So it is the new year. You made the resolution to eat healthy. This is the year you are finally going to make changes. You go through your kitchen and toss out all the processed foods. You stock up on healthy fruits, vegetables and whole grains. But somehow, you are still craving sugar. You have taken the necessary steps, so how can this be?
Don't let those sweet tooth cravings pull you back to the dark side. Here are the top three strategies to tame your sweet tooth to finally stay on track.
Do not skip meals
Keeping your blood sugar levels stabilized throughout the day is the first step to beating those cravings at bay. If your blood sugar drops too much or spikes, it will make you crave that soft drink or sugary doughnut for a quick fix.
The solution: Make a point of eating complete meals that combine 40 percent carbohydrates (like leafy greens, salads, vegetables), 30 percent protein (chicken, turkey, fish), and 30 percent fat (olive oil, nuts, nut butters).
If you eat a meal with nothing but carbohydrates, they'll be digested quickly, spiking blood sugar. Protein and good fats will sustain blood sugar and prevent cravings for sugar.
When you don't fuel your body properly, it crave nutrient-dense foods. And if it doesn't get them, cravings for sugar will take over. Add colorful vegetables to every meal with a touch of healthy fats from nuts, olive oil, and coconut oil.
Always add a good quality protein source - these support muscle and the more muscle you have, the more calories you will burn just sitting around doing nothing. Plus protein slows down the release of carbohydrates into the bloodstream and keeps blood sugar levels stable.
Avoid starting your day with sugar
This one is pretty simple…Sugar makes you crave more sugar. Plus it can stimulate your appetite so the more you eat it, the more you will want it.
The solution: Find a healthy substitute to appease your sweet tooth like yogurt, oats and nuts mixed together parfait-style for a quick, satisfying snack. Eat an apple with some almond butter. Drink hot chocolate. Low fat, sugar-free versions and recipes can satisfy your cravings for chocolate. But if you must have sugar, try and ounce or two of dark chocolate (60 percent cocoa or higher such as Ghirardelli Squares) with a handful of almonds and savor it to make the most of it.
Stop calming your stress with sweets
We are exposed to stresses every day. Although you cannot always prevent it, you can support your body with good nutrition in order to help handle stressful situations as they arise.
Reaching for sugary cookies, cakes, and other processed treats will only make things worse by causing more aches and pains, indigestion and excess body fat, which can lead to more health problems.
The solution: Find other ways to deal with stress. Try an exercise class like yoga or learn to meditate. Take a walk or listen to relaxing music. In other words, take time out for you and watch that sweet tooth disappear.