It seems that every autumn holiday can be somehow associated with sweets, from candy at Halloween, to challah at Yom Kippur, to pumpkin pie at Thanksgiving!
With all the recent news regarding the problems with consuming too much sugar, finding a way to make healthier substitutes can do a world of good. Often, we crave sugar the more we consume it - what a terrible loop to get caught in! So how to fix it?
We've got your tips for cutting back on sugar, without cutting back on the flavors you love.
Top Tips for Cutting Back on Sugar
Start by cleaning house.
Remove any sugary temptations at home or work, and keep them out of sight (and out of mind). Yes, that means no more stocking up on Halloween candy or keeping a sweet stash nearby. Although we can't always know when we'll be tempted by sugar, it is important to take control of the environments where we can. If you don't have it in the house, you won't eat it!
Have a backup plan.
Can't do anything but daydream about eating chocolate? Figure out a distraction! Most cravings take about 15 minutes to subside, so stick it out. Even though it may seem like an eternity, that's all the time you'll actually need to get your mind off of it! Lace up and go for a jog, call your mom (you're probably overdue for that anyway), or set a timer and meditate. Being prepared ahead of time will make a huge difference, especially if you're putting a healthy habit in place of an unhealthy one.
Substitute with fruit!
Use applesauce or mashed bananas to compensate for the sugar in baked goods. Try frozen grapes or homemade popsicles for a quick and naturally sweet treat instead of ice cream. Although fruit does contain sugar, it also contains high amounts of fiber and other nutrients. Just remember that since you're trying to cut back, stick to only 1-2 servings per day.
Boost your serotonin.
Also known as the happiness hormone, serotonin can be raised through a balanced diet, a diverse exercise routine, and a good sleep schedule. Studies have shown that having healthy levels of this hormone will help reduce your cravings for sweet treats.
Sprinkle with cinnamon!
Cinnamon helps with regulating blood sugar through digestion (an added bonus), supports the immune system, and increases circulation. It also tastes delicious with coffee or tea, or sprinkled on top of toast! The aromatic, and sweetly spicy flavor is a worthy substitute.
This all-natural sweetener doesn't raise blood sugar levels, and is 300 times sweeter than sugar so you don't need nearly as much to satisfy your cravings. True Lemon Original Lemonade is made with Stevia, so you can enjoy a satisfying beverage without all the added sugar.
Boost your water intake.
Many times we think were hungry, when really were just craving water! Staying hydrated is not only an important component of good health, but its also a great way to curb sugar cravings. Add True Lime to your water for an extra kick of flavor, and as the months begin to get cooler sip on green tea.
[Credit: Body Ecology. 10 Secrets for Ending Your Sugar Cravings for Good.]
[Credit: Richards, Sarah Elizabeth. Are You Addicted to Sugar? Here's How to Break the Cycle. Daily Burn.]
[Credit: Schwecherl, Laura. 30 Sugar Substitutes for Any and Every Possible Situation. Greatist.]