Do you crave ice-cream, lust after chocolate or dream about cake? One of the hardest things about being on a calorie controlled diet is feeling like you have to give up all the things you love. Luckily there are plenty of ways to beat sugar cravings and still satisfy your sweet tooth without jeopardising your healthy eating regime.
If you’re craving a sugar fix, it can be tempting to reach for low fat versions of your favourite treats. While this is ok in moderation, do not kid yourself that eating reduced fat ice-cream is adding anything to your healthy eating plan. Low fat ice-cream may be better for you than the regular stuff, but it still contains far more fat than vitamins, contributing plenty to your daily calorie allowance without actually adding much in terms of nutritional value. Instead, try swapping your favourite sweet things for nutritious alternatives- switch ice cream for yogurt, and biscuits for cereal bars. These foods contain more nutrients per calorie, than calorie per nutrient, making them satisfyingly sweet snacks that are both tasty and health boosting.
Another way you can avoid “empty calories” is to by replace all your fizzy drinks (that includes the “diet” versions,) with pure fruit juices or smoothies. Fresh fruit juice is low fat, low calorie, and contributes plenty to your daily vitamin and mineral intake. One glass of fruit juice counts as one portion of the recommended “5 a day” for fruit and vegetables, so quench your first with something naturally sweet.
Carry a sweet piece of fruit around with you to snack on whenever energy levels drop and sugar craving strikes. An apple will give you a much-needed energy boost any time of day and stop you heading to the staff vending machine, the sweet shop, or anywhere else in search of sugary-replenishment! If you don’t have time to snack on fruit, sugar free chewing gum can also be a great way to take the edge of sweet cravings in-between meals.
As well as planning healthy snacks, think about the way you structure your main meals. Dieticians have long advocated eating small amounts, regularly, to maintain stable blood sugar levels and ward off unhealthy food cravings. Eat 4-5 light meals at regular intervals throughout the day, and don’t forget to stock up on fruit in-between.
Finally, if you’re really craving something sweet, sometimes the only option is to distract yourself. Ring up a friend or go for a long walk with your IPod, you’ll instantly feel relaxed, more positive and will forget about that leftover cake in the fridge!