Prevea Health

What to do with a sweet tooth: Five ways to fight sweets cravings

 
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We all get a sweet tooth from time to time. Here are some ways to keep it in check and your hand out of the cookie jar.
 
Optimize your diet
Keep your blood sugar on an even keel by eating regular meals and snacks made up of a balance of protein, fat and carbohydrates. By fueling your body properly, you’ll avoid blood sugar spikes and crashes, and should also experience fewer cravings for sweets. Especially important is your intake of quality lean protein and healthy fats. Your body digests both of these more slowly than carbohydrates, keeping your blood sugar steadier.
 
Check your emotions
Sometimes when you crave something sweet, you’re really craving something else altogether. When a sweets craving hits, use the opportunity to examine your emotional state. Often we crave sweets when we’re stressed or anxious, and who isn’t stressed or anxious on occasion? Choose healthier de-stressers, such as going for a walk, taking a nap or going to bed early, or chatting with a supportive friend.
 
Make a list of strategies for riding out a craving
Instead of overindulging on something you crave, try redirecting your hunger thoughts. Come up with a list of small pleasures to treat yourself with, or activities to distract you. Many cravings will disappear after 15 to 20 minutes. Brew a cup of tea, take a walk, do a crossword puzzle or sudoku, read or watch something funny, or call a friend. You might also snack on fruit, chew gum, or sip a sweet-tasting herbal tea when you feel an urge for something sweet. You’ll be more successful if you have a number of different strategies to choose from.
 
Get enough sleep
When you don’t get enough sleep, your body produces more of the “hunger hormone” ghrelin. Being sleep deprived also reduces your willpower and increases cravings for unhealthy foods, including sweet things. You may find your cravings fading away or becoming weaker when you regularly get enough sleep. For most folks, that’s around seven to eight hours each night.
 
Plan an indulgence
Once you’ve reached the maintenance phase of the Ideal Weigh program, you may be able to allow yourself a sweet treat occasionally. Plan your indulgence and adjust your diet plan accordingly. Choose a small portion of something high quality and satisfying—one perfect dark chocolate sea salt caramel, a scoop of gelato or a small slice of your favorite cake. Eat slowly, tasting and savoring every bite. Just knowing you have a sweet treat in store may help you have fewer cravings.
 
Cravings can get the best of us sometime. But remember, the better you care for yourself physically and emotionally, the fewer sweets cravings you’ll be likely to have.
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