Some people crave salty snacks, others crave fried or rich food, and I (among many others) crave sugary treats and simple carbs. With holiday season here, it seems like the next 6 months are nothing but treats, candy, and baked goods. While I think it’s necessary for occasional indulgence, how do we keep the sugar cravings at bay on a normal, day-to-day basis?
Here’s 10 simple ways to eliminate sugar cravings:
- Start taking a probiotic. Research suggests that having healthy gut bacteria helps to eliminate sugar cravings. Probiotics have benefits that go far beyond helping with cravings, too, so it’s a great idea to take them anyway.
- Reach for fruit. Fruit is sweet and composed of the same basic sugars as the sugary baked goods and candies we crave. The difference is that fruit also has a long list of vitamins and minerals to boost our health as well as fiber to help stabilize our blood sugar as we digest it. Our craving for something sweet is satisfied and we get some nutrition in return.
- Stick to whole grains. Like fruit, whole grains have vitamins for health and fiber that help keep our blood sugar in check while we digest. The whole grain also keeps us satisfied longer as it doesn’t burn off as fast.
- Eat plenty of protein. Protein is a fantastic way to keep us feeling full and satisfied for hours, which helps to keep away the sugar cravings. I like nuts, whole grains, and legumes for protein, but find what works well for you.
- Find other ways to relieve stress. When we are stressed, our serotonin levels go down over time. When we eat sugar, this temporarily boosts serotonin and makes us happy and satiates the cravings. Finding other ways to reduce stress and raise serotonin with sugar will help us with cravings and have us feeling happier in general. Social interaction, yoga, exercise, meditation, sunshine, hobbies, and lots of sleep are all ways to help with stress.
- Avoid processed foods and fake sugar. Many studies have found that artificial sugar is highly addictive, so often the sugar cravings are just a need for our next fix. Cutting out processed foods, high fructose corn syrup, and fake sugars will help drop those cravings dramatically or at least make them more manageable.
- Drink lots of water. When we are dehydrated, the body craves sugar. It makes sense, since many fruits are high in water content. Sip water throughout the day to keep hydration levels at their best.
- Use spices. Some spices are naturally sweet, like cinnamon, so adding them to food can taste like you’re eating something sweet. Spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, and cardamom also help to balance blood sugar and keep the cravings at bay.
- Healthy fats are your friend. Avocado, coconut oil, nuts, and seeds are full of healthy fats that are not only essential for normal bodily functions, but super helpful in balancing blood sugar and keeping you feeling satisfied.
- Indulge every now and then. Life should be full of fun and enjoyment. Sometimes, it’s totally soul-nourishing to indulge in a slice of birthday cake, or eat white pasta at grandma’s house, or a mousse at a fancy restaurant, or a pastry while out with friends. Sticking to healthy foods on a normal basis can help to quickly get you back on track, but if you feel like you’ll go crazy and eat too much, stick to a treat made with natural sugars like maple syrup or coconut sugar.