Why do we get them and how do we combat them
Most people are familiar with the 3 pm slump and craving for sweet food. Afternoon slumps are completely normal- we can’t expect our bodies to go full speed ahead from the moment we wake up to when we go to sleep! But why do we crave sweet food? This is likely because the brain uses carbohydrates for energy. Sweet foods like lollies and sugary drinks contain high GI carbohydrates which are broken down quickly for the brain to use as energy. However, although they provide a quick fix, this energy burst is short-lived and often we are back to our groggy tired selves shortly after a sugar rush. So to stop ourselves reaching for high sugar quick-fix foods, what can we do to combat these cravings?
When we experience physical hunger – this is our body telling us that we need to eat! Cravings are different from hunger and can happen after we have eaten a meal. This might be because we are not satisfied with our meal, we are connecting food with emotions, or we might just be bored. It is important to first address why you are craving a certain food, and then to determine how you will beat this sugar craving. Of course, having the odd square of chocolate or occasional lollie isn’t going to be harmful. But there are better ways to beat those sugar cravings!
Reaching for a sugary fix when we crave an energy boost isn’t the end of the world. But there are more energizing and satisfying ways to address the sugar cravings!
How to beat sugar cravings:
- Eat 3 meals every day. Skipping meals is a sure way to experience energy slumps and sugar cravings! Eat regular meals that satisfy you.
- Aim to include some good quality protein like lean meat, chicken, fish, eggs, or legumes in your meals to fill you up for longer and keep energy slumps at bay.
- Stay hydrated! Often thirst is mistaken for hunger so make sure that you are drinking enough water during the day.
- Be mindful. Is this sugar craving really a sign of hunger? How many times have you eaten some baking or chocolate because it was offered to you- when you actually weren’t hungry at all! Decide if you are actually craving food before you eat something.
- Drink tea. Try a sweet tea to satisfy your sweet tooth. This is a great way to replace unnecessary snacks throughout the day and to stay hydrated!
- Don’t feel guilty if you cave into the cravings. Sometimes if you are craving chocolate- you should eat chocolate! Chances are that if you avoid eating something you crave you will just eat lots of other foods before finally giving in to your craving! Just be mindful of the portion size.