Do you have a sweet tooth? I do. Big time! So for the most part, I just stay away from sugar. I’m aware that it’s an addictive substance and once I start, I just can’t stop. Especially with M&M’s. Caramel M&M’s are crack. An open bag is an empty bag at my house.
So what does a girl with a massive sweet tooth do (especially around that time of the month)? Here are a few things that work for me:
- Chew sugar-free gum. Currently, my favorite flavor is strawberry. But these days you can get every flavor from chocolate mint to peanut butter. Chewing something seemingly sweet helps me avoid sugar-filled options when intense cravings show up.
- Drink more water. Sometimes we mistake dehydration for hunger. Keeping my belly full plus flushing my system helps as well.
- Eat regularly. I find that when I’ve gone too long between meals, I tend to feel tempted by foods that aren’t part of my meal plan. It also helps me to discern when I’m emotionally hungry versus physically hungry.
- Eat fruit (natural sugars). Not only is it nutrient dense, but fruits like berries are high fiber and better alternatives to processed foods with refined sugar. On a side note, baked yams are amazingly sweet and taste like candy to me.
- Make it homemade. If you have to make a dessert from scratch, you might think twice about really wanting it. Plus, shelf-stable desserts at the store tend to contain additives and preservatives that your body doesn’t know what to do with.
- Don’t bring junk home. Use some of the ideas listed below to keep healthier versions of sweets on hand at home. If you maintain a supply of store-bought cookies and junk (even if you didn’t buy them for yourself), you are more likely to get into them when cravings come on or you’ve had a rough day.
- Pay attention to triggers. When we have the emotional or stress hunger pop up, it’s usually only comfort food that we desire. Knowing that it’s not physical hunger and having alternative ways to deal with these cravings can help us make better choices.
- Use spices to trick the palate. Cinnamon, nutmeg and vanilla extract can turn oatmeal, coffee or a protein pancake into a sugar-free treat.
- Make splurges count. I won’t eat just any old treat. If I have to work it off, it better be the most amazing dessert I’ve ever had.
- Track your food. If you are paying attention to how those extras affect your calories and macros, you may be less likely to eat that cookie calling your name. (It’s also important to track an all-out binge. Two weeks down the road when you are frustrated and not seeing results, it’s necessary to see the consequences of falling off the wagon.)
- I freeze the darkest bar of Lindt chocolate I can handle and nibble on one frozen square.
- I keep sugar-free Popsicles in the freezer and boxes of sugar-free Jell-O on hand. (These are not unlimited. They still contain carbohydrates.)
- I use premade Premier Protein shakes (one tablespoon) as my coffee creamer.
- I make a “milkshake” by adding ice to my protein shake and throwing it in my Ninja.
- I keep multiple flavors of liquid stevia on hand to sweeten my coffee and other foods.
- 6 oz egg whites, 1 scoop of whey protein powder and sugar-free caramel syrup make an amazing protein pancake.