Sugar cravings are something we are all too familiar with. Sweets tend to be the biggest intercessor when it comes to sticking to a diet. There are many reasons for this. People generally crave junk food more than anything else; it is even the first taste humans prefer at birth! Because of its pleasing nature, people usually reward themselves with sweet foods, causing a further psychological attachment to it. However, the problem doesn’t lie in the sweet foods themselves, rather, it lies in our inability to control how much of it we are putting into our mouths. Indulging in sweets every so often is perfectly fine, after all we need to have a little fun right? The trick is learning how to stop after a few bites rather than allowing a binge. Here are some simple tricks to controlling your sweet tooth.
Have some fun.
If you truly enjoy those sugary foods, allow yourself to give into them a little. Granted there are some people who simply can’t control themselves when it comes to sweets and might be better off quitting them cold turkey, but for the most part this is not necessary. Many times this leads to the person giving in at some point down the road and going on a junk-food-binge. Treat yourself here and there, just practice control.
Know the difference between hunger and cravings.
Hunger and cravings are two completely different things. Hunger is physical; it is the body’s biological need for food. Cravings, on the other hand, are psychological; it is the brain’s desire for a reward. Try to be mindful of how you feel when you are experiencing one of these two feelings and decide whether you are actually hungry or if you are simple craving food. If you are truly hungry, try eating a meal to satisfy your body, rather than turning to sweets.
Mix sweets with healthy options.
Combining healthy foods with the craving can be a really great way to tame that sweet-tooth. Try dipping a banana in some chocolate sauce, drizzle some caramel on top of an apple, add chocolate chips to your yogurt, or mix some Eminem’s with nuts. This not only limits the amount of sweets you are consuming in a given time, but it will satisfy your craving while adding in the nutritious benefits of healthy items!
Keep individually portioned bars in the freezer.
Switch out the ice cream cartons for individually portioned bars such as fudge bars, creamsicles, or pops. These single-wrapped desserts typically only have between 25-70 calories. Instead of filling your bowl with too much ice cream, this trick gives you just the right amount to be satisfied and free of guilt.
Substitute your ice cream.
There are many healthier options to substitute in for ice cream such as sherberts, sorbets, frozen yogurt, gelato, and custards. These contain significantly less calories than ice cream and are much better for you. The best types of substitutes are those that contain natural ingredients. You may also buy these in pre-portioned containers that way you force yourself not to eat too much. Look for items that contain 100 calories or less.
Go for ‘better’ sweets.
Choose healthier sweets, such as fruits, smoothies, flavored yogurt, oatmeal cookies, or dark chocolate. These are great ways to satisfy your sweet-tooth with less calories and more nutrition! To satisfy night cravings, try a bed-time tea. I’ve seen bedtime teas carried in so many delicious flavors such as apple cinnamon and sugar cookie! Check your local supermarket to see what flavors they offer.
Make your own desserts.
Nowadays you can find almost an infinite amount of healthy dessert recipes online (pinterest is my secret!). Start having fun in the kitchen and bake healthy desserts. You can even follow normal dessert recipes and add your own healthy twist by substituting wheat flour for white flour, honey or agave for sugar, unsweetened apple sauce for oil, etc. Get creative and start having fun.
Do something else.
If you really feel like staying away from sweets but are having a hard time, try occupying yourself. Go out and walk, read a book, or do something else that you really enjoy. This will help take your mind off of the craving.
Eat periodically throughout the day.
Sometimes, waiting too long to before eating your next meal can really highlight those sugar cravings. When people get very hungry their body will start craving fats and sugars. So, in general try to eat between 3-6 meals per day to keep yourself satisfied.
Sweets do not have to be scary, nor do they have to control your life. The most important aspect of any eating regimen is balance, moderation, and enjoyment!