08 Oct Fight Candy Cravings with These 7 Foods
Halloween is just around the corner—the perfect time to take a hard look at all the candy, carbs, and sugars associated with the holiday.
This week, we’re going to look at sugar cravings, and how to stop ’em in their tracks with healthy alternatives.
Sugar cravings are extremely common, especially among women. In fact, up to 97% of women and 68% of men report experiencing some sort of food craving, including cravings for sugar.
Those experiencing a sugar craving feel a strong urge to eat something sweet and can find it difficult to control themselves around food. This can lead to binge eating or over-consuming calories, sometimes on a regular basis.
Luckily, there are things you can do to take the edge off. Here are 19 foods that can help you fight your sugar cravings.
When most people feel sugar cravings, they reach for high-fat, high-sugar foods like chocolate.
However, swapping out the junk food for some fruit when you feel like something sugary could give you the sweet hit you need and stop your craving in its tracks.
Fruit is naturally sweet but also contains lots of beneficial plant compounds and fiber, allowing you to have your fix and keep it healthy.
To make sure it hits the spot, eat fruits that are slightly higher in sugar like mangoes or grapes. If you’re also hungry, try adding some yogurt to your fruit to make it a more satisfying snack.
Protip: Some good fruits to eat: berries, dates, and prunes. (So maybe just stick to the berries!)
What? Chocolate on a list about not eating sweets? Yup: it’s true. Chocolate is one of the most commonly reported foods people eat when they crave sweets. However, if you find yourself craving chocolate, you can make a healthier choice by choosing dark chocolate.
Dark chocolate is chocolate that contains more than 70% cocoa. It also contains healthy plant compounds known as polyphenols.
Some studies have shown that the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects of these polyphenols may help improve markers of heart health.
Protip: Like regular chocolate, dark chocolate contains sugar and fat, so it’s best to limit yourself to a couple of squares to satisfy your craving.
Not all snack bars are healthy, and some are very high in fat and sugar. However, if you’re craving a sweet treat, there are some good, healthier options out there.
Try looking for a snack bar made with whole oats and sweetened with fresh or dried fruit, rather than table sugar.
The best bars have been made with whole foods. They are likely to be higher in fiber and contain more beneficial nutrients, even if they are still quite sweet.
Protip: Watch out for snack bars that contain a lot of so-called “healthy” sugar, such as honey, agave syrup or coconut sugar. These are still added sugar, and they aren’t good for you.
Sugar-Free Chewing Gum or Mints
Chewing gum can be a great way to control your sugar cravings.
Gum or mints that are made with artificial sweeteners taste sweet but contain a minimal number of calories and no sugar.
Although results are mixed, some studies have also found that chewing gum could help control hunger, cravings and the intake of carb-heavy foods later in the day.
Protip: In addition to helping you fight the urge for sugar, chewing gum after your meals is good for your teeth!
Yogurt is a healthy snack that’s high in protein and rich in calcium. Additionally, some studies have suggested that yogurt could be a good snack to help regulate your appetite and control your cravings.
In fact, one study found that healthy-weight women who had high-protein Greek yogurt for an afternoon snack were less hungry and ate less later in the day, compared to those who had a lower-protein snack or no snack at all.
Protip: The healthiest choice for yogurt is one that contains live cultures and is free of added sugar.
Trail mix is the name often given to a snack containing dried fruit and nuts. The exact combination of ingredients can vary, but trail mix can make a great choice if you’re craving something sweet.
The sweetness of the dried fruit can help halt your sugar cravings, and it’s also a great way to get some nuts into your diet.
Nuts contain healthy fats, proteins, fiber and plant compounds. Eating them has been linked to a number of health benefits, including improved risk factors for heart disease and diabetes.
Protip: Trail mix can be very high in calories, so stick to a serving of around one handful. And avoid the types of trail mix that are loaded with chocolates and other candies.
Sorta goes without saying, right? While eating vegetables may not be satisfying when you are experiencing an acute sugar craving, including them in your diet regularly could be helpful.
Vegetables are high in fiber and low in calories. They also contain lots of beneficial nutrients and plant compounds. Eating more vegetables is probably one of the best things you can do for your health and could lower your risk of diseases like heart disease and cancer.
Adding vegetables is also a great way to bulk up your meals, helping you feel more satisfied throughout the day.