You've told yourself time and time again you want to cut down on sugar. But those cravings won't stop coming – what to do?
When all you want is something sweet, it can be hard to say no. Indulging every once in a while isn't such a bad thing – in fact, it's healthy – but what about those days when you're trying to eat clean? If that's your goal, try these tips to fight off cravings and keep the sugar monster at bay.
Grab a stick of gum instead.
Try chewing on some sugar-free gum to get the sweetness and flavor you're craving without all the calories. Studies show that chewing gum can reduce food cravings.
Make sure to have fruit on hand.
Fruit contains healthy sugars, as well as fiber and other vital nutrients. Eat a banana, berries and yogurt, dried fruit, or some protein-packed seeds or nuts. It'll satisfy your sweet tooth while giving your body real energy.
Avoid processed foods.
Processed snacks and prepared foods are often sneaky sources of dietary sugar. Eat out less, make your own healthy meals, and steer clear of fast foods – sugar is addictive, which means that having a little bit now will leave you craving more later.
Make sure to eat regularly.
Eating healthy meals consisting of protein, fiber-rich foods like whole grains and fresh produce every 3-5 hours will keep your blood sugar and mood up, so your body won't crave sugary, fatty foods between meals.
Drinking lots of water will prevent you from becoming dehydrated. It's common, when you're feeling thirsty, to misinterpret that feeling as hunger or a craving for something sweet. Weird, but true! If water isn't your favorite beverage, try infusing it with fruit or drinking green tea.
Get outta there!
When a craving strikes, physically remove yourself from the source of temptation. Go for a walk to clear your head. Get your body moving, and you might find that alone cures the drop in serotonin that's often responsible for sugar cravings.
Try quality over quantity.
Rather than eating an ultimately unsatisfying king-size bar of store brand chocolate, treat yourself to one perfect expensive gourmet truffle. When you spend money on high quality sweets, you'll be more motivated to savor them slowly, and they'll better satisfy your craving than a large volume of cheap sugary crap.
Eat your greens.
No, not green candy! Having a diet full of leafy greens (and green juices and smoothies) will make sure you're getting all the nutrients your body needs, which in itself minimizes cravings. Plus, you'll be full of energy, so you won't need a sugary coffee drink to cure your post-lunch slump!
Take a hot shower.
Let hot water roll over your body and calm you down, rather than indulging in stress eating. Even if it's only 5-10 minutes, this works wonders for your stress levels. You'll definitely feel better afterwards.