Halloween is officially over and some of you (or your kids) have probably started to experience “sugar withdrawal” from all the treats you scared up over the week. Sugary snacks are lifesavers when we’re running low on energy or in need of some comfort, and they are so delicious it’s hard to resist reaching for another doughnut or candy bar once you’ve started on one. But the sugar alone in these snacks don't provide your body with the nutrient it needs, leaving you unsatisfied and craving for more. If your goal is to leave that sweet life behind, try employing some of these tricks:
1. Replace sugary with healthy
Substitute your dose of sugar with a healthy alternative to make yourself fuller and dispel the guilt. For example, candy lovers can go with fruits like strawberries or figs.
2. Chew gum instead
Keep your jaws occupied with some gum to reduce the temptation to pop some candy in your mouth. Some nutritionists even claim that chewing gum can help to combat those sugar cravings due to the sheer amount of chewing involved.
3. Treat yourself in small amounts
It’s okay to cheat once in a while. Completely cutting your favourite sugary snacks out of your diet probably won’t work out in the long run too, so allow yourself the occasional treat but in small portions.
4. Eat regular meals
Getting hungry between meals is a huge incentive to reach for that sugary snack, so keep your meal intervals short. Experts recommend that we eat proper food every 3-5 hours. What constitutes as proper food? Those that are minimally processed and are rich in nutrients are your best options. When in doubt, ask yourself: is this what my grandmother would consider as real food?
5. Stay away from artificial sweeteners
If the nutrition labels on your snack hint that artificial sweeteners are present, you might want to abstain from it. While such additives are useful for individuals looking to keep their blood sugar levels intact, it doesn't do much for those trying to kick a sugar habit.
6. Move around to distract yourself
Sitting there isn’t going to help you fight the temptation much, so when the urge to snack comes in, get up and go for a walk. The physical movement and change in scenery will distract you from your desire to snack.
7. Plan what to eat
It helps to plan ahead on what you’re going to be eating, since most of the time we indulge in junk food because of a lack of alternatives and options. With good planning, you can stock up your pantry with healthy snacks or eat more satiating meals, so you won’t be tempted to snack on sugary treats during teatime.
8. Emotional eating? Talk to someone instead
Drowning feelings of stress or sadness in a tub of ice cream sounds like an attractive option when you’re feeling down, but it doesn’t solve anything. Talking it out with someone you trust will likely make you feel better and help you get closer to resolving the issue that’s causing you distress.
9. Reward yourself
Saying no takes effort! Each time you successfully turn down a delicious sugary snack, you deserve a reward. This will keep yourself motivated to fight the ongoing battle against a sugar addiction. Keep your rewards simple , like 10 minutes of YouTube surfing or social media usage.
10. Consider cutting sugary snacks out of your diet altogether
For some people, abstaining completely from these snacks is the best option, especially for those with low impulse control and find it hard to eat small amounts of these snacks without wanting to binge on more. It’ll be hard at the start, but the rewards for this approach are tremendous.
Sugar itself isn’t a bad thing – it’s just that most of the sugary snacks we love are simple carbohydrates with no real nutritional value. One of the main reasons behind sugar addiction is the rush of endorphins released in your brain when you consume something sweet. Ultimately, you CAN have your treat and eat it too, as long as you know how to regulate yourself. It’s perfectly okay to indulge yourself once in a while, just don’t practice such eating habits all the time. After all, even Halloween can’t last all year-round and you have to learn to ignore when the impulse to treat comes knocking!