Tips to Curb Those Sugar Cravings 💪
Do you find yourself craving sweets? Maybe it’s after a meal, before bed, or when you’ve had a tough day. There are many reasons why people crave sugar:
- Conditioning. You may have learned behaviors over the years that result in you craving sweets at certain times of the day. Studies, such as this one from 2018, have proven “that food cravings are due to a conditioned association between consumption of a specific type of food with a stimulus, further suggesting cravings are a result of classical conditioning.”
- Stress. Higher stress levels can leave you wanting some sort of reprieve or reward for your stressful nature, which can easily be satisfied with sugary treats. Several studies have linked cortisol, the stress hormone, to the desire for sugary treats.
- Sleep. If you haven’t gotten a good night’s rest, your body may be craving an energy boost, which you can obtain by eating a quick, sugary snack but can result in a crash later on. Scientific and medical reviews explain how lack of sleep can cause all types of cravings, including cravings for sugary foods.
Because of all the various psychological and physiological reasons you may be craving sugar, it can be difficult to ignore these urges when they arise, especially if you’re accustomed to satisfying them at a moment’s notice. But there are so many yummy alternatives to sugary foods that’ll still leave you satisfied!
There are lots of options that don’t involve food that can help you kick those cravings to the curb, from journaling to meditating to exercising.
Training your body and mind to process certain emotions and events with positive outlets, rather than sugary ones, can help you maintain a healthy lifestyle.
Trial and error is the best way to figure out what works for you. Try out some of these tips and see which one best helps you say no to sugary cravings!
✅ Eat a Healthy Meal
If you’re craving sugar because you’re truly hungry, eat something else! Try something with natural sugars, including fruits like oranges, grapes, and bananas, that’ll satisfy that craving but won’t make you crash later on in the day. If you need some recipe ideas, try these Fully Loaded Bananas, Creamy Apple + Pear Salad, Fresh Fruit Salad, or this Crockpot Orange Sesame Shredded Chicken!
✅ Eat Protein
Eating foods high in protein can help satisfy sugar cravings. Chicken, turkey, fish, and eggs are full of protein and can be eaten as complete meals or as a quick snack to help curb cravings. An in-depth medical study showed that diets with higher protein levels “led to reduced activation in select cortico-limbic brain regions… [which] are typically associated with food cravings.”
✅ Take a Hot Shower
According to Healthline.com, taking a hot shower can curb your sugar cravings. Make sure the water is hot (not burning but not just warm), and let the water run over your body for at least 5-10 min. By the time you get out, you may feel dazed, similar to how you’d feel after sitting in a sauna, and the cravings should be mostly gone. Voila!
✅ Go for a Walk or Run
Exercising, specifically via walking or running, releases endorphins, the “feel good” chemicals in the brain. When our brains release this chemical, our moods are naturally boosted, making us happier and more content. This can help curb any cravings, as we’re no longer looking for a reward (because we just got one!).
✅ Drink Water
Most of us could use more water in our diet, but drinking more can be especially helpful when you’re craving some sweets. Dehydration is a common cause of sugar cravings, so the more water in your body, the less likely those cravings will overwhelm you.
✅ Get Some Sleep
Much like water, sleeping is incredibly beneficial to your overall health. Sleep is vital for so many reasons, but one is that it can help with cravings. When we have more energy, our need for a boost of some kind lessens, which usually means we indulge in fewer sugar cravings. If you find yourself struggling with cravings, consider the fact that you need more sleep! But be sure to practice good sleep hygiene and healthy napping.
✅ Know Your Triggers
If you’re easily influenced by certain things — specific restaurants, types of food, social situations — try avoiding those or limiting your time with those things so it’s less likely you’ll indulge in a craving.
✅ Consider Supplements
In some cases, your body may lack vitamins or minerals that lead to cravings of various kinds. Taking a supplement may help curb those cravings, but always ask your doctor before taking any type of supplement for any reason. You know your body best, and your physician is there to help guide you to the right answers for YOU.
Write out your thoughts, intentions, and reasons why you want to avoid sugary foods/indulgences. If you’re feeling controlled by your cravings and want to stop, having a physical reminder of why you’re trying to be healthier can help you stick to a plan.
✅ Don’t Starve Yourself
This is perhaps the most important one. While avoiding indulging in cravings can benefit your health, it doesn’t mean you should avoid food altogether, including those with sugar/fats. Occasionally having a cookie or cake won’t derail you completely. If you really want some, try one of these recipes! Ensuring you’re full and satiated throughout the day (no skipping meals) can help you avoid indulging in sugar cravings.
It’s completely normal to have cravings for something sweet. After all, most of us find sugary foods delicious! And they’re not awful when eaten in moderation. But if you struggle with stopping after one cookie or doughnut, coming up with alternative means can be crucial to maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
Remember to be patient and give yourself grace as you try new methods to avoid sugar cravings, and don’t feel like you’ve failed if you indulge. As I always say, this is a lifestyle, not a crash diet. And dealing with sugar cravings is similar to other aspects of living a healthy life; it’s a learning curve!
I hope these tips help you on your health journey! Let me know what works best for you, and share your own tips with other CRUSHers in the comments below.
PS: While the information in this article will help you to curb sugar cravings, information alone isn’t enough to make a change.
If you require more support with eating healthy meals, answers to your questions, and accountability to your goals, we have created the 30 Day Clean Eating Challenge. Within our program, you will learn how to eat clean meals on a regular basis without driving yourself nuts.
Information contained on this website is intended as an educational resource only and should not be used for diagnosing or treating an eating disorder or any disease. This website is not a substitute for expert professional care. If you have or suspect you may have an eating disorder, please consult your healthcare provider.