This is one of the topics I get frequently asked about, and for good reason, as it's difficult to turn down the deliciousness of sugary treats. There are several factors that determine why our brain craves sugar: it could be due to emotions, deficiency in certain nutrients, or just pure habit. When our hormones are imbalanced, we search for an easy way to release the feel-good brain chemical Serotonin - which is exactly what sugar does for us, causing our addiction to it. There are several healthy ways to maintain proper levels of Serotonin and curb those sugar cravings that will have you feeling more emotionally, mentally and physically balanced in just a few days!
1. Be Mindful. This can be as simple as recognizing your craving before reaching for that candy bar. Going even further, if you can be aware of what else has happened in the day that may be causing this craving (i.e. what you've eaten throughout the day, or any stressful event) you may be able to tune into the exact source of why sugar seems like your best solution. Over time you will be able to train yourself to distinguish between a craving and a necessity, and how to handle the root cause behind it.
2. Eat Protein & Fiber. Our blood sugar levels have a huge impact on how we feel. When we don't eat enough protein, or solid, healthy meals throughout the day, our blood sugar drops and we reach for the easiest fix - you guessed it, sugar. Going along with this, there are several nutrients that you receive from a healthy diet that help the stabilization of blood sugars and aid with the metabolism of glucose (sugar) and carbohydrates, such as B vitamins & chromium - both found in high protein, fibrous foods.
3. Drink More Water. Staying hydrated is important for our bodies inside and out. Drinking water helps us flush out toxins, maintain healthy blood flow, and assists us in absorbing nutrients better. It helps us curb hunger, and sugar too!
4. Get your zzzz's. When we are tired, our brain functions on a lower level and our body asks for more energy, thus turning to sugar for a quick fix. Our hormones are greatly affected by how much we sleep, which has a tremendous impact on the food choices we make.
5. Try Almond Butter & Apple Slices. When you just still can't shake the craving for sugar, reach for healthy alternatives. My favorite is almond butter smeared on thinly sliced apples. I encourage you to take the time to cut the apples into smaller portions and savor each slice :) Almonds are high in magnesium, a nutrient that calms the brain and nervous system, which can help you better cope with stress, in addition to protein and fiber.
6. Make Your Own Desserts. Instead of reaching for store-bought desserts, make your own so you know exactly what's going into them, and so you can choose alternatives to refined sugars and flours. Check out my Dangerously Dark Chocolate Cherry Cookies.