Like a lot of us, I used to struggle with cravings for candy, cookies and just about anything chocolate. After returning home from a long day of work, I would binge on sugary sweets. I tried going cold turkey a few times, but that never worked. I also tried eating sweets only on weekends, which inevitably led to more binging.
What I eventually figured out is that, like anything else in life, dealing with sweet cravings is a lot easier when you have a strategy, so I started doing some research and trying out the suggestions I found. Here are 5 tactics that help me kick cravings for quickie carbs:
1. I set the tone for the day with breakfast. Eating sugary foods actually increases your desire for sugar, so I stay away from Pop Tarts, pastries, sugary cereals and yogurt in the morning. Instead, opt for an omelet with sweet-tasting veggies like red pepper.
2. I never let myself get hungry. Hunger pangs can quickly turn into sweet cravings. Even more important, hunger causes blood sugar levels to drop, which also increases cravings. The best defense against sweet cravings is to eat something every two to three hours to even out your blood sugar and keep your energy level up.
3. When cravings kick in, I stall. Some researchers have found that postponing a craving for sugary sweets to a later time actually decreases the desire for them. I've also found that putting of sweets to a later time helps me to decrease how many sweets I eat over the course of a week. Best of all, it has helped me to develop a real sense of control over my cravings.of chocolate cake, but with time, my taste buds have adjusted.
4. I try to satisfy my cravings with healthy substitutions. When I yearn for something sweet, I reach first for fresh fruit like strawberries with light whipped cream or apple slices dusted with cinnamon (and nibble on some protein at the same time to keep my blood sugar stable). When I first got started, strawberries and apples didn't seem as appealing as a slice
5. In the worst case scenario, I go sugar-free. There are plenty of sugar-free options for candies and snacks. Like anything, limit your portion sizes and look at overall total calories. A snack-size of sugar-free chocolate pudding can tame even the meanest chocolate craving, for about 1/3 of the calories of a sugar-loaded candy bar.