Does the song “Sugar, Sugar” describe your cravings? When it comes to these decadent delights, you can’t ever have just one. Sweets aren’t the enemy, so don’t deprive yourself. The key is balance and control. Here are some tips to keep that sweet tooth behaving…sweetly.
- Eat meals at regular times. In fact, eat small meals five or six times each day. If you don't allow yourself to become overly hungry, you can control what you eat.
- Include protein and small amounts of fat every time you eat. Protein and fat in foods help satisfy our hunger longer, plus they're necessary parts of a healthy diet.
- Decrease your reliance on caffeine. Caffeine can increase our stress, which can also increase our desire for sweets.
- Avoid sugar substitutes. Sure, using Nutrasweet, Splenda or other sugar substitutes gives you that sweet taste without a lot of calories. But it also perpetuates the need for sweets, locking you tighter into sugar dependence.
- Look for whole foods. Instead of fruit roll-ups, eat real fruit. Choose a baked potato instead of frozen spuds or French fries. Make your own rice pilaf from brown rice and herbs instead of using a boxed mix. Your body will thank you by reducing its sweet cravings.
- Drink plenty of water. In fact, every time you eat a meal, drink a glass of water. And every time you crave sweets, drink another glass.
- Plan one sweet treat every day. Perhaps you'll eat two cookies with lunch, enjoy a Fudgesicle for an afternoon snack or eat one to-die-for piece of chocolate after dinner. This way, you won't have to deny your desire for sweets, but you keep the cravings under control by planning for them in advance.
- Keep a diary of your sweet cravings. Write down the time you crave sweets, where you are, what you're doing, what you're feeling and how you deal with it. For example, perhaps you're at work midmorning, stuck in a meeting with donuts on the table, feeling bored, tired and deprived. Do you eat those donuts, or do you munch on the handful of trail mix you made at home (soy nuts, walnuts, sesame seeds and raisins)?