One week without fruit brought out the monster in me, which I never knew even existed! But after a trip to the produce cart down the street in the pouring rain, I was brought back to my happy self and enjoying frozen strawberry and peanut butter bites. I can’t believe I was actually thinking of going another week without this natural goodness in my life! Definitely will make it a lot easier to refrain from added sweeteners for the next few weeks, or so I say that now.
Source: Found Health
Resisting that tempting sweetness of sugar can be incredibly difficult for those of us who have a mouth filled with more than one sweet tooth. I am entirely convinced I don’t have just a sweet tooth, but rather multiple and they all seem to crave something different all at once sometimes making it a struggle to find the power against them. How exactly is it possible to turn down the dessert menu at the restaurant that serves your favorite cheesecake or walk right by the frozen yogurt shop on a sweltering summer’s day? Whether you’re participating in the 8 week challenge to give up sweets or simply looking to make your life a little healthier, here are some tips on how to find strength in your weakest moments with sugar as well as some healthy alternatives to your favorite sweets.
Why do we crave sugar?
Our bodies crave the sweetness that comes from fruit both mentally and physically. The physical side of this craving goes back thousands of years when we would hunt for fruit because of the nutrients we needed from it. Mentally we crave it because of the neurotransmitter serotonin which regulates our sleeping patterns, mood, memory, anxiety, and appetite. When we consume carbohydrates, serotonin is released which makes your body feel better and also releases endorphins which help to relax you.
Source: Committed to Getting Fit
Sometimes our first instincts aren’t to reach for a handful of berries or other natural forms of sugar, but rather a high calorie candy bar or nutrient dense dessert. Here’s some tips on how to avoid diving face first into a bag of M&M’s when that sweet tooth comes out in full force.
Make amends with your sweet tooth without giving into its demands
1. Clean up your diet and don’t wait until you’re staving to eat. What are you eating throughout the day and how often? Eating more frequently helps keep your blood sugar stable. Aim for meals rich in protein and fiber to fill you up for longer and help resist sweet urges. Try starting your day off with a meal high in protein and carbohydrates, like this one!
Sugar Pumpkin and Spice and All Things Nice
3 egg whites
2 tbsp pumpkin
3 tbsp rolled oats
1 tbsp vanilla protein powder
1 tbsp sliced almonds
1/2 tbsp coconut oil
cinnamon and pumpkin spice to taste
Combine all the ingredients together except the sliced almonds. Either scramble them together in a pan over the stove or mix them together and put them in the microwave for a minute and a half, stirring halfway. I like this because it’s quick and more filling than regular oatmeal because of the eggs. Don’t knock it until you try it! Add the sliced almonds on top with half of a banana or a tablespoon of dried cranberries if you want a little natural sweetness. This is full of protein, fiber, good fats, and natural sugar to give your sweet tooth what it craves and your body what it needs to fuel for the day.
2. Get active! By doing something that gets your heart pumping, you release endorphins which make you feel better and less likely to have that craving for sweets to make you feel better. In addition, exercising helps to moderate your blood sugar levels and relieves stress, another big reason people tend to crave sugar. Try walking around the block or your office if you feel a craving coming on.
3. Keep fruit on hand and easily accessible. Put together small bags of energy mix with a little bit of dried fruit, a few pieces of dark chocolate, and some nuts. This will still give you a sweet taste but also is packed with nutrients to help curb your cravings. Or keep an apple in your purse and freshly sliced fruits and veggies in your fridge. That way there’s no excuse to reach for something healthy since it’s easily accessible.
4. Out of sight, out of mind. If I know I’ll devour it at any moment of weakness, I don’t keep it in the house. If someone gives me a box of chocolate or I can’t say no to that sweet little Girl Scout and her Tagalong cookies, I keep it in a place where I have to work to get it such as at the very top of my closet or behind a bunch of cans on the top shelf in my kitchen. At least I’m burning a few calories trying to get it if I crave it bad enough!
5. Visualize overindulging. Sometimes I think back to how a certain food made me feel. For example, anything that’s creamy and thick always makes me feel sick. Yet I’ll think a strawberry milkshake with whip cream on top looks amazing. I remind myself how I felt after I ate it and then think about how energized and good I feel after a healthier option.
6. Brush it! Your teeth that is. Things don’t taste half as good after you’ve brushed your teeth so try brushing them after meals or when you get a sugar craving. Mint and a Snickers bar don’t quite pair so well….or do they? Let’s just say they don’t to resist temptation.
7. Go for the green. This time I’m not talking about veggies, though you can opt for that as well. Instead, boil up a pot of green tea and take it to another room. Warm tea tends to make you feel full and can help minimize cravings. You can also experiment with different teas that have a hint of berries in them, so delicious!
8. Give in a little. Okay, we’re not perfect. You only live once. You can always squeeze in an extra workout at the gym. Is that slice of chocolate soufflé really full of that many calories? These are all the reasons you’ll give yourself to give in to your sweet tooth. And when all the above tips just aren’t working for you, then sometimes it’s okay to give in! Sometimes resisting can have the opposite effect and can lead to binging which is even worse. Remember to enjoy in moderation, avoid processed foods, and savor every bite, stopping when you feel satisfied. After all, it’s a treat, why shouldn’t you enjoy it?
What are your tips for avoiding giving into cravings? Do you have any tricks to substitute for certain sweets?