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8 Ways to Deal With Sugar Cravings When You're Trying to Eat Healthy

Young Woman Pouring Chocolate Sauce Over Chocolate Chip Cookie
Image: Edith Rum/Shutterstock

Can you have one bite of chocolate or one scoop of ice-cream and stop there? If you answered “yes,” then I tip my hat to you. But for the rest of us, the sheer pleasure that comes with eating sweet foods often forces us into a gluttonous binge. When you’re trying to eat healthy, it’s even worse. The appeal of sugary treats seems to multiply the minute you take them off the menu, resulting in a torturous battle of wits between you and the rascally voices in your head. It’s a battle we tend to lose more often than not. But how do you deal with these sugar cravings so you’re not constantly sabotaging your own health goals? Are you doomed to a lifetime of internal struggle? In short, no—here are eight ways to get over sweets once and for all:

1. Boost Your Happy Hormones

Whether you’re munching on cupcakes or getting wasted on booze, it’s the release of neurotransmitters like serotonin and dopamine in the brain that gets you all warm and fuzzy inside. Find a healthier way to elevate these chemicals (exercise and adequate sleep work like a charm), and you’ve got a great strategy for dealing with sugar cravings.

2. Eat a Meal

Cravings are very different from real physical hunger, but it can be difficult to distinguish between the two. If it’s been awhile since you’ve eaten, you’re probably just looking for a quick pick-me-up. Get into the kitchen and start cooking, and make sure it’s something healthy!

3. Distract Yourself

If you can ignore your craving for around 10 minutes or more, it will more than likely go away. Go for a walk, meditate, play with your kids or pets, have a shower—whatever you can think of to get away from the thoughts of eating.

4. Get a Drink of Water

You’d be surprised how often we confuse thirst with hunger, so make sure you’re not dehydrated and crying out for fluids. Grab a glass of water and see if the craving persists after drinking it. You can even sweeten the deal by adding a slice of lemon or lime.

5. Use Natural Sweeteners

Another way to deal with sugar cravings is to simply give in, but do it in a way that’s safe and natural. Try making homemade treats with Stevia to keep things low-cal and low-sugar, or add a little honey/maple syrup to a cup of tea.

6. Clear Out Your Kitchen

Prevention is always better than cure, so banish all junk food from your house and get used to not having access to it. You won’t be able to avoid sweets forever of course, but this will at least give you a chance to break the habit.

7. Eat Plenty of Vegetables

If you’re deficient in vitamins and minerals, your body will cry out for nutrition all the time—even after you’ve just eaten. The best way to prevent this from happening is to eat a broad spectrum of nutrient-rich vegetables of all colours, shapes and sizes.

8. Find Out What You Really Want

Sugar cravings are really all about rewarding yourself and feeling better, so the best way to eliminate them for good is to figure out what’s bothering you and tackle it head on. Check out this list of possible triggers and see if you can identify with any of them.
Q: Got any advice of your own for dealing with sugar cravings? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
Copyright 2016 David Carroll

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