up—and blunt the roller-coaster effects.”

Savor

When you do have a slice of pizza or some ice cream, “focus on the aroma and the visual appeal of the food,” Mills advises. “Allow yourself to take in the nuances of texture and taste rather than just scarfing it down.” This can help you feel satisfied— and in control.

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