Do you have a sweet tooth? If so, you’re certainly not alone because more than half of Americans have reported in surveys that they have a strong taste for sweet foods. Sugar cravings can be caused by everything from habits to memories, genetics, brain chemistry, food availability, and needs for comfort. You might also notice that you crave more sugar when you’re stressed out, not sleeping well, or having hormonal shifts due to a menstrual cycle.
But you can overcome cravings for the sweet stuff by making just a few healthy swaps and stocking your kitchen with good alternatives. Here are some tips for fighting sugar cravings and healthier sweet foods to eat as part of your commitment to a natural lifestyle.
Don’t Swear Off Sugar Entirely
Forcing yourself to steer clear of all sugar all the time might not be the best solution if you crave it regularly. If you give in just a little every once in a while, you might be less inclined to binge on sweet foods when you have a weak moment. If you can manage some self-control, consider having a bit of high-cocoa dark chocolate, a cup of hot chocolate with marshmallows, or a piece of hard candy to treat yourself to something special every once in a while.
Plan Ahead for Meals and Snacks
Many people crave sugar when they don’t eat enough at meals or between meals to fuel their bodies. Pack your day with a mix of protein, carbs, and healthy fats to keep yourself feeling full after you eat and not thinking about food when you’re not actually hungry.
Distract Yourself in Healthy Ways
Meanwhile, many other people want to eat sugary foods just out of habit or boredom. If this sounds like you, make a point to remove yourself from your current situation and distract yourself with something different to do. This can be as simple as going for a walk around the block, taking a hot shower, or calling a friend to chat. These solutions are also helpful if stress is causing you to crave unhealthy foods and to reach for comforting options without really thinking about the consequences.
Healthy Sugar Alternatives
Fortunately, there are lots of sweet foods that are actually good for you and help you avoid processed and refined sugar. Try snacking on trail mix that has dried fruits, nuts, and seeds when you are craving something sweet. Instead of ice cream packed with fat and calories, make yourself a bowl of plain Greek yogurt with some fresh berries and trail mix as toppings.
To mix things up, you can also try new fruits that are a bit out of your normal routine, such as pomegranate, loquats, and star fruit. Berries and avocados are other good foods to have around the house for when sugar cravings strike. Making yourself a soothing cup of herbal tea is another idea to try and totally guilt-free!