10 Ways to Reduce Sugar Cravings
Sugar is my downfall – it’s always the way I fall off the healthy train. Last week was my birthday and my husband bought me a bag of twizzlers. I haven’t bought candy in months – probably dating back to when I was pregnant with my second and had taken to stashing candy in various places (the cabinets, my car, next to my bed). It didn’t take me long to remember why I don’t buy it. I popped open that bag and practically inhaled my weight in chewy red ropes. I ended up having to throw the bag away because I couldn’t stop!
I tell this story because I know how addictive sugar is … and also how delicious.
But there are creative ways to combat sugar cravings. Here are my top 10:
1. Eat more sweet vegetables. This is my favorite way – I love, love, love the sweet flavors of carrots, squash, sweet potatoes (I’ve mentioned the quesadillas, right?). Eating these foods helps reduce sugar cravings and gives your taste buds what they are craving.
2. Drink more water. If you follow me on twitter, you know that this is my “thing.” Dehydration can be the cause of so many ailments in our life – and it’s the cheapest and easiest way to take a step toward health immediately. When we’re dehydrated, our body sends up flares – cravings! – and it is our job to interpret them. When a sugar craving hits, drink two big glasses of water and re-evaluate; you may have just been thirsty.
3. Exercise. Also no surprise this would find it’s way into my list this week. I am on the exercise train right now. It gets the blood flowing, aids digestion and helps eliminate cravings. Plus, it also helps with boredom, which can cause us to have sugar cravings as well. Strap on those tennis shoes and get moving!
4. Get creative. As I mentioned above, boredom can lead to sugar cravings. There are all sorts of reasons we crave foods, and I know this one hits my list from time to time. When cravings hit, consider if you are bored – and then get creative! What is your own personal creative outlet? Pull it out and get to work. Or call a friend. Or write in your journal. Whatever it is, feed your soul, not your cravings.
5. Use natural sweeteners. Replace white sugar with natural sweeteners: honey, agave nectar, maple syrup. These sweeteners are not refined like white table sugar, so they contain layers that not only boost your body with nutrients, but take more work for your body to break down and therefore do not spike your blood sugar.
6. Try a new food. We can get stuck in our routines and rhythms of eating that we become bored with the food we are eating day after day. Step out and try something new. Start with a vegetable you have never eaten or prepared and find a new recipe. Sometimes changing our routines can get us out of our ruts…and away from our cravings.
7. Drink water. Oops, I already said that. Well, have another glass!
8. Get more sleep. Sugar gives us an immediate spike in energy and then leads to a crash…spinning us onto a roller coaster. When you get more sleep, you are less likely to reach for those temporary boosters in energy during the day.
9. Avoid caffeine. Just like sugar, caffeine sends us into the same roller coaster of energy – a spike followed by a crash, which leads us to reach for more stimulants. Drink less caffeine to avoid these ups and downs throughout the day.
10. Non-food nourishment. Seek non-food ways to satisfy cravings. Spend time with your friends. Get some fresh air. Soak up life!
This post is linked to Oh Amanda’s Top Ten Tuesday.