As a holistic nutritionist, sugar cravings are one of the most common obstacles my clients face. In fact, I’ve dealt with it on my own health journey.
Sugar is extremely addictive—it’s the food-drug of choice because it seems harmless. In actuality it is likely culprit for the following symptoms: brain fog, weight gain, mood swings and more.
Below are five tips to kick sugar cravings to the curb for good!
1. Get rid of it.
I know that sounds like an overly simplistic answer, but the truth is that if it’s in your home, you’re more likely to eat it. If you don’t keep sugary foods in your home, you actually have to put on shoes and leave the house when you’re having a craving. The same is true for the office. If you don’t keep sugar in your desk, you’re less likely to eat it.
And we’re not just talking about the big bag of white sugar you use for baking. Check your pantry and freezer for foods that include high fructose corn syrup, corn syrup, sugar, cane sugar, dextrose, maltose, sucrose, and more. There are over 80 names for sugar, so keep an eye out.
2. Keep naturally sweet treats nearby.
Natural sugars are much better for you than the processed stuff—so it’s the refined sugars you should avoid. This is why I keep foods that are naturally sweet nearby. I recommend having a fruit bowl on your dining room table. If you work a typical day job, keep a fruit on your desk. It may just save you a few trips to the vending machine.
You can also explore cookbooks that include recipes for naturally sweet treats because no one wants to feel deprived. I believe that food should be experienced guilt-free. We all indulge from time to time, so we should have healthy options that feel indulgent, even if they are not. Try ALOHA Superfood Chocolate—made with 60 percent cacao, fruits, vegetables, and superfoods. It's the ideal combination of healthy and sweet!
3. Get moving.
Often eating is an act of boredom. Why not burn a few calories instead of taking in gobs of sugar that will result in an afternoon energy slump?
A quick walk outside is the perfect distraction for sugar cravings and is also a great energy booster. Just keep a comfortable pair of walking shoes nearby. Again, if you have a traditional day job, keep a pair under your desk and grab a healthy dose of vitamin D.
4. Explore natural sugar alternatives.
Natural is the keyword here, not the kinds that are lab created to somewhat replicate the flavor of actual sugar. Sugar created from sugar cane is highly refined and spikes your blood sugar. Sugar substitutes are even more processed.
It seems these days there are endless recipes that include quality ingredients like raw honey, real maple syrup, and even coconut sugars. You’ll never miss “sugar” when you start using ingredients like these. You can even drizzle honey in your money cup of coffee.
5. Get plenty of sleep.
You might not even realize this, but how often are you running on empty? One of the reasons we crave sugar is for a quick pick-me-up. Your body knows it needs fuel and intuitively understands that sugar is converted into energy, and it does so really fast. The problem is that you will end up crashing.
While sugar is a quick fix, the real solution could be more sleep. Aim to get eight hours of sleep each night. If you’re getting well below that, start by adding 15 minutes to your sleep routine per week until you meet eight hours. It’s unrealistic to think that you’ll be able to instantly change your sleep routine from six hours to eight. It’s a more sustainable change if you slowly address your routine and make small changes.
To recap, make one change at a time and focus on the area that seems to be the biggest culprit of your sugar cravings. You’ll find that changes are easier to achieve if the major ones are under control.
It is possible to live a sweet life…even without the sugar!
For a clean treat, try my Three-Ingredient Date Delights. I keep the following ingredients on hand at all times and it always satisfies my sweet tooth. My husband says this recipe tastes like caramel!
Three-Ingredient Date Delights
3 pitted dates
Sprinkle of unsweetened shredded coconut
Cut the dates in half. Sprinkle the shredded coconut on the sticky (cut side) of the date. Top each of the 6 date pieces with an almond. Enjoy each bite!
This article was contributed by Jessica Wyman, Health Coach and graduate of The Institute for Integrative Nutrition. Jessica is the host of the TV show, Jessica’s Clean Eats, and the author of multiple books on living a clean and lean lifestyle. It’s her mission to get people from drive-thrus to dinner tables by sharing her love of clean eating recipes with whole foods ingredients. Download her free 5-day Clean and Lean program at www.Jessica-Wyman.com.
You can also learn more about becoming a Health Coach yourself by sampling the entire first module of IIN's program.</em>
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