If you’re someone who has a strong sweet tooth and have unhealthy cravings, then these tips will be greatly helpful for you.
A spoonful of Nutella, binge eating caramel popcorn while watching your favorite series, or filling up your plate with hot scrumptious jalebis – all these have one thing in common and that is your love for sweets! Sweet cravings are a part of your life, its ok to give in once a while and indulge. But when these cravings become regular, you should understand that each small bite will make a big hole in your diet and fitness.
Why sweet cravings?
Do you know that sweet is the first taste that humans prefer from birth. A lot of people think that unhealthy carvings especially a sweet tooth is all about lack of self control. But it goes a long way. Various studies have shown that the human body is wired in such a way that we want sugar because it stimulates the release of serotonin. Serotonin is a hormone that makes you feel emotionally balanced and comforted. So whether it’s a tub of ice-cream when you’re feeling low or a chocolate bar during PMS days, they all tell your brain to send signals to your body.
The taste of sugar also releases endorphins in your body. These endorphins calm you, provide natural high, and make you feel relaxed.
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Healthier foods to curb sweet cravings
It is a good idea to include these healthier alternatives in your diet so that you can cut extra sugar, carbohydrates, and processed foods? Here are some healthy foods –
1. Dry Fruits
Instead of munching on chips and cookies, keeping a handful of nuts handy and munching on them is such a healthy option. You can easily buy nut mix from various online stores or supermarkets. Or just fill a jar with almonds, raisins, dried figs, and dried berries. A handful of nuts and berries as a snack with coffee will fill you up and provide your daily dose of antioxidants and various vitamins and minerals.
2. Dark Chocolate
Dark chocolate is a great replacement for normal chocolate. It is rich in antioxidants and due to the bittersweet taste, we tend to eat dark chocolate lesser than normal chocolate. Make sure when you buy dark chocolate, do read the package contents and percentage. The higher the percentage, the lesser the amount of sugar.
3. Fruit Juice
Fresh fruit juice is a great alternative to packed juice. When you drink fresh homemade juice you know the ingredients. But for a store bought tetra pack juice, it is nothing but sugar syrup that you’re drinking.
4. Energy Bars/Balls
You can easily get protein bars or make homemade energy balls with healthy ingredients like oats, dry fruits, peanut butter, cocoa etc. These are healthier than the usual over the counter chocolate bars or cookies. Enriched with the goodness of nuts, oats, and dry fruits, these energy bars fill you up without adding extra calories.
5. Hot Chocolate
On days when you’re feeling low and crave something chocolaty, homemade hot chocolate is a great cure. Use dark chocolate or even if you use normal drinking chocolate, avoid adding extra sugar. Also, using low fat milk or non-dairy milks like soy or almond milk is a healthier alternative.
Granola is a healthy and fuss free option to curb your sweet cravings. You can buy a premixed pack or customize granola as per your taste. Add nuts and dry fruits to make it more filling. Choose from a wide range of granola options available in the market and at online stores. Make sure you check the contents for the amount sugar and carbohydrate. Not all packaged granola/ granola bars are healthy.
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Tips to get over your sweet tooth cravings-
Making small lifestyle changes and making the correct choices when it comes to food and snacks will help you control your unhealthy cravings. And once you form a habit of healthy munching it’ll help in managing your overall weight and calorie intake as well.
So here are some tips that will be helpful in controlling your cravings.
1. Smaller portions
Experts say you should always eat what you’re craving. But the catch it – eat it in moderate amount. Craving a cheesecake? Ask your friend to share it. Have a smaller chocolate chip cookie instead of a full one and feeling bad about it. Try to stick to the 150 calorie threshold when giving in to your cravings.
2. Try to quit refined sugars cold turkey
This is the most difficult, but once your body gets used to it is smooth sailing. Refined sugars are also known as processed sugars and have the same effect on your body just like any addictive substance would.
The idea is to eliminate these sugars from your diet cold turkey can help your body in de-addiction. Your blood sugar will be more stable and energy crashes will reduce. Over a period of time, you’ll notice that your sweet cravings have reduced and you feel more satiated.
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3. Distract yourself
Distraction is one of the best solutions to divert your mind. It is best to walk away from sugar cravings. Go for a walk or jog, sit in the park, listen to music, or just read a book. Getting some fresh air will increase your heart rate and bring your blood sugar at equilibrium. And once your blood sugar stabilizes, you feel less inclined towards sugary foods.
Sometimes something as simple as drinking water helps. Your mind gets a signal that you’re full and is distracted from all the sweet cravings.
4. Grab some gum
Chewing gum can reduce sweet carvings – various studies have proven this. So if you’re someone who craves sugar while at work or late at night, grab some gum. You can get sugar free variants to control your calorie intake as well.
5. Eat before hunger pangs
Controlling those deadly hunger pangs is almost next to impossible. A drop in blood sugar causes hunger pangs. When your body starts going into starvation mode, it craves foods that provide instant energy. But when you eat at this stage, it is most likely that you’ll overeat and not burn these extra calories. As a result, all this is stored as fat.
To avoid all this, it is recommended that you eat small meals throughout the day. Munching on healthy snacks, eating a fruit as mid-morning snack, or a handful of nuts is a healthy idea.
6. Reach out for fruit
Easier said than done, but it is all about forming a habit. When you crave sweetness, instead of opening a pack of cookies or attacking the sweet treats in your kitchen, have a bowl of fruit. Cut your favorite fruits, present them in a fancy way and enjoy a healthier alternative. It is all about training your mind, so why not try it!
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7. Reward yourself
If you monitor your cravings for a week or two and try to control them, then don’t forget to reward yourself for all the good work. It could be something sweet if you like, but remember to choose quality over quantity.
8. Get help
If managing your cravings is going out of hand, it is recommended that you consult a doctor. Many people turn to sweet sugary foods when they’re low, sad, or depressed. But food is not the ultimate solution. The aim should be to find the root cause and getting emotional support. Talk to an expert before things become too difficult to manage.
Eating simple carbohydrates without backing it up with fats and proteins will only increase your cravings. Although your body will get a temporary boost of energy but in the long run this practice is very unhealthy for you. Follow these tips and get over your sweet tooth cravings.