Beat Sugar Cravings with these Healthy Tricks
We crave sugar for many reasons, ranging from sugar addictions to a stressful lifestyle, lack of sleep, dehydration, low blood sugar or energy levels, and even our genetic makeup!
The daily recommendations, according to the American Heart Association, is no more than 6 teaspoons of added sugar per day for women and 9 teaspoons for men. Even with daily cut-off recommendations, it is also best to avoid all added sugars as much as possible.
We all experience sugar cravings and this is totally normal, here are a few tricks to help us cope when those cravings hit
Enjoy Well-Balanced & Healthy Meals
Meals with the right combination of complex carbohydrates, lean protein and healthy fats keep you satisfied for much longer. They also stabilize your blood sugar levels, reducing your cravings for most of the day.
Say Yes to Healthy Fats!
In order to help manage your cravings better, it would a be wise decision to add healthy fats to your meals such as extra virgin olive oil, raw, unsalted nuts and avocado as they help control your blood sugar levels, and curb your sugar cravings
Skipping Meals? Think Again!
Restrictive dieting and skipped meals can lead to even stronger food cravings and bingeing. We all overeat when we are too hungry and most often end up making poor food choices especially when it comes to sugary items. Listen to your physical hunger cues, be in tune with your body and don’t go too long without food.
Make Smart Sugar Swaps
Choosing more naturally sweetened items helps with managing your sugar cravings without the added unwanted calories. Try these swaps next time a sugar craving kicks-in:
- Swap sugar for 100% raw honey, 100% organic maple syrup. Moderation is key!
- 1 – 2 pieces of Medjool dates makes a great snack when craving something sweet
- Skip the jams, even the reduced sugar ones, and switch to a 100% fruit spread instead. Practice portion control as well!
- Skip the fruit flavored yogurts, and opt for plain flavored yogurt mixed with fresh fruits
- When baking, swap the sugar for unsweetened applesauce
- Make your own homemade tomato or pasta sauce, and add garlic and dried oregano instead of sugar to enhance the flavor
- Use vinegar in your salad dressings instead of sugar and honey
- Go for naturally infused water with fruit pieces and fresh herbs instead of juices, sodas and soft drinks
- Reach out for flavor enhancers like cardamom, clove and cinnamon in coffee
Read the Labels
Sugar is found in almost everything, from natural sources such as dairy products, veggies and fruits to processed foods. Did you know that there are almost 60 different names for sugar such as sucrose, high-fructose corn syrup, agave nectar, golden syrup, glucose, malt syrup and many more!
Look at the ingredients list, and if sugar or its derivate names are amongst the first few ingredients, then ditch the item!
Enrich Your Meals with these Foods!
Consuming magnesium-rich foods such as nuts & seeds, dark chocolate, dark leafy vegetables (spinach, kale, swiss chard) and chromium-rich foods like sweet potato, green beans and broccoli are very good for tackling sugar cravings.
With the consumption of these foods, you may have an improved sensitivity to insulin which gives you the ability to maximize the amount of sugar your body can metabolize and burn.
Limit Your Caffeine
Having too much caffeine, from coffee, tea, energy drinks or sodas, can cause dehydration, as it acts as a diuretic. There is also new research showing how coffee may affect your taste buds and affect your cravings for sweet items.
Herbs & Spices to Add to Your Meals
Adding spices such as nutmeg, cinnamon, garlic, ginger, fenugreek, turmeric or cardamom to your snacks and meals may help with your sugar cravings. A few combination ideas you might enjoy:
- Natural peanut butter, banana slices and sprinkles of cinnamon powder on whole wheat toast
- Baked pear or apple with nutmeg and cinnamon
- Vegetable curry with Indian spices and turmeric rice
Reduce Sugar Temptations
Out of sight, Out of mind! Trying to resist when the cravings hit can be so frustrating, avoiding the temptations by not having them around the house is the wisest thing to do.
Stock up your pantry with healthier snacks such as raw unsalted nuts, fresh fruits, unsweetened dark chocolate, cacao nibs and homemade energy balls that are free from refined sugars.