Q: Even after a big dinner, I still crave something sweet. What's the best, low-cal way to quench my hunger?
A: Your craving is the result of being trained to expect sweets after a meal. Try breaking the routine for one week and you should have no problem drastically reducing your body's need for sugar. These five tricks will help you get through the next seven days:
1. Eat less sugar and refined carbs during the day. The less sugar you eat, the less insulin your body releases—and the less sugar you end up wanting.
2. Brush your teeth or use mouthwash after your meal. Or pop some sugar-free mints. Studies show that the flavor of mint helps to curb an errant sweet tooth.
3. Stock up on low-calorie, sugar-free options, such as sugar-free popsicles, fudgsicles, pudding, or gelatin packs.
4. Try some fruit. It's sweet, but also packed with vitamins and fiber.
5. Grab a portion-controlled treat. If you must have something sweet, keep it small. This way, you get your sugar fix with the fewest number of calories possible.
About the expert:
Tanya Zuckerbrot, R.D., is a NYC-based nutritionist and author of The F-Factor Diet.