Saturday, January 9, 2021

5 Snacks To Curb Your Sugar Craving


This post is good for: 
  • Anyone looking for healthy snacks to stop sugar cravings
  • Anyone looking for healthy, sweet snacks
  • Anyone looking to avoid trips to the vending machine at the office
  • Anyone looking to keep blood sugar in check
Is sugar your kryptonite? It is mine. I could incorporate a pound of Swedish Fish, a bag of Reese's Mini Peanut Butter Cups and a few oatmeal raisin cookies into my daily diet and not blink an eye.
While indulging with a wonderful sweet treat has a place in any healthful diet, simple sugars should not be something that make up the majority of your diet. The key here is occasional indulgence not a daily staple. 

I ate a sugar-laden diet when I was fat.  Diabetes also runs in my family.  I now make a concerted effort to avoid the white crack and it has paid off.

Why We Crave Sugar

Sugar has a similar effect on the brain as an addictive drug. It triggers the brain's reward system and increases production of dopamine, a neurotransmitter involved in reward, motivation, memory and attention.

According to the Washington Post, "many sugar cravings stem from a blood sugar imbalance. When your body ingests sugar, your blood sugar spikes and your body releases insulin to lower it to a safer level. If the insulin brings your blood sugar level a bit too low, as often happens, your body craves foods that will raise it and increase your energy. You're on a blood sugar roller coaster, and it's hard to get off it. The key to balancing blood sugar is to eat foods that prevent too much insulin from being released, such as protein and healthy fats, and consuming only small amounts of sugar (if any). It's also important to eat regular meals and snacks, because blood sugar drops when you skip a meal."

Plainly put - eating sugar causes you to crave more of it. There are foods, though, that can help you quash a craving without damaging your waistline.  Here are five simple swaps to make when you are dying for something sweet.

5 Snacks To Help Curb Your Sugar Craving

Dark Chocolate

The complex flavors of a good dark chocolate really do calm that "I NEED SUGAR" noise that can start screaming about 3:30pm when you're at your desk. Opt for a chocolate that is at least 70% cocoa. It's strange how the bitterness of the dark chocolate actually curbs not just your sugar craving but your appetite overall. You'll find it's almost impossible to eat more than a few squares.

Valrhona Dark Chocolate
It's impossible to gorge on these. 

Valrhona makes great dark chocolate. You can find their bars at Trader Joe's, Amazon and other mass retailer. I love Vosges Pomegranate Goji Dark Chocolate Bar (this one has a super fruit bonus!). Dark chocolate contains antioxidants and also has vitamins and minerals such as iron, copper and magnesium. It's a great food to incorporate into your diet and is also a part of the Mediterranean Diet, which is consistently considered one of the best diets in the world 

RELATED: Mediterranean Diet is the Best Diet of 2021

Apple with Nut Butter

An apple with natural peanut butter or almond butter is really satisfying. The natural fruit sugars in the apple are satiating while the fiber in the apple is filling. The nut butter adds a dose of protein and healthy fat. Simply slice the apple in half and apply half a tablespoon of nut butter to each half of the apple. It's a great snack. For a bit more flavor, sprinkle some cinnamon on top! 

A Few Sugar-Free Breath Mints 

Sugar Free Lifesavers
LOVE these!

A few breath mints.  I like Lifesavers Sugar-Free Mints.  People pop into my office to grab them. In fact, I gave them as office holiday gifts in 2020. These take a while to finish and can help you get through that screaming craving.

There are those who don't believe in artificial sweeteners and I tend to be one of those, as well. I think these in moderation, though, are fine. 

Dried Apricots with Walnuts

Dried apricots with walnuts are a surprisingly filling snack that can keep you full. The apricots provide the sweet while the walnuts deliver healthy fats. Opt for unsulfured apricots if you can. Also be sure to keep the serving size in check because these can become a calorie bomb if you eat too many. Think five and five: five apricots and five walnut halves. This is approximately 165 calories.

Protein Bars

Buy these bars

A tasty nutrition bar can completely quiet your candy bar craving. Opt for one that has under 250 calories and some protein.Power Crunch makes great bars. Their Vanilla Creme is my latest obsession and something I eat when I want to make a trip to the vending machine for candy. Their Salted Caramel bar is also amazing. I also like thinkThin bars which are under 200 calories. 

5 snacks to help curb your sugar cravings
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Buy Snacks to Help You with Your Sugar Cravings

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