Lifestyle

Curb those Sugar Cravings

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I love to eat sugary treats, especially in the form of chocolate. For this reason, I would never tell you to give up the joy of indulging every now and then, but there are a few things you can do to curb your cravings for sweet foods when you’re trying to eat healthy. The key to sticking to a nutritious diet is to avoid feelings of deprivation by treating yourself occasionally and working toward reducing sugar and chocolate cravings to ensure that you are able to indulge in moderation.

Eliminate highly processed treats.
Whenever you decide to treat yourself, try to avoid highly processed foods like conventional candy bars, cookies, cakes, and ice cream. Generally, any treat that comes in a box or package with a long list of ingredients is considered highly processed. Not only are these loaded with processed sugars, but they are also packed with added chemicals that make them highly addictive. No wonder you can’t just stop at one!

Make your own healthy treats.
This is one of my favourite things to do! Try making homemade desserts with natural sweeteners such as local honey, pure maple syrup, stevia, or coconut sugar. Natural sweeteners are still sugar (so don’t get carried away!) but they’re minimally processed and have added healthy nutrients that are not found in processed sugars. Additionally, they aren’t as addictive as the processed treats, so you’ll feel satisfied after just a few bites.

Don’t rely only on willpower!
Ever notice that, on a stressful day, you tend to run out of willpower and cravings seem even harder to control? Willpower is never enough to change your habits in the long run. Instead, focus on finding healthy replacements that can give you the same good feelings as your favourite sweets. If you tend to eat sugary foods under stress, find other activities that can give you a similar high without all the guilt or extra calories, such as calling your best friend, going for a walk, or getting up and dancing to your favourite song! Additionally, having an accountability partner or coach can give you an extra boost of inspiration.

Eat more healthy fats.
I know it may seem strange to eat more fat to cut sugar cravings, but healthy fats can actually boost your mood, reduce cravings, and keep you feeling fuller for longer. Healthy fats include foods like fish, avocados, coconut oil, olive oil, full-fat coconut milk, chia seeds, grass-fed beef, grass-fed butter, nuts and nut butters, and seeds. Try having at least one serving of healthy fats at each meal.

Be okay with saying no.
Initially, it can be hard to turn down treats or say no to a friend that says, “Oh just have one!” When you’re faced with situations like this, or the temptation to eat something unhealthy arises, take the time to ask yourself a few questions:

  • Do I really want this food right now or am I eating out of boredom, emotion, or peer pressure?
  • Will this food help me reach my goals?
  • Will this food fuel my body and keep me feeling energized?

Mindfulness is the first step to changing your habits. Consciously addressing these questions before indulging in treats can be a great way to mindfully make the decision of if you actually want to eat a certain food rather than just giving into pressure or habit. Sometimes when you stop to assess the temptation, you’ll realize that you don’t even really want the food in the first place.

These are just a few of my top tips to curb sugar cravings. Start by implementing just one or two of these habits and, as they become second nature, start implementing the other tips. As these strategies become habits, you’ll notice it may be easier to say no to tempting foods because your body will no longer crave sugar as strongly. Learn to curb those sugar cravings and you’ll be well on your way to a healthier, happier you!

Editor-In-Chief Lisa-Marie Assenza is a Kinesiology student, former competitive gymnast, and fitness enthusiast. An avid reader and writer, Lisa-Marie's high language proficiency coupled with her passion for health and wellness provide her with a unique and impressive skill set that has made her a cornerstone to the Training & Fitness team.

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