Healthy Tips to Satisfy a Sweet Tooth

~ written by Katolen Yardley, MNIMH, Medical Herbalist

  • Snack on protein throughout the day. High protein foods can increase the sensation of “feeling full and helps to curb those sugar cravings.
  • Chew foods well before swallowing to bring out the natural sweetness of the food. Complex carbohydrates often taste sweeter when chewed.
  • Integrate sweet tasting vegetables into your diet. Jerusalem artichokes, beets, sugar peas, carrots, winter squash and sweet potatoes can all be healthy sweet substitutes to manage cravings.
  •  Increase your water intake between meals to increase the sensation of feeling full. Sometimes feelings of hunger are actually misinterpreted for signals that the body is dehydrated.
  • Consume at least 3 meals per day and do not skip meals. Begin each day with breakfast. Missing meals during the day can lead to overeating at night, and often the overeating of junk food. The body requires most of its fuel (calories) during the day to fuel physical activity and support mental capacities. Infrequent eating can lead to blood sugar fluctuations and sugar cravings.
  • Snack throughout the day. Overeating at one meal leads to a sensation of bloating and fullness, then a feeling of emptiness a few hours later. Keeping food in your stomach throughout the day will create a slightly full sensation in your stomach, when slightly full one is less likely to overeat and crave sugar.
  • Eat a piece of fruit, before indulging in a chocolate bar or sugary sweet. Fruit sugars do not affect blood sugar fluctuations like sucrose (white sugar) and the fiber content will help to fill you up.
  •  Introduce variety to your taste buds. Cultivate an appreciation for slightly bitter foods and cut down the amount of sugar and sweeteners used in baking. Over time ones taste buds will become accustomed to less sweet flavors.
  • Substitute an alternative pleasure. The best way to break any habit, including a food craving, is to substitute a healthier option. If emotions trigger overeating or eating of sweets, then identify what conditions trigger your cravings, such as boredom, loneliness, anxiety, depression, and commit to other ways to perk yourself up. Try exercise, a hobby, music, or just close your eyes for a few minutes and visualize something that relaxes you before going back to your every day tasks.
  • Weekend treats. If you mentally resists giving up certain foods, eventually you will eventually give in and fall back into past habits. Instead, just cut down on how frequently and how much you eat and explore substituting some alternatives, such as low fat sorbet and dried fruit. Eventually, as your body learns to identify the difference between super sweet foods and foods containing less sugar, you will begin to crave what’s good for you and many sweet foods will seem far too rich.
  • When your taste buds need a sweet fix, try adding Stevia Leaf into a brewing herbal tea. Or alternatively Stevia can be purchased in a concentrate powder or liquid form and used in baking instead of sugar or artificial sweeteners. Stevia does not cause blood sugar fluctuations and it doesnot carry any of the health concerns that surround artificial sweeteners. For more information on artificial sweeteners click on the link!