Sugar cravings are the battle of many healthy- intentioned eaters everywhere. After all, there are sweet goodies around every corner and they’re just so tempting! So how can you fight the urge to indulge too much? There are some simple tips to help keep your sugar intake on track.
#1. Go against your urge to “diet” and not eat at regular intervals throughout the day. Sugar cravings often stem from low blood glucose levels which occur when your body runs out of healthy foods to metabolize. You can avoid this altogether by eating light meals spaced throughout the day. Dr. Sears calls this “grazing.”
#2. Choose protein and fiber-rich foods like whole grains and produce. These quality foods help fill you up and maintain stable blood sugar longer which will help you avoid feeling like you need something sweet.
#3. Choose quality over quantity. Eating quality foods that are nutrient dense will help you feel satisfied even when consuming smaller portions. For example, if you are craving something sweet for dessert, instead of eating an entire box of cheap unhealthy candy, select a small piece of high-quality dark chocolate. You will be surprised at how satisfied you feel! Don’t swear off your favorites, just save them for times when you are already full on healthful, whole foods so you won’t over-indulge.
#4. Eat a healthy, protein-rich breakfast.Starting your day off with a breakfast that will give your body something to metabolize slowly throughout the morning gives you lasting energy and no slump like sugary doughnuts or other sweets will. This also sets you up to eat better the rest of the day.
#5. Combine foods to still get the right balance of carbs, protein and fats. If you can’t stop yourself from enjoying a cookie or mini candy bar, pair it with a source of protein (like almonds) to balance the type of calories your body will be burning at the same time. This will help stabilize your blood sugar and ward off your desire to swing back through for round two of the sweet snack.
#6. Keep fruit handy for when sugar cravings hit. Fruit provides a satisfying sweetness to sooth your craving, but it also provides good fiber and nutrients. Stock up on foods like nuts, seeds, and fresh fruits that are portable and easy to grab anytime the urge strikes.
#7. Distract yourself! When a major sugar craving rolls in get up and go for a walk around the block or do something to change the scenery. This will take your mind off your food craving and boost your metabolism by adding activity into your day.
#8. Skip artificial sweeteners altogether. Artificial sweeteners may sound like a great idea, but they are an excitotoxin that causes a quick spike in brain activity followed by a major crash leaving you only craving more sweets. And they have demonstrated a negative effect on people battling obesity.
#9. Stop and think. For one week, focus on your sugar cravings and think about what you’re eating and why you’re eating it. Diet mayhem often results from lack of planning and therefore, a lack of the right kinds of options. Slow down, plan, and eat what you intend to eat, instead of eating when you’re desperate for something.
#10. Remember to mix it up! Changing the way you address your sugar cravings is changing a behavior which will take about three weeks to really take effect. So stick with it! When you over-indulge just remember what happened so you won’t do it again. And go easy on yourself, as long as you keep trying to make more of the right choices you’ll get there!