This is a guest post by Corine Dobbas, a Nutrition Counselor and Registered Dietitian
Put down the Peeps!
Now that both Valentine's Day and Easter -- two big sugar-laden holidays -- have passed, it's time to talk about sugar cravings. At some point or another we’ve all had one, if not several. You know what I’m talking about. That feeling where you just need that instant pick-me-up, your tastebuds are screaming for tongue-tantalizing sugar, and you simply can’t focus on anything else until you satisfy your sweet sugar hankering.
Typically, people think that sugar cravings are something they’ll always have. Luckily, that’s not the case! Check out the below five tips to nip those cravings in the bud.
1. Eat Breakfast: Not only are breakfast eaters more likely to be slimmer, they’re more likely to have stable, better regulated blood sugars throughout the entire day, helping prevent that sugar urge. Basically, eating breakfast is a win-win all around. It helps rev your metabolic engine, stabilize blood sugar, and regulate appetite and energy. Aim to eat breakfast within an hour of waking up. Think protein + whole grain + produce. For example, one slice of whole-grain toast with a poached egg and a cup of berries. Bring on the breakfast, baby!
2. Combine foods: Combine a protein food (think turkey, cottage cheese, non-fat Greek yogurt) with a high-fiber carbohydrate (think fruit, veggies, whole grains, lentils/beans) for sustained longer-lasting energy. The protein will keep you feeling fuller longer, and the high-fiber carb will lead to more even energy levels. When eaten together, you’ll feel satisfied and your blood sugar will stay even-keeled, preventing sugar attacks later one. For example, add turkey slices or a string cheese to your apple as a snack—don’t just have the apple.
3. Eat every 3-4 hours: Going too long without a meal or snack will surely leave you craving for more, more, more—even after eating a meal. If lunch is at noon and dinner is at seven, you need a healthy snack -- just remember tip number two to combine protein and carbs!
4. Eat right with exercise: After exercise, aim to eat something within 30 minutes of your workout. If you’re not eating a meal soon after, you need a snack, such as an apple and hard boiled egg, glass of non- or low-fat milk, or yogurt. Each of these items has protein and carbohydrates to help replenish glycogen stores and torn muscle fibers, and they will regulate blood sugar. A small snack immediately after a workout will have you eating less at your next meal as well as eating healthier throughout the day, but most importantly, will help prevent sugar cravings.
5. Indulge mindfully: Want a treat? By gosh, have one! There is nothing wrong with indulging in a sweet craving when you truly want something. When you take the time to savor, taste, and enjoy your sweet, then that is mindful. And when you practice mindful eating, choose the right foods the majority of time and listen to your satiety cues, that one special sweet treat will not do you in. In fact, it may prevent you from overindulging later.
QUESTION: How do you handle your sugar cravings?
Corinne Dobbas, MS, RD is a leading nutrition counselor, writer, and speaker and trusted nutrition source for the media. She believes that optimal health starts with the activity that you do every day—eat. Corinne is a Registered Dietitian (RD) with a Masters in Nutrition who adores helping people find health through nutrition. You can find Corinne in the San Francisco Bay Area counseling, speaking, and writing about nutrition. She specializes in weight management, sports nutrition, and disordered eating. To learn more please visit Green Grapes Nutrition. You can also connect with Corinne on Twitter and Facebook.