We have all been there…up late at night scavenging like wild animals for our sweet fix.  

We find ourselves opening up the freezer searching for that chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream. We need to satisfy that sugar craving that keeps lurking us. We feel guilty AF because we find that we completely devoured the pint that was supposed to just be a “few bites.” We wake up the next day with huge aspirations….TODAY is the day that I am taking my life back and I am never eating that pint of ice cream again.

Managing our sugar cravings feels like it is impossible and a spiraling mess, but I am here to tell you that it can be done. The problem is that sugar is highly addictive. It can be as addictive as heroin. We don’t know any better as we grew up eating Fruit Loops and drinking Starbucks frappes on the reg in college. We even get symptoms of withdrawal like fatigue and headaches but we don’t assume that it’s because we have over-consumed sugar.

Why do we crave sugar?

We crave sugar because are bodies are not receiving the essential nutrients it needs to thrive. When we eat sugar, that sugar blocks the absorption of essential nutrients. This leads to a nutrient deficiency which then makes us crave sugar.

Is our blood sugar balanced? Are we eating enough nutrient-dense foods? Are we sleeping enough? How are our stress levels? What are we drinking on a daily basis? By answering these simple questions and following some tactical steps, we can create lasting behaviors that will move us toward managing our sugar cravings.

Eat healthy fats and proteins, especially for breakfast

Fats and proteins are essential to managing your sugar cravings. While sugars give you a quick form of energy that send you on a rollercoaster leaving you to crash, fats and proteins provide slow and steady forms of energy that keep you sustained throughout the day. When your body doesn’t find sugar to spark its fuel, it turns to your fats which helps find your energy elsewhere. Proteins help you feel satisfied longer, which in return reduces hunger and those sugar cravings. Eating a breakfast full of healthy fats and proteins will have you feeling energized and balanced. When we feel this way, our sugar cravings tend to stay at bay.

Check your fiber intake

Eating too little fiber can make it tough to control your blood sugar as well as your appetite. Fiber slows down digestion and helps stabilize your blood sugar. If our blood sugar is not balanced, then we feel depleted of energy and we tend to reach for those sweet treats that give us that quick pick-me-up.

I like to eat fiber through beans, avocados, leafy greens and berries.

Avoid artificial sweeteners

Sugar is found in just about everything these days. I always make sure I am looking at the label on my food items. Why? Because, companies like to fool us when it comes to sugar.

They hide sugar with other words like aspartame, sucralose, dextrose, acesulfame, saccharin, sylitol and sorbitol. We don’t know what any of these are, so why would we put them in our bodies? It is best to avoid them. If you must add sweetener to your foods or drinks, I suggest adding local honey, stevia, coconut nectar, or coconut sugar.

Reach for other sweet treats

Clean out your kitchen and restock it with quality snacks that are going to benefit you. Stock up on seasonal fruits, dates, or dark chocolate. These could help curb your sweet tooth.

I have found that if I am craving something sweet I reach for a dates or watermelon, especially during the summertime. Make a sweet smoothie or even “nice” cream.

There are so many different options to choose from that will help you sustain from giving in to your cravings. Having these reachable items will help you make better choices when it comes to managing your sweet tooth.

Sleep

It’s a simple concept, right? If we don’t get the sufficient amount of sleep, we tend to start making bad choices as soon as we wake up. Ever heard of ghrelin? Ghrelin is a hormone that controls our cravings for simple sugars and carbs. The less sleep we get, the more ghrelin is released. If we don’t sleep, our bodies ability to control those sugar cravings becomes flawed.

Avoid getting hangry

A lot of the times, we are alerted that we are hungry but we ignore it and wait until we are absolutely “hangry.” We are so hungry that we could eat everything in our path and we can get a little bitchy. Yeah…we have all been there.

I like to measure my hungriness on what I call “the hungry scale.” If you can imagine a scale from 1-10: 1 being slightly hungry and 10 being hangry. We should eat when we are measuring on the scale at a 1 or 2. If we can eat when we have those urgencies of hunger, then we are less likely to make bad food choices. Our digestive system will like us more because we are feeding it when it has alerted us that it is hungry and in return, it will digest our food properly and efficiently.

Drink lots of water

One of the best ways to look at your sugar intake is to look at what you are drinking daily. If you are starting your mornings gulping down a huge glass of orange juice or grape juice, then your body is going to crave more of what you just gave it. Reduce your sodas, commercial juices and flavored lattes. Stick with water. If you hate the taste of water, add some lemon or even lime. Teas are always great too but, you can never go wrong with water.

The more sugar we eat, the more sugar we want. We don’t have to avoid sugar to manage our sugar cravings. We just have to be wise in what we are choosing as our sweeteners and how much we are indulging. We can make managing our sugar cravings easy by making simple choices and turning them into lasting behaviors.