How to Avoid Succumbing to that Sugar Craving
Do you find yourself succumbing to sugar cravings between meals or at particular times of day? For healthy eating, and especially for those with type 2 diabetes, it is important to be mindful of sugar intake. Making sure the amount of carbohydrates in your meals and snacks is within the recommended ranges will help your body maintain healthy blood sugar levels. Here are a few tips and tricks to keep your food choices on point so you can stay on course with your healthy eating plan and blood sugar targets.
Include fruit at meals for a balanced diet
Yes, fruits do contain sugars and have an impact on your blood sugar levels. However, this doesn’t mean they should be avoided when you have diabetes. Fruits are loaded with vitamins, minerals, and fiber. Additionally, their sweetness can help satisfy sugar cravings and make you less likely to grab that candy bar an hour after lunch.
Make sure to choose whole fruits over fruit juices. Whole fruits contain fiber, which makes them more nutritious and helps contribute to feelings of satiety.1 In a study that compared the effect of fruit on energy intake and satiety, researchers found that when participants ate a whole apple before lunch, total lunch energy intake was lower and fullness ratings were higher than for those who consumed applesauce or apple juice before lunch.2
Add chia seeds to the mix
Research has shown that adding chia seeds, which are high in of soluble fiber, can help to lower hunger levels and reduce the desire for sugary foods.3 Add some chia seeds to yogurt, smoothies or even oatmeal! You can also make your own chia pudding with this simple recipe:
- Add 2 tbsp of chia seeds to ½ cup milk unsweetened soymilk or almond milk, and mix in some vanilla extract, and/or cocoa powder and some stevia. Let your pudding sit in the fridge for several hours, then enjoy your DIY fiber-packed treat!
Retrain your taste buds
By slowly decreasing the amount of sugar in your diet, you will experience firsthand how you can retrain your brain and your taste buds to no longer crave those super-sweet treats. If you’re used to putting three packets of sugar in your coffee, bump that down to two. After a week or two, bump it down again, even if it’s just by half of a packet. Those treats you once loved may even start to taste too sweet!
Fuel your body throughout the day
By focusing on eating consistent meals and snacks throughout the day, you can avoid the lows in your blood sugar levels, feelings of extreme hunger, and sugar cravings. When you’re really hungry, those sugar cravings are even more likely to strike. Research has shown that blood glucose levels play a role in determining appetite - low blood glucose levels tend to trigger increased energy intake, and feelings of satiety set in as blood glucose levels rise.1 So, by avoiding those dips in your blood glucose levels, you will also give yourself more control over regulating your appetite.
Cultivate mindfulness during your mealtimes
Mindfulness not only benefits our overall wellbeing, but it is also a great way to form a healthier relationship with food and make better choices. One study found that an eating focused mindfulness-based intervention resulted in positive changes in eating behavior, decreased likelihood of overeating, and reduced weight and feelings of stress.4 The next time you feel the urge to grab that chocolate chip cookie, try practicing mindful eating techniques! Mindful eating can also help beat late night snacking.
Now that you have a better understanding of when and why you may be experiencing sugar cravings, choose one of the strategies above that you know you incorporate into your daily or weekly routine. Not only will you feel better about reaching the goal you set, but you will notice the difference with more controlled blood glucose levels!
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