You've survived the Easter Holidays, and although you indulged in some chocolate eggs you didn’t go overboard. You’re feeling good! Except that now you seem to have woken up the sugar beast within you, and constantly find yourself reaching for the biscuits at 11 am and 3 pm each day. Read on for some tips on beating those sugar cravings and taking back control.
Sweet treats are great in moderation, nobody wants to live their life eating nothing but spinach and grilled chicken. The problem with this is due to the addictive qualities of sugar, eating it in moderation is often the most challenging part. Also, sometimes we think we’re being healthy to choose the fruit smoothie instead of the fizzy drink, or fruit and nut bar instead of the chocolate truffles, only to find they have the same or even more sugar content than the perceived ‘less healthy’ choice.
Here are some tips to help reduce your sugar cravings:
- Drink a glass of water instead
- Often you are just dehydrated which can lead to cravings for sweet foods. Aim to drink eight glasses a day, adding fruit or mint leaves if you need additional flavour.
- Limit your intake of junk and processed foods
- Processed foods are often packed with sugar, salt and sweeteners. This leads to further cravings and becomes a vicious cycle, affecting your teeth too. Aim for meals with a balance of fat, protein and carbohydrates instead.
- Ensure you are getting enough sleep
- Tiredness is one of the worst things for cravings, the simplest thing to do when tired is to give in and eat the sugary food. Aim for at least eight hours of uninterrupted sleep each night.
- Substitute for a less sugary snack option
- A square of cheese, handful of nuts or veggie sticks with hummus are a more filling, teeth-friendly and just as delicious alternative. You are less likely to over-consume these foods than chocolate or sweets.
- Include your treats with meal times
- Eating sweet things after a meal instead of an empty stomach is a good technique, you won’t be so ravenous and are likely to consume less as a result.
- Chew gum instead
- Keeping a packet of sugar free gum in your office drawer is a great distraction. The minty fresh taste will distract you and you won’t want to put anything sweet into your mouth.
- Ensure you are eating regularly
- If you go too long between meals you’re more likely to cave to processed snack foods to fill the gap. Aim for three adequate meals a day and healthier snacks to avoid temptation.
- Get more magnesium into your diet
- Sweet cravings are often a sign of magnesium deficiency. Try upping your intake of leafy green vegetables, nuts, whole grains and avocados to keep your magnesium levels in check.
- Learn to reward yourself without food
- Challenge yourself to cut down on sugar for a few weeks, and treat yourself to a pair of shoes, trip to the cinema or a day out somewhere for resisting your cravings.
- Distract yourself until the craving passes
- Take a short walk around your office, go for a run or make a phone call to distract you. When you return the craving may have passed, and you would have had time to think about whether you really need it or not.
Sugar cravings are stubborn, so it may take some time before you will be able to beat them completely. Start slowly by utilising a few of these tips and not being too hard on yourself, and before long you will beat the sugar beast and have improved your oral health at the same time – your teeth will thank you!