Here’s How Giving In to that Junk Food Craving Could Be Costing You Extra

Woman enjoys gelato while making a run to the ATM.
Carmen Mandato/ The Penny Hoarder

I once paid $5 for a Kit Kat from the mini bar in my hotel room.

I hadn’t planned to do it, but once I spotted my favorite candy wedged in between the $9 Perrier and $7 Toblerone, I knew I had to have it.

Five bucks is an astronomical amount to pay for something I can pick up at a convenience store for $1.79, but there was no fighting my craving, so I gave in.

(Spoiler: It was delicious.)

Buying that candy bar wasn’t the smartest financial decision I ever made, but at least now I can blame science.

New research published in the scientific journal “Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences” found people are willing to pay more for the unhealthy foods they’re craving, especially when the food is high in calories, fat or sugar.

“Our results indicate that even if people strive to eat healthier, craving could overshadow the importance of health by boosting the value of tempting, unhealthy foods relative to healthier options,” said Anna Konova, the paper’s lead author.

Of course, there’s nothing wrong with succumbing to the temptation of junk food once in a while. But when the food you’re craving costs an arm and a leg, it’s probably easier on your wallet if you don’t give in.

How to Conquer Cravings For Pricy Junk Food

There’s no magic bullet to stop food cravings, but there are a few things you can try when the urge for junk food hits.

Don’t Be A Fool for French Fries

Change up the way you make food that’s typically fried by throwing it in the oven instead.

Crush Crunchy Cravings

Curb your yen for crunchy food by swapping it for sliced sweet peppers or kale chips. (They’re great, I swear).

Pass Up the Pasta

Stop me if you’ve heard this before, but spiralized zucchini is a great stand-in for carb-heavy noodles.

Donut Give In To Sugar

Satisfy your sweet tooth with homemade Starbucks-inspired drinks where you control the amount of sugar.

Lisa McGreevy is a staff writer at The Penny Hoarder. Twix bars will do in a pinch.