Eating healthy does not mean depriving yourself of the good things that life has to offer. It’s about consuming them in moderation and introducing a healthy balance of different food groups to meet your body’s daily demands for proper functioning. Thanks to the culinary evolution, our palates are not limited to a specific number of dishes and can be experimental with what we eat — and there are some foods that are really just meant to tempt us to binge-eat.

If you’re trying to lose weight or are carefully watching your intake, sweets and carbs are the biggest reasons why most people fail. Fortunately, you can still manage to enjoy the foods that you like without having to go cold turkey on favorites.

By learning to control your cravings, you’ll find that you can successfully say no to high-sugar, high-carb treats to reach your goal and without feeling shortchanged. These practical strategies might work for you.

1. Walk it off

When you feel like calling the pizza guy or grabbing a box of doughnuts all of a sudden, stop yourself from doing so and try to walk it off first. If you can’t go out, you can fiddle with your phone, do some cleaning, or engage in any other activity that will distract you from the thought of wanting to eat. Some people say they find themselves craving for food and binge-eating when they’re bored.

2. Freshen up your mouth with mint

Chewing gum, popping a mint in your mouth, or brushing your teeth with minty toothpaste has been found to be effective in curbing cravings. Be sure that your gum or candy of choice is sugarless, otherwise you’ll still be packing the calories in and then end up feeling more hungry than ever. Brushing your teeth or gargling with mouthwash also helps break the cravings by jolting your mouth with a different, sharp flavor.

3. Drink water

Sometimes, the body confuses hunger with thirst. If suddenly you feel like wanting a specific type of food, try downing a full glass of water and then see what happens after. More often than not, the cravings will go away. Plus, drinking plenty of water several times a day will also do your body a lot of good. Drinking some before having a meal can also help you lose weight because it reduces your hunger and appetite.

4. Give yourself a jolt with coffee

Instead of reaching for a cupcake or a chocolate bar, try sipping a cup of coffee, instead. While the caffeine content will likely not stop you from craving food, it will provide enough calories to curb your appetite. The warmth of coffee and the act of sipping it also provides a good distraction from reaching out for a waffle.

5. Stay away from your trigger foods

In order to not crumble to cravings, don’t place yourself in a situation where you get really really hungry that you could “eat anything.” When one orders food, shops for groceries, or eats when extremely hungry, the more likely you are to overeat. Instead, be sure to eat regularly and keep healthy snacks on hand at all times. By preparing for “hunger pangs” and avoiding long periods of not eating, you can stop yourself from bingeing or even craving for anything in the future.

One of the most effective ways to curb cravings without really depriving yourself of delicious food is to plan your meals. You can certainly pick a day or time to indulge in a favorite treat. Needless, to say, that one time that you allow yourself to “cheat” is not a license to consume five at a time. Controlling your cravings is actually more of a mind-over-matter issue than a physical manifestation. That said, if you’re truly serious about wanting to hit your fitness goals, then eating responsibly should be doable.

Fast Food
Pictured: In this photo illustration, fast food from a branch of McDonald's, Burger King, KFC, Subway and Domino's pizza. Getty Images/Matt Cardy