Here are the five of the best ways to curb cravings for sugar:
- Get enough food!
Often our cravings for sugary or starchy foods result from a physiological need for fuel. Carbohydrates are our body’s preferred form of fuel. When we have not had enough fuel our body can crave the most efficient source of carbohydrates – sugar! This can contribute to craving lollies, chocolate, biscuits and cakes when we are feeling drained.
Making sure you have enough food throughout the day can help to reduce sugar cravings. Try Including a decent serve of high-fibre carbohydrate and protein with lunch such as:
- Adding ½ a tin of drained and rinsed chickpeas to a chicken salad.
- Making sure there is ½-1 cup of cooked quinoa or brown rice for the leftover stir-fry.
- Swapping rice crackers for a high-fibre bread with tuna and vegetables.
- Don’t keep it in the house/workplace
Out of sight out of mind. Better yet, out of reach!
As humans we naturally do what is most convenient. We also adapt easily and get used to the routines we create. If you are wanting to change a habit of snacking on sweets after dinner the most effective solution is to make those sweet things very inconvenient. Ensure you have to make a special trip just for chocolate. Over time we get used to not having those foods and we are less likely to go looking for them.
- Distract yourself
Contrary to popular belief, cravings don’t always get stronger with time. They often pass if we can effectively distract ourselves. When you notice yourself wanting to rummage through the pantry while watching television, find an activity that can fully engage your attention for 15-20 minutes. The craving is likely to pass. I have often done puzzles, knitting, reading and walking with a podcast.
- Find another treat
Sometimes cravings for sweet foods aren’t caused by physiological need or habit. Sugary or “bad” foods are acting as a reward for making it through a long day or a consolation when we are down.
If this is the reason you are giving yourself when you open that packet of biscuits, then it’s important to pause and question that premise. Will this honestly make me feel better or worse? Is there something else that I am really needing? Maybe some time to myself or an acknowledgement of my hard work. Maybe some comfort or calm.
Seek out activities and tools that will genuinely help you feel good, without any regrets.
- Be a food snob
In the end, it’s okay to eat sweet foods so long as you are comfortable with your choice. Sweet cravings cause us trouble when we regret them. If you are genuinely craving something sweet, ask yourself what food would genuinely hit the spot. If the foods you’re eating aren’t what you really want, then what’s the point? Don’t waste your energy budget on cheap thrills. Pass on the rubbish chocolates at work and look forward to a sweet food you will enjoy, without remorse.
Clare Wolski is a practising dietitian at The Healthy Eating Hub, call 6174 4663. healthyeatinghub.