Most of us know that sugary treats are supposed to be just that – treats. Something to be savoured and enjoyed in small quantities during times of celebration. Most of us also know that sweets are rarely consumed with such mindfulness. Enormous amounts of sugar is in everything these days, from our breakfast cereal to our salad dressings. It makes things taste good, which explains why it’s used so often in store-bought foods. Not only is it consumed for celebration, it’s a pick-me-up when we’re feeling down or tired, and something we turn to when we’re stressed.
There are hundreds, if not thousands, of articles on the internet and in magazines about the harmful effects of sugar. It’s probably a safe bet that if you’re reading this, it’s not the first time you’ve heard it. “You’ll find a ton of literature that suggests that removing dairy from the diet or meat or consuming those substances are bad for you based your nutritional method of interest. But never in the history of health will you find any literature that suggests removing sugar from your diet is bad for you. Nowhere,” says Lacy Phillips.
We could all benefit from reducing the amount of sugar in our diets. It’s easier said than done though, right? Sugar is everywhere! One way to tackle sugar cravings is to have substitutes on hand (or at least in mind) when you get the urge to chow down. Here are some suggestions:
Eat fruit. Although we’re lucky enough to access it any time of year, we’re getting in to the golden months for fruit! Salmonberries will be popping up on bushes soon, followed by raspberries, huckleberries and blackberries. If you can’t forage them, you can purchase local fruit at your grocery store or a weekend farmer’s market! Fruit is filled with antioxidants, vitamins and fibre. Keeping some on hand and eating it when you’re craving sugar might energize you for a few hours instead of leaving you tired and wired after a big piece of cake.
Drink water. I know… it can seem boring. But did you know that sometimes when you’re craving sugar, you may just be thirsty? Our body’s can send us some confusing messages! If you have a craving, try drinking 1-2 glasses of water before indulging in a donut. The craving may just go away! If your water seems lackluster, add a squeeze of lemon, a few slices of cucumber or some frozen berries for a subtle, sugar-free boost!
Take a nap. Because sugar gives us a temporary energy spike, we often crave it when we’re tired. We might want a cookie but what we really need is a nap! If you’re noticing you’re craving sugar every day around the same time, it might be worth looking at your sleep habits and making some shifts. For example, some people say they get sugar cravings late at night, while watching television or reading a book. It might be their body’s way of signalling them to go to bed! If this is happening to you, try having a glass of water, brushing your teeth, and getting cozy in your sheets instead of opening the fridge.
Cassandra Van Dyck