Most of us experience sugar cravings at some point during the day. If you don’t, then lucky you! My danger zone is late afternoon – when I worked as a lawyer, I’d often find myself wandering down to the office canteen at about 4pm, eyeing up the small bars of Green & Black dark chocolate and quite often succumbing. Now, it’s after doing the school run when I find my energy levels are dipping and the pantry door is beckoning to be opened.
Here are my top 5 tips for fighting off sugar cravings:
- Ask yourself if you are really hungry? Try drinking a large glass of water or making a herbal tea and see if that helps. Perhaps you’re stressed or bored and what you really need is a break from whatever you are doing. If you are at your desk, get up and walk around for 5 to 10 minutes. If you’re at home, give yourself permission to take a break for 10 minutes, go for a quick walk or just get outside and enjoy some fresh air. When you go back to what you were doing, notice if you still feel hungry or whether it’s passed.
- Have a good breakfast and lunch and don’t go for really long periods during the day without eating. Aim to include some protein and good fats in your meals as this will help you feel fuller for longer. Sources of good fat include nuts, seeds, avocado, coconut oil, eggs, olive oil and oily fish.
- If you’ve concluded that you’re genuinely hungry, then have a healthy snack, such as a handful of nuts and a small apple, a couple of oatcakes spread with nut butter. Steer clear of diet sodas – there is nothing good about them! If you’re really craving chocolate, then have a little bit of good quality dark chocolate or try tip number 5.
- Do some exercise! It’s amazing how a quick blast of exercise can banish sugar cravings. But if you think your blood sugars are dropping (we all know the feeling – wobbly legs, a bit faint), then have a snack.
- And my latest discovery (thanks to Sarah Wilson of I Quit Sugar) blend 1 tablespoon of coconut oil with 1/4 teaspoon of cacao powder and eat it like a mousse. The denseness of the coconut oil and all its good fats will hit that sweet spot and keep the sugar monster at bay for a good couple of hours.