I hear you. You’re struggling to keep a daily routine. You’re exhausted from long hours, adjusting to working around the current family dynamics or even overcome with anxiety about your financial situation. So it's no wonder all this plus a lack of sleep has led you to crave carbohydrates and sugar (and now to top it off your skin is breaking out).
And I get it. This is tough. Right now your relationship with food may be a little more fragile than normal. You're likely to be eating differently than normal. Now is such an important time to offer yourself compassion and acceptance in all areas of life (but I'm talking about food for the purposes of this article).
We can't be expected to be moving, working, eating etc as normal, because nothing about this situation is normal. You might be stress-eating, over eating or even forgetting to eat, and I get this, but rather than beating yourself up for this, try simply accepting what has happened and ask "how do I feel?".
And, if you have recognised you want to make some changes, here are six ways to bust your sugar cravings.
1. CLEAN OUT YOUR PANTRY
If it’s not in the house, you can’t eat it, right? Set your kitchen up for success and remove the temptations from your sight. When you do go to the supermarket, resist the urge to load up on sugary snacks. It doesn’t mean you can’t buy these “foods” (if, for example, family members or roommates choose to eat them), but you can put them at the back of the fridge/freezer, or in a separate section of the pantry. Out of sight, out of mind, after all.
2. PRIORITISE REAL FOOD
Ensure your meals contain a portion of protein and good fats. Protein and fat are our satiety macronutrients – they keep your blood sugar stable and you fuller for longer. Do your best to get your hands on good quality proteins such as free range eggs and/or meats, using oils such as coconut or extra virgin olive oil and/or topping your plate with a handful of nuts and seeds or half an avocado.
3. DRINK MORE WATER
As our routine is thrown out the window, many of us have forgotten about the importance of the basic foundation of saying hydrated. Often thirst is mistaken for hunger. If you are hit with a sugar craving, drink a glass of water first and wait 15 minutes – you’ll be surprised at how much the urge subsides. Stay hydrated during the day and aim to drink at least 2L of fluid/day. You can’t count coffee, but you can include herbal teas in your quota. Check our this daily water intake guide.
4. CHOOSE SOUR OVER SWEET
When you retrain your taste buds, you become more sugar-sensitive but also appreciate other flavours like sour foods. Sour food can help to reduce sugar cravings and provide prebiotics, which support digestive health. Sour dill pickles, anyone? Another way to ditch your sugar cravings is to focus on salty or spicy ﬂavours, such as slow-roasted almonds with rosemary and sea salt, instead of a sweet snack.
5. CHANGE YOUR AFTER-DINNER ROUTINE
If you find that the majority of your sugar cravings occur post dinner, it’s time to change your nightly routine. There are a number of things which you could try:
- Once dinner is over, mentally put a KITCHEN CLOSED sign up. Take this sign as you would any other closed sign and do not re-enter!
- If your nightly routine is sitting on the couch, scrolling/watching TV and snacking then look at what you can do to avoid that. Swap the snack for a cup of herbal tea, brush your teeth as soon as dinner is finished, start a gratitude or meditation practice, read a book or use the opportunity to go to bed earlier. Increasing the hours of sleep you obtain will help decrease the hunger hormone ghrelin, therefore helping to minimise ongoing cravings.
6. BE PREPARED
If cravings strike at a particular time of the month, or you’ve noticed more emotional eating of late, be prepared with a healthy refined sugar free sweet treat. It’s much easier to avoid a Cadbury’s or Ben & Jerry’s binge when you have some Raw Chocolate Crackle Slice pre-prepared.
When we feed our bodies sugar it continues to crave it. Beating a sugar addiction requires a plan, and it certainly helps to remember how good you feel and how much sustained energy you have without it. But above all else, be kind to yourself.