How a Little Mint Can Go a Long Way When It Comes to Weight Loss

Those Double Mint twins were onto something ¡ª mint may be just what you need to curb your cravings for a midnight snack or that second chocolate chip cookie. Due to mint’s strong scent, it is a natural appetite suppressant that can be used to keep cravings at bay, said dietitian and nutritionist Cynthia Sass. It may all be psychological but it works; sipping on mint tea, chewing sugar-free mint gum, or simply brushing your teeth can save you calories and may help you drop a pant size ¡ª unfortunately, mint chocolate chip ice cream does not count. Give mint a try the next time you’re longing for something sweet and salty, or check out some of these ideas to curb cravings.Related: Beat Your Food Cravings With These Tips

Image Source: POPSUGAR Photography / Anna Monette Roberts

How a Little Mint Can Go a Long Way When It Comes to Weight Loss

Those Double Mint twins were onto something ¡ª mint may be just what you need to curb your cravings for a midnight snack or that second chocolate chip cookie. Due to mint’s strong scent| it is a natural appetite suppressant that can be used to keep cravings at bay| said dietitian and nutritionist Cynthia Sass. It may all be psychological but it works; sipping on mint tea| chewing sugar-free mint gum| or simply brushing your teeth can save you calories and may help you drop a pant size ¡ª unfortunately| mint chocolate chip ice cream does not count. Give mint a try the next time you’re longing for something sweet and salty| or check out some of these ideas to curb cravings.Related: Beat Your Food Cravings With These Tips

Image Source: POPSUGAR Photography / Anna Monette Roberts

Beat Your Food Cravings With These Tips

We’ve all see-sawed between depriving ourselves and binging on the food we crave, usually because we crave things that we know we should avoid. According to Annemarie Colbin, PhD, founder of the Natural Gourmet Institute and prominent author and lecturer on natural health and holistic medicine, we should listen to some cravings. They are the body’s signal to search for nutrients it needs to operate properly. However, we often also crave addictive foods and substances that are nonessential (and often harmful) to our bodies.

People who experience a food addiction indulge in stimulants such as sugar, white flour, chocolate, coffee, and alcohol. Giving them up can lead to withdrawal symptoms like unpleasant headaches, intense cravings, depression, and anxiety. One bite can instantaneously alleviate these symptoms while propelling the body to pig out. Remember, easily ridding yourself of the symptoms won’t reverse the addiction. Colbin says the first four days of a cleanse are the hardest, but the cravings will diminish with patience and time.

Related: How to Kill Your Sugar Addiction Before It Kills You

Let’s take a look at the biggest culprit. We all know that white sugar is detrimental to our heath, but here’s why sugar should be hard to swallow. In her book Food and Healing ($16), Colbin explains, “To metabolize refined sugar, the body draws out the missing companion nutrients (needed as catalysts in the digestive process) from other sources.” The “other sources” can be additional foods eaten during the meal, or else your body strips the micronutrients from its own tissues. Colbin warns that to digest sugar, “We lose B vitamins, calcium, phosphorus, [and] iron . . . from our own reserves.” This is obviously a body’s last resort, and the body will try to flash a hunger signal first to search for foods with essential nutrients. Instead of bulking up on unnecessary calories to find the right food to satisfy your munchies, Colbin has mapped out an easy-to-use chart.

Refer to Colbin’s chart of “Common Cravings and How to Deal With Them” to figure out types of food your body really wants when you are craving food you shouldn’t eat.

To Diminish Cravings For Have More Eat Less Substitute

Sugar (cakes, cookies, pastries, candy, ice cream)Whole grains, baked yams, squash, apples, dates, cooked fruitMeat, salt, dairy productsFrozen bananas (for ice cream), desserts sweetened with barley malt, rice syrup, maple syrupAlcoholComplex carbohydrates, vegetables, corn, leafy bitter greensFats, salt, miso, soy sauce, animal proteinNonalcoholic beer, fruitCoffeeVegetables, saladMeat, sugar, flour, grain, saltGrain coffeeSaltSeaweed, black beans, vegetablesSweets, fats, alcohol, meat, grainNatural soy sauce, miso (small amounts), herbs, and spicesMilk ProductsLeafy greens, whole grains, beans, fishSugar, baked goods, fruit, meatTofu (small amounts), nut milkFats and SweetsProtein: beans, fish, chicken, eggsGrain, fruit, saladTry to eliminate from diet

Image Source: POPSUGAR Photography

Beat Your Food Cravings With These Tips

We’ve all see-sawed between depriving ourselves and binging on the food we crave| usually because we crave things that we know we should avoid. According to Annemarie Colbin| PhD| founder of the Natural Gourmet Institute and prominent author and lecturer on natural health and holistic medicine| we should listen to some cravings. They are the body’s signal to search for nutrients it needs to operate properly. However| we often also crave addictive foods and substances that are nonessential (and often harmful) to our bodies.

People who experience a food addiction indulge in stimulants such as sugar| white flour| chocolate| coffee| and alcohol. Giving them up can lead to withdrawal symptoms like unpleasant headaches| intense cravings| depression| and anxiety. One bite can instantaneously alleviate these symptoms while propelling the body to pig out. Remember| easily ridding yourself of the symptoms won’t reverse the addiction. Colbin says the first four days of a cleanse are the hardest| but the cravings will diminish with patience and time.

Related: How to Kill Your Sugar Addiction Before It Kills You

Let’s take a look at the biggest culprit. We all know that white sugar is detrimental to our heath| but here’s why sugar should be hard to swallow. In her book Food and Healing ($16)| Colbin explains| “To metabolize refined sugar| the body draws out the missing companion nutrients (needed as catalysts in the digestive process) from other sources.” The “other sources” can be additional foods eaten during the meal| or else your body strips the micronutrients from its own tissues. Colbin warns that to digest sugar| “We lose B vitamins| calcium| phosphorus| [and] iron . . . from our own reserves.” This is obviously a body’s last resort| and the body will try to flash a hunger signal first to search for foods with essential nutrients. Instead of bulking up on unnecessary calories to find the right food to satisfy your munchies| Colbin has mapped out an easy-to-use chart.

Refer to Colbin’s chart of “Common Cravings and How to Deal With Them” to figure out types of food your body really wants when you are craving food you shouldn’t eat.

To Diminish Cravings For Have More Eat Less Substitute

Sugar (cakes| cookies| pastries| candy| ice cream)Whole grains| baked yams| squash| apples| dates| cooked fruitMeat| salt| dairy productsFrozen bananas (for ice cream)| desserts sweetened with barley malt| rice syrup| maple syrupAlcoholComplex carbohydrates| vegetables| corn| leafy bitter greensFats| salt| miso| soy sauce| animal proteinNonalcoholic beer| fruitCoffeeVegetables| saladMeat| sugar| flour| grain| saltGrain coffeeSaltSeaweed| black beans| vegetablesSweets| fats| alcohol| meat| grainNatural soy sauce| miso (small amounts)| herbs| and spicesMilk ProductsLeafy greens| whole grains| beans| fishSugar| baked goods| fruit| meatTofu (small amounts)| nut milkFats and SweetsProtein: beans| fish| chicken| eggsGrain| fruit| saladTry to eliminate from diet

Image Source: POPSUGAR Photography

These Alternative Food Cravings Options Are Sure to Curb Your Appetite

Food cravings can be extremely tough to curb. So instead of trying to completely squash your cravings, why not try one of these healthier options? Registered dietician Shira Lenchewski of Shira RD has alternatives for everything from red meat to candy to carbs that do not disappoint.

Here’s how to decode your cravings, and act accordingly:

If You’re Craving: Chocolate

You could be lacking magnesium in your diet. Magnesium is an essential mineral involved in energy production, glucose metabolism, and muscle function. This is especially true for those hitting the gym hard.

Instead, Reach For: High-quality, low-sugar dark chocolate. I recommend sticking to 75 percent cocoa or higher and pairing it with another magnesium-rich source like sunflower seeds. My personal favorite is Hu, which is a little pricey, but all the more reason to keep portions in check.

Related: Benefits of Eating Dark Chocolate

If You’re Craving: Candy

Craving pure sugar is a good indication that you’re running low on energy. Think about it. What is the one thing you’re itching for, after a terrible night’s sleep, or at around 4 p.m. during a stressful workday? The answer is usually sugar, because it’s used as instant fuel for our body’s cells.

Instead, Reach For: If you’re raiding your co-workers’ leftover Halloween stash, I recommend a more slow-burn carbohydrate with a source of fat or protein. Unlike simple sugar, this will fuel your cells while avoiding the postsugar crash. Two options that make for great pick-me-ups: apples with nut butter or berries with 2 percent unsweetened Greek yogurt.

If You’re Craving: Salty

If nothing but the saltiest pickle will do, you may not be drinking enough H2O. Salt helps the body hold on to water, so we crave it when we’re in need of fluids.

Instead, Reach For: Water. Stay hydrated, especially as we approach the Winter months. If plain water bores you, try adding in mint, lemon, or frozen fruit to mix it up. And if you’re really just craving salt after all, toasted seaweed is a great low-calorie option.

Related: Stay Hydrated With These Fruit-Water Recipes

If You’re Craving: Starchy Carbs Like Bread, Bagels, and Pasta

Since high-carb foods boost the feel-good hormone serotonin, starch cravings can be a sign you’re in need of a mood booster.

Instead, Reach For:A bath. Bust out the Epsom salts, it’s time for some serious R+R. Trust me. Indulging in a starch free-for-all feels really good in the moment, but it will likely bum you out more the next day.

If You’re Craving: Rich Creamy Dairy

Your body may be telling you it’s in need of some healthy fat.

Instead, Reach For: I’m a realist, so if you’re craving ice cream, I’m not going to recommend a handful of walnuts, which are, of course, full of healthy fat. For ice-cream emergencies I recommend lower-in-sugar coconut ice-creams like Kippy’s three-ingredient ice cream in Los Angeles.

Related: Mouthwatering Buffalo Burger You Can Make at Home

If You’re Craving: A Burger

If you can’t stop thinking about red meat, there’s a chance you’re your body is craving iron and B12. This is especially true during or around that time of the month.

Instead, Reach For: I’m a proponent of grass fed, antibiotic and hormone-free red meat 1 time a week. Try experimenting with an open-faced bison burger ¡ª which, cut for cut, is leaner and has more iron than beef.

Image Source: POPSUGAR Photography / THEM TOO

These Alternative Food Cravings Options Are Sure to Curb Your Appetite

Food cravings can be extremely tough to curb. So instead of trying to completely squash your cravings| why not try one of these healthier options? Registered dietician Shira Lenchewski of Shira RD has alternatives for everything from red meat to candy to carbs that do not disappoint.

Here’s how to decode your cravings| and act accordingly:

If You’re Craving: Chocolate

You could be lacking magnesium in your diet. Magnesium is an essential mineral involved in energy production| glucose metabolism| and muscle function. This is especially true for those hitting the gym hard.

Instead| Reach For: High-quality| low-sugar dark chocolate. I recommend sticking to 75 percent cocoa or higher and pairing it with another magnesium-rich source like sunflower seeds. My personal favorite is Hu| which is a little pricey| but all the more reason to keep portions in check.

Related: Benefits of Eating Dark Chocolate

If You’re Craving: Candy

Craving pure sugar is a good indication that you’re running low on energy. Think about it. What is the one thing you’re itching for| after a terrible night’s sleep| or at around 4 p.m. during a stressful workday? The answer is usually sugar| because it’s used as instant fuel for our body’s cells.

Instead| Reach For: If you’re raiding your co-workers’ leftover Halloween stash| I recommend a more slow-burn carbohydrate with a source of fat or protein. Unlike simple sugar| this will fuel your cells while avoiding the postsugar crash. Two options that make for great pick-me-ups: apples with nut butter or berries with 2 percent unsweetened Greek yogurt.

If You’re Craving: Salty

If nothing but the saltiest pickle will do| you may not be drinking enough H2O. Salt helps the body hold on to water| so we crave it when we’re in need of fluids.

Instead| Reach For: Water. Stay hydrated| especially as we approach the Winter months. If plain water bores you| try adding in mint| lemon| or frozen fruit to mix it up. And if you’re really just craving salt after all| toasted seaweed is a great low-calorie option.

Related: Stay Hydrated With These Fruit-Water Recipes

If You’re Craving: Starchy Carbs Like Bread| Bagels| and Pasta

Since high-carb foods boost the feel-good hormone serotonin| starch cravings can be a sign you’re in need of a mood booster.

Instead| Reach For:A bath. Bust out the Epsom salts| it’s time for some serious R+R. Trust me. Indulging in a starch free-for-all feels really good in the moment| but it will likely bum you out more the next day.

If You’re Craving: Rich Creamy Dairy

Your body may be telling you it’s in need of some healthy fat.

Instead| Reach For: I’m a realist| so if you’re craving ice cream| I’m not going to recommend a handful of walnuts| which are| of course| full of healthy fat. For ice-cream emergencies I recommend lower-in-sugar coconut ice-creams like Kippy’s three-ingredient ice cream in Los Angeles.

Related: Mouthwatering Buffalo Burger You Can Make at Home

If You’re Craving: A Burger

If you can’t stop thinking about red meat| there’s a chance you’re your body is craving iron and B12. This is especially true during or around that time of the month.

Instead| Reach For: I’m a proponent of grass fed| antibiotic and hormone-free red meat 1 time a week. Try experimenting with an open-faced bison burger ¡ª which| cut for cut| is leaner and has more iron than beef.

Image Source: POPSUGAR Photography / THEM TOO

4 Easy Tricks to Send the ‘I’m Full’ Signal

Portion control is a key player when it comes to a balanced diet, but it can be hard to stop when your cravings are telling you to reach for seconds ¡ª?or thirds. When you first begin to realize that you’re full, use these tricks to tell your mind that the meal is over.

Pick peppermint: A piece of hard candy, a mint, a mug of tea, or even mouthwash ¡ª after eating, go for anything peppermint-flavored to flood your senses and keep your instincts in check. As a natural appetite suppressant, peppermint will help you control your cravings and avoid postmeal munchies.Get up and move: The best way to let your body know that it’s time to stop eating? Switch locations. It’s hard to keep eating if you’re no longer near the food! Move from the kitchen to the living room, and busy yourself with other tasks. Even better, consider going on a walk once mealtime is over.Have a small taste of something sweet: Sometimes, just a spoonful of something sweet can curb the urge to keep eating while also signifying the end of a meal. Instead of reaching for a giant slice of cake, choose a healthy, water-based food that will help you feel full. Try a handful of berries, a serving of watermelon, or a spoonful of pomegranate seeds ¡ª the tart seeds pack a major antioxidant punch, plus they’re high in vitamin A, vitamin C, and fiber.Make postmeal plans: If you have something to do after a meal, you’ll find it easy to steer clear of unnecessary seconds and quit eating once you’re satisfied. It doesn’t need to be a major to-do, either ¡ª simply planning to call a friend or pack tomorrow’s gym bag will help you stay focused and stop snacking.Image Source: POPSUGAR Photography

4 Easy Tricks to Send the ‘I’m Full’ Signal

Portion control is a key player when it comes to a balanced diet| but it can be hard to stop when your cravings are telling you to reach for seconds ?or thirds. When you first begin to realize that you’re full| use these tricks to tell your mind that the meal is over.

Pick peppermint: A piece of hard candy| a mint| a mug of tea| or even mouthwash after eating| go for anything peppermint-flavored to flood your senses and keep your instincts in check. As a natural appetite suppressant| peppermint will help you control your cravings and avoid postmeal munchies.Get up and move: The best way to let your body know that it’s time to stop eating? Switch locations. It’s hard to keep eating if you’re no longer near the food! Move from the kitchen to the living room| and busy yourself with other tasks. Even better| consider going on a walk once mealtime is over.Have a small taste of something sweet: Sometimes| just a spoonful of something sweet can curb the urge to keep eating while also signifying the end of a meal. Instead of reaching for a giant slice of cake| choose a healthy| water-based food that will help you feel full. Try a handful of berries| a serving of watermelon| or a spoonful of pomegranate seeds ¡ª the tart seeds pack a major antioxidant punch| plus they’re high in vitamin A| vitamin C| and fiber.Make postmeal plans: If you have something to do after a meal| you’ll find it easy to steer clear of unnecessary seconds and quit eating once you’re satisfied. It doesn’t need to be a major to-do| either ¡ª simply planning to call a friend or pack tomorrow’s gym bag will help you stay focused and stop snacking.Image Source: POPSUGAR Photography