Curbing chocolate is a challenge, but important

Chocolate and Valentine's Day go hand in hand. It's okay to indulge in chocolate cravings from time to time, but do it mindfully.

Cleveland Clinic's Dr. Susan Albers suggests using strategies when we're surrounded by chocolate this time of year.

"If you're someone who struggles with over-eating chocolate, buy chocolate individually wrapped because this is going to help you to eat it more mindfully; you slow down. Often, we're thinking about the next piece of chocolate before we finish the one that we have," she says. 

If you love chocolate, you're not alone. 

Dr. Albers says one recent poll shows that chocolate is the number one craved food in the United States. She says our brains are wired so that when the thought of chocolate pops into our heads, our brains begin to elaborate on it. But there's a way around this. 

Think about something else as quickly as possible. If chocolate is still calling your name, try getting up and taking a 15-minute walk. Also, buy mindfully. So, instead of buying a huge box get a small one. And if you're afraid that you're going to mindlessly eat chocolate when it's there in front of you, make a plan with your significant other to avoid it all together.

"Make a pact. The two of you can agree, 'We're going to skip the chocolate this year,' but make a game plan for what you might buy instead, because it's often the thought that counts," Dr. Albers says. 

And don't forget if you're aiming for the health benefits, you want 1 to 2 ounces a day, and the darker the chocolate the better.