5 Tricks to Curb Sugar Cravings for the New Year
It a brand spanking new year and statistics show that the number one resolution is to lose weight or eat healthier. Unfortunately, less than 10% of Americans will actually go through with their commitments. The true enemy that often derails us from reaching our healthier lifestyles is the temptation to devour sugar-and lots of it. It is truly found in almost everything:
- breakfast cereals
- baked goods
- fruit juices
- dried fruits
- canned fruit
- sauces and other condiments
- ice cream and other frozen delights
It is true that sugar can get you addicted! It produces the same effects on the brain such as drugs like cocaine or heroine. Scary, right? White sugar is chemically formulated to make us love the taste and then keep us coming back for more. This is why we do not think twice about saying no to a birthday party or stopping by that bakery on the way to work that smells oh so good!
Think about it. When you taste the cake, donuts, ice cream, whatever sweets you may choose- it sends these signals to your brain that makes you feel so happy and energetic inside (endorphins)! Let’s say you drink one soda. After an hour or so, you tend to feel worse than you did before drinking the soda. So, what do you do? You reach for another soda for that energy and happiness again. Crash. Repeat.
It is time to break that sugar tooth habit for good and although it won’t be easy, I have a few tips to help you get there, slowly, but surely.
Here are 5 tricks to get you headed in the right direction of breaking the sugar cycle:
1. Wrap your mind around the idea.
Quitting an addiction is a very mental process because you must be mentally strong enough to stop giving in. Basically, you must teach yourself to break a bad habit, here. Find whatever motivates you or inspires you to quit sugar and stick with it. Educate yourself on why you want sugar out of your life and write those reasons down so you will not forget why you are doing this. I have often found that keeping a journal or blog to write down your feelings, thoughts, challenges, and successes often helps me to stay motivated to stay away from sugar and other refined foods.
2. Get more rest
Sleep is the divine healer of all things. No, really. When you are fatigued, you will do anything to feel better and to get your energy levels back. Before reaching for an energy drink or Frappuccino, try taking a nap and see how you feel afterwards. Sleep deprivation can cause your stress levels to rise which in turn, makes you crave sweet crap even more-not to mention it also causes weight gain. A lack of sleep can also throw off your hormones and make you feel hungrier and crankier than usual. So get your zzzz’s!
3. Drink water
Water fills your tummy and makes you full. We all know that. However, so many of us tend to enjoy something with a little more taste or fun to it. I am guilty! I hate the boring taste of water. Instead, I love to add a few slices of fresh lemon to my waters or even infuse fresh fruits as well. This helps to give the water a more natural, fun flavor and spice things up. If you crave the carbonation or fizziness to soda, try a carbonated water such as La Croix-this will help trick your taste buds into thinking you’re drinking soda!
4. Brush Your Teeth With Minty Paste or Chew Mint Gum
Other than keeping your mouth busy, studies have shown that brushing your teeth and chewing mint gum helps bust a craving. Nothing tastes worse than eating something sweet (or any food in general) after brushing your teeth or eating something with a minty flavor to it. I even hate eating food after sucking on peppermints- it gives the same effect. The stronger the mint, the more you are unlikely to reach for sweets. Another bonus? You will reduce your risk for cavities by brushing regularly and avoiding sugar.
5. Eat Protein At Every Meal
Though last on the list, this is perhaps the most important tip of all! One of the first signs you’re low on protein: You start craving sweets! Protein is great for satiety and may help with cravings as well.
The Institute of Medicine recommends that adults get a minimum of 0.8 grams of protein for every kilogram of body weight per day (or 8 grams of protein for every 20 pounds of body weight). Therefore regardless of what we believe, we truly do need more protein in our diets for a variety of health reasons! If you are a highly active woman, you might even need more protein in your diet to keep up with your workouts and to feed your muscles after putting them to work.
For the New Year, I have been stocking up on and discovering new brands of protein that not only do good for your body, but TASTE good, too. I was recently introduced to SimplyProtein™, a brand made with clean and non-GMO ingredients to help me get more protein into my diet in order to meet my fitness goals. Since my Chiari diagnosis, I vowed to start eating cleaner and better for my body which includes limiting gluten in my diet because it causes inflammation. Since these protein snacks are gluten-free, they fit right on in!
SimplyProtein™ offers 3 yummy high protein snack choices:
Crunchy Bites: I love the crunchy texture of these as they are made with pea protein and they help to satisfy my chip cravings. They come in Sea Salt & Cracked Pepper and Barbeque flavors. Each snack bag contains 16g of protein, 140 calories, and 0 grams of sugar! Did I mention they are vegan, too?
Baked Bars: These tasty baked bars come in Chocolate Chip and Peanut Butter Cookie flavors. I like to throw one in my diaper bag or purse to snack on when I am out and about. I love the Peanut Butter flavor the best and the soft texture is satisfying. Each bar contains 11g of protein, 220 calories, and 2g of sugar. I also liked that there are real peanuts in this!
Crispy Bars: These bars are cripsy and give off a cookie vibe. They come in Lemon and Peanut Butter Chocolate flavors though the Lemon is definitely my favorite. Each crispy bar contains 15g of protein, 150 calories, and 3g of sugar. It also contains 7g of fiber!
What I love about SimplyProtein™ is that their products are affordable and you can find them at retailers such as Amazon, Bed, Bath, and Beyond, Shop Rite, and on their own site.
If you happen to try them, I would love to know what you think!
Your trainer and friend,