Practical Tips for Managing Your Sugar Habit

Those with a sweet tooth know how difficult it is to resist sugar, especially when you have a craving for it. Sugar is one of the most addictive foods out there, and quitting sugar isn't as easy as you might think. However, with a bit of willpower and planning, it is possible to tame your sweet tooth.

Here are some tips that will help you kick your sugar habit.

The best way to kick your sugar habit is to get rid of the temptation. Stop buying those sweet treats to stock your pantry -- if it's not in your house, you will be less likely to eat it.

Satisfy your sweet tooth with healthier alternatives, such as fruits that contain natural sugars. Berries are low in sugar and are full of beneficial antioxidants. Cinnamon is a fantastic spice that makes your food taste sweeter without sugar, and it even helps regulate blood sugar levels.

Watch out for hidden sugars in your food. Sugars aren't only in the obvious culprits such as soda and chocolate bars. There are lots of hidden sugars in condiments, such as barbeque sauce and ketchup, as well as packaged bread. These might be fueling your sugar habits without you even knowing it. Remember, even foods that are labeled as 'healthy' can have tons of sugar in them. Whether it's white sugar, cane sugar, or brown sugar -- sugar is sugar.

Read your ingredients and be aware of what's in your food.

Start your day off right with a healthy, nutrient-dense breakfast. Make sure your breakfast is full of healthy fats and protein. Protein and fats digest slower than carbohydrates and sugars, so they will keep you satisfied for longer. A healthy, balanced breakfast also stabilizes blood sugar levels. Sugar cravings are often a result of sudden drops in blood sugar levels. That is why it's crucial never to skip a meal, especially not the first one of the day.

Drink enough water. Sometimes we confuse being thirsty for a sugar craving. Make sure you're consistently drinking water throughout the day. If you find yourself craving sugar, have a glass of water, wait a few minutes, and see how you feel. It might have just been dehydration.

Plan your snacks and meals ahead of time. Pre-packaged foods contain so much sugar, but they are usually what we gravitate towards when we're hungry or in a rush and need something to eat ASAP. Instead of eating these sugary foods, prepare some healthy snacks ahead of time. Wash and cut up some fruits and vegetables or prepare a trail mix with some nuts so that you can grab them whenever you need them.

Take note of when and why you get sugar cravings. Is it a particular time of the day, or is it when you're feeling stressed or sad? If you notice a pattern, find other helpful ways to cope. Go for a walk to destress or make a cup of tea. Give yourself a replacement comfort food that doesn't have sugar. Becoming aware of your eating habits can do wonders for those future cravings.

All in all - give yourself grace. You don't have to ditch sugar altogether, especially if the thought of it is keeping you stuck and creating the resistance for making any changes at all.

Start by addressing these minor tweaks I mentioned here today, and you'll find yourself needing sugar less. That's way easier than ditching it cold turkey, and you'll start to love how much better you feel!

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Health and happiness,

Alicia Williamson RN, BSN, MSNW, CHC

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