It’s not exactly news that sugar isn’t great for our health, skin or waistlines, but like that bad boy we all knew at school, it’s pretty hard to resist. Laura Thomas, wellness coach and founder of the Happy Sugar Habits, shares her five quick and easy hacks to help you limit the sweetness in 2016 and tame those pesky cravings without committing social suicide. Keep scrolling for the five healthy sugar hacks you need to know.
Yes, you read that right, I said eat chocolate! Quite often, we opt for a snack bar to feel virtuous, but these can be packed with crave-inducing sugars like dried fruits, honey and agave syrup. As a result, they may be increasing your overall desire for the sweet stuff and keeping you in that sweetness spiral. Very dark chocolate can really hit the craving spot with minimal sweetness. For example, two squares of Lindt 85% dark chocolate contain roughly 3g of sugar versus a Nakd Cocoa Delight bar which racks up 15g.
Unsweetened coconut products are naturally sweet but again won’t drive your sugar cravings crazy. Due to their high healthy fat content, they’ll really satiate you too. Try coconut chunk snack pots when out and about, coconut flakes for your post-meal sweet fix, and unsweetened coconut water instead of a sports drink or juice.
Teas and coffees can be a great sugar substitute, especially for social situations. An unsweetened chai tea with extra cinnamon or a licorice peppermint brew can both curb cravings. Alternatively, a creamy full fat cappuccino can really take the edge off a craving due to the natural sweetness in the milk (almond milk works well too). Think of the hot drinks option when you find yourself faced with ordering dessert and you want something to join in with the social consumption.
Saying you’re never going to eat anything sweet again is possible (if you intend to be very dogmatic and strict about it), but this isn’t realistic long-term, and an over-restriction can result in an unhealthy mind-set coupled with the risk of rebellious binges down the line. With our habits as the foundation of our health, it’s what you do regularly that matters the most. Try to avoid creating daily habits around sweetness for the sake of it, and instead choose to eat sugar in a more random way. For example, indulge on the odd special occasion that means something to you, or make a spontaneous one-off decision to make something you usually don’t make and that you really love. With this approach, you can health hack yourself to eat less sugar whilst still allowing yourself to enjoy it if you want. You’ll also foster a healthier relationship with food.
With sugar-free being the new black, it’s easy to get caught up with finding the healthiest alternative. I’m talking stevia, xylitol, coconut sugar, brown rice syrup, medjool dates and anything else that gives that healthy ‘sugar-free’ dessert a sweet taste. All of these ingredients have a place in a healthy diet, but frequency matters the most here. Eating something a few times a month makes what you use much less significant than if you’re eating it multiple times a day. Prioritise how often you use sugar substitutes over the details of which one to use.
Are you going to limit your sugar intake this year? Sound off in the comment box below.