Three Easy Ways to Reduce Sugar Cravings

Food & Nutrition, Uncategorized

Most of us have experienced intense sugar cravings at one point in time — and we can all agree that once a sugar craving hits, it can be tough to ignore. Unfortunately, the key to reducing sugar cravings is actually eating less of the sweet stuff. While some may prefer to go cold turkey and completely stop consuming added sugar, many of us find this approach unrealistic and unsustainable in the long run.

For those wanting a less restrictive approach, here are three easy tips to reduce sugar cravings for good.

1. DRINK PLENTY OF WATER

Dehydration often masks itself as hunger — particularly in the form of sugar cravings. This is because even mild dehydration can make it difficult for our body to tap into energy stores, particularly glycogen, the body’s main storage form for carbohydrates. When your body can’t access simple carbs quickly — especially after exercise — your cravings for them increase, often in the form of a sugar desire.

Hydration Tips:

  • Down a minimum of 64 fluid ounces (8 cups) of water daily. Split it up by drinking 32 ounces (4 cups) before lunch and another 32 ounces before dinner is over.
  • The next time a sugar craving strikes, drink a tall glass of water and wait 15–20 minutes. Your craving might just disappear.

2. CUT BACK ON ARTIFICIAL SWEETENERS

2013 study at Yale University suggested the brain is not easily fooled by artificial sweeteners in lieu of sugar-sweetened foods and beverages. The study looked at a specific brain signal involved in choosing between real sugar and no- or low-calorie sweeteners — a signal that regulates dopamine levels which, in turn, mediates pleasure in the brain. Not surprisingly, the brain finds greater reward from real sugar than it does from artificial sweeteners. These findings suggest frequent consumption of artificially sweetened food and drinks, particularly when we’re hungry or overtired, may lead to greater future consumption of higher sugar- and calorie-laden alternatives as the brain seeks that reward.

Tips to Cut Out the Imposters:

  • Instead of diet soda, reach for a club soda with a splash of fruit juice.
  • Use half the amount of artificial sweetener you usually add to your coffee, and continue to cut back over time.


3. GRADUALLY EASE UP ON SWEETS

Gradually reducing the amount of sugar you consume can be an effective approach in reducing cravings. It may take a bit longer to feel the difference, but when you gradually reduce sugar intake, you don’t endure the physical side effects and feelings of deprivation associated with cold-turkey withdrawal. Making just two or three of the following small changes can make a big difference in reducing sugar consumption and curbing cravings.

Ideas for Cutting Back:

  • Order lattes and other sweetened coffee drinks with half the amount of sweetener.
  • Prevent overeating by pre-portioning sweets and other packaged foods that list sugar (or one of its many nicknames) within the first five ingredients.
  • Mix plain yogurt into your usual sweetened yogurt.
  • Dilute soda and juice with club soda or plain water.
  • Pair sweets, like chocolate, with nutritious foods rather than eating them alone. (Think: apple slices topped with peanut butter and chocolate chips.)
  • Reduce the amount of sugar in recipes by 1/3 or up to 1/2.

BY ELLE PENNER, MPH, RD

🍰 8 No-Bake Desserts Under 300 Calories

Food & Nutrition, recipes, Uncategorized
8 No-Bake Desserts Under 300 Calories

As the weather cools down, that comfort food craving will start to slowly creep up — even for dessert. Stay within your goals with these no-bake treats and frozen desserts that are quick, easy-to-make and crowd pleasing — no oven necessary.

1. MANGO GREEN TEA POPS | MINIMALIST BAKER

Cool down with an antioxidant-packed sweet treat. Creamy and naturally sweetened, these two-toned popsicles are made with just five ingredients — mango, matcha powder, coconut milk, agave (or preferred sweetener) and lemon juice. Recipe makes 6 popsicles.

Nutrition (per serving): Calories: 93; Total Fat: 5g; Saturated Fat: 3.5g; Monounsaturated Fat: 0g; Cholesterol: 0mg; Sodium: 16mg; Carbohydrate: 11g; Dietary Fiber: 1g; Sugar: 9g; Protein: 1g

2. STRAWBERRY CHEESECAKE PARFAITS | IVY MANNING

Creamy, yet light, these individual parfaits use the natural sweetness in strawberries to carry this dessert to deliciousness. It’s perfect for experimenting, too: use blueberries and vanilla yogurt or whatever combination strikes your fancy. Recipe makes 4 servings at 4 tablespoons yogurt mixture, 1/3 cup strawberries and 2 tablespoons cracker crumbs each.

Nutrition (per serving): Calories: 185; Total Fat: 8g; Saturated Fat: 4g; Monounsaturated Fat: 2g; Cholesterol: 24mg; Sodium: 148mg; Carbohydrate: 23g; Dietary Fiber: 2g; Sugar: 14g; Protein: 6g

3. DARK CHOCOLATE AVOCADO MOUSSE | HELLO GLOW

This decadent-tasting dessert satisfies even the most hard-core chocoholic. Creamy avocado and rich dark chocolate make this vegan mousse luscious but still healthy. Cocoa powder contains antioxidants while avocados are a good source of healthy monounsaturated fats. Recipe makes 4 servings.

Nutrition (per serving): Calories: 80; Total Fat: 6g; Saturated Fat: 1g; Monounsaturated Fat: 4g; Cholesterol: 0mg; Sodium: 13mg; Carbohydrate: 7g; Dietary Fiber: 3g; Sugar: 2g; Protein: 1g

4. NO-BAKE STRAWBERRIES & CREAM CRÊPE CAKE | SKINNYTASTE

Impress family and friends with an elegant cake made of crepes. This fancy-looking cake is made by layering delicate crepes with a Greek yogurt cream filling and fresh strawberries. The crepes can be made ahead and assembled before serving. Recipe makes 12 servings at 1 slice each.

Nutrition (per serving): Calories: 182; Total Fat: 9g; Saturated Fat: 5g; Monounsaturated Fat: 3g; Cholesterol: 44mg; Sodium: 47mg; Carbohydrate: 22g; Dietary Fiber: 2g; Sugar: 13g; Protein: 5g

5. HEALTHY OATMEAL RAISIN COOKIE DOUGH “ICE CREAM” | EATING BIRD FOOD

For a healthy spin on cookie dough ice cream, whip up this tasty frozen treat. This vegan, gluten-free, five-ingredient recipe blends frozen bananas with oats, raisins, almond milk and cinnamon. Recipe makes 2 servings.

Nutrition (per serving): Calories: 213; Total Fat: 2g; Saturated Fat: 0g; Monounsaturated Fat: 0g; Cholesterol: 0mg; Sodium: 20mg; Carbohydrate: 51g; Dietary Fiber: 5g; Sugar: 26g; Protein: 4g

6. NO-BAKE LEMON PISTACHIO SHORTBREAD COOKIE BITES | COTTER CRUNCH

Bright and lemony, these cookie bites are vegan friendly and taste like shortbread cookies. Each bite is filled with pistachios, almond butter and a hint of honey. Recipe makes 25 servings at 1 cookie bite each.

Nutrition (per serving): Calories: 77; Total Fat: 5g; Saturated Fat: 1g; Monounsaturated Fat: 1g; Cholesterol: 0mg; Sodium: 18mg; Carbohydrate: 8g; Dietary Fiber: 3g; Sugar: 4g; Protein: 2g

7. AVOCADO MINT FUDGE BARS | IFOODREAL

Get an extra dose of greens with these minty, sweet fudge bars. Made of creamy avocados, bananas, honey and crunchy cacao nibs, these naturally sweetened treats are full of healthy fats. Recipe makes 16 servings at 1 bar each.

Nutrition (per serving): Calories: 136; Total Fat: 12g; Saturated Fat: 8g; Monounsaturated Fat: 2g; Cholesterol: 0mg; Sodium: 11mg; Carbohydrate: 7g; Dietary Fiber: 1g; Sugar: 5g; Protein: 0g

8. MINI COCONUT-BANANA CREAM PIES | 24 CARROT LIFE

These mini pies feature a quick, made-from-scratch crust filled with creamy bananas. These frozen pie bites have no added sugar and and even pack some protein. If you’re craving something sweet, these treats are perfect for any occasion. Recipe makes 4 servings at 1 mini pie each.

Nutrition (per serving): Calories: 258; Total Fat: 16g; Saturated Fat: 12g; Monounsaturated Fat: 1g; Cholesterol: 1mg; Sodium: 42mg; Carbohydrate: 21g; Dietary Fiber: 3g; Sugar: 12g; Protein: 9g

Source: MYFITNESSPAL’S RECIPES
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