Do you find yourself gravitating to the open box of doughnuts on your colleague's table? Do you carry toffees and candies around in your bag? Have you promised to stop eating sugar countless times only to fall off the wagon and into a stack of pancakes? And finally, do you get increasingly irritable if you don’t get your sugar fix for the day? If you’re nodding your head while trying to bury the guilt you feel, you’re the victim of sugar cravings. It’s a term you must’ve heard or even casually thrown around but did you know that studies have shown that nearly 86% of people who have food cravings often crave high-calorie, chocolate-covered-strawberries kind of foods?
Knowing you aren’t suffering through mind-numbing cravings alone might not help you curb them. But we know what will. No, it’s not a box of brownies (you wish!). We’ve rounded up a list of healthy foods that curb and/or prevent sugar cravings. Not all of them are as exciting as ice cream doused in chocolate sauce but they are extremely helpful. This is one diet change you won’t regret.
Do you crave something chocolatey after every meal? Next time, instead of impulsively Swiggy-ing a fudgy, gooey brownie (a few walnuts don’t make it healthy. You’re only fooling yourself), try popping in a piece or two of dark chocolate.
No, it’s not an urban myth. Dark Chocolate has a higher per cent of cocoa and less added sugar than your run-of-the-mill milk chocolate. It’s the better of two evils. Dark Chocolate also contains anti-inflammatory plant-based compounds called flavanols and boosts your levels of dopamine and serotonin. This leaves you with a satiated feeling. Another ‘brownie’ point in Dark Chocolate's favour is that it's a good source of magnesium and studies even show that decreases your chances of heart disease.
Need I say more?!
Strawberries, raspberries, and blueberries (no, not in a cheesecake) are nutritious choices when you have a crippling sugar craving. Berries are low-glycemic fruits which calm your sweet tooth down without actually spiking your blood sugar level. They have a high water content, anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. They are a great source of fibre (which balances your blood sugar level and keeps you feeling full for longer).
Move over post-lunch raspberry dolly, we have actual raspberries to the rescue.
A powerhouse nutrient, chia seeds are the underrated players in the game. They are the richest plant source of omega-3 fatty acids. A 2017 study published in the Nutrition Research and Practice stated that consuming chia seeds with yoghurt increased satiety and considerably reduced sugar cravings.
Of course, you can’t eat a spoon of chia seeds directly from the jar. One way of integrating them into your daily diet is by mixing a spoonful of chia seeds in milk. Let them sit overnight. Next morning you can add some honey, nuts, a dash of cinnamon (whatever toppings you like, just stick to the healthy theme) and voila, you have breakfast ready.
Did your mother ever force you to eat a cup of yoghurt with lunch every day? There is a reason for that. Yoghurt is rich in calcium and protein. A 2016 study published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics showed that the more protein you intake the fuller and more satisfied you feel. Thus, eliminating all sugar cravings.
This doesn’t mean you need to have a bowl of plain yoghurt. Dress it up! Add some nuts, some honey or some bananas. Get creative with it.
Are you trying to lay off candy but failing miserably? Dates are a great substitute. They are highly nutritious and their sweetness is enough to calm your raging sweet tooth down. Even though they are dried, they are a great source of potassium, iron, and fibre.
What's so ingenious about carrying dates around is that because they have the same sweet flavour, they curb the sugar craving the same way a cookie would. But unlike that cookie, dates will also get you your daily nutrition fix and not lead to excess cravings. Now, isn’t this a win-win situation?
Okay, I know what you’re thinking. The word ‘legumes’ doesn’t exactly conjure up appetizing images. But lentils, beans and chickpeas (all various forms of legumes) are great sources of protein and fibre. And as we’ve established by now, that’s all it’s about. They keep you fuller for longer and grind all those hunger-based sugar cravings to the ground.
Getting a trail mix together requires some prior planning but it’s one of the most satisfying ways to curb sugar cravings. A mixture of dried fruits and nuts, its inherently sweet flavour will settle the hankering and without even realising it you will be including dried fruits and nuts into your diet. And that can’t hurt.
The beauty of a trail mix is that there is no fixed recipe but it’s still nutritious and effective!