Between stacks of Girl Scout cookies, lingering holiday pies and conference room goodies, sugary treats may be tempting you left and right. If your sugar cravings are on overdrive, your diet and lifestyle may be the culprit. Here are some simple health hacks to help beat those winter sugar cravings once and for all!
Cut Down on Caffeine
Do you find that your coffee and soda addiction makes you crave more sugar? Well, it’s not in your head. Science shows that consuming caffeine may actually change the way we perceive sweetness – leading to wanting even more of the sweet stuff. Limit your caffeine intake, and try sticking to just one or two cups of coffee in the morning.
Also be mindful that your fancy java orders – like your caramel macchiato – pack on a boatload of added sugar and caffeine. Topped with whipped cream? You’re asking for a major swing in energy levels with an extra dose of nasty cravings.
Load Up on H2O
Are you drinking enough water? Often times when a craving comes on, it’s your body’s way of telling you its in need of rehydration.
Before you go for that late-night cookie, try drinking a glass of water to see how you feel in a half hour. Also, be sure to stay hydrated throughout the day to potentially ward off these cravings altogether.
Take Advantage of Naturally Sweet Produce
Many foods are naturally sweet, especially with winter’s bounty of in-season root vegetables. Fill your plates high with carrots, sweet potatoes, winter squash parsnips, turnips, and sweet onions to stop you in your tracks.
Also warming spices like coriander, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves will naturally sweeten your food while reducing cravings. Win, win!
Steer Clear of Artificial Sweeteners
While it may be tempting to go for zero calorie sweeteners, they come at a cost. Studies have shown that they may alter insulin sensitivity and pose major health risks.
It’s best to limit use of chemicalized, artificial sweeteners and instead reach for natural sweeteners like maple syrup, dried fruit, honey, or coconut sugar. Here at Vibrant Health, we use natural sweetener monk fruit in some of our products, like our flavored Green Vibrance!
We know exercise is good for our health, but did you know it may also prevent you from dipping into the cookie jar? Not only does physical activity naturally increase energy levels, but a recent study has found brisk walking can actually curb sugar cravings in overweight people. Bundle up for some outdoor speed-walking, or give the treadmill a whirl.
Get Your Beauty Sleep
When you are tired or stressed, your body will naturally crave more energy—perhaps in the form of sugar. One study found that insufficient sleep increased food cravings and hunger levels of participants. Yet another reason to prioritize your beauty sleep!
Be Cautious of Fat-free or Low-fat Packaged Snack Foods
Be sure to check the labels on your go-to packaged snacks! While fat-free or low-fat may sound appealing, often times these foods contain more sugar to make up for the lack of flavor fat provides. Instead, opt for healthier options like fresh fruit and veggies, raw nuts or natural cheese (in moderation).
Start your day on the right side of the bed; that is with a solid, nutritious breakfast! If you begin your day with a cup of coffee, sugar-laden donut or skip breakfast altogether, you’re bound to crash at some point – leading to pesky cravings and snack attacks.
Before you start your workday, prepare a wholesome meal with healthy carbs and protein like a smoothie bowl, oatmeal with nut butter, avocado toast or eggs.
We’ve all been there: mindlessly eating popcorn while binging on Netflix or munching on chips just to get through the workday. You’re not alone; studies show that folks may lean on food to deal with boredom.
And if sweets are your go-to snack, you’re in for a sugar rush! Rather than depending on food to kill time, spend time with friends, go for a walk or take a relaxing bubble bath.