Found yourself craving sweets and sugary foods? You’re not alone. The latest Australian National Survey showed that more than half of all Australians consumed more than the recommended sugar intake per day, and with many of us now spending a lot more time at home, it can feel even harder to stay away from the sweet stuff.
To help you keep your sweet tooth in check, here are some of the common culprits behind sugar cravings and how you can manage them.
Make sure you’re getting enough time between the sheets each night. When we are sleep deprived we are far more likely to crave sweeter things as sleep deprivation alters our appetite-regulating hormones, increases caloric intake and makes us more likely to pick high-sugar foods. Despite how tempting it is to stay up late watching Netflix, we recommend sticking to your normal bedtime to maintain the timing of the body’s internal clock and make sure you're waking up feeling your best each day.
Create and try to follow a set meal and snack schedule each day. More often than not, when people skip meals they spend the rest of the day grazing and reaching for sugary snacks to pick themselves up. This is due to unstable energy intake and blood sugar fluctuations. To overcome this, schedule out your day and work out when you’ll take a break from work for meals and snacks.
Ensure each meal contains an adequate source of protein. Protein helps to stabilise blood sugar levels and keeps you feeling full, which can help to reduce sugar cravings. Include a protein source at every meal, even your snacks.
Have some healthy snacks made up and ready to go. There’s nothing wrong with snacking on a when you are genuinely hungry, but due to laziness and lack of organisation, humans tend to reach for the most accessible and satisfying option…. Which isn’t usually something nutritious! By organising your snacks for the week ahead you’ll make sure you have easy access to something that tastes good, is healthy and will tide you over till your next meal. As opposed to sweets that will have you back in the kitchen cupboards within the hour.
Stay hydrated. Quite often we think we are hungry when we are more often than not just thirsty. So before diving into your snacks, have a large glass of water and then reassess your hunger levels after around 5 minutes. To make sure you stay hydrated whilst at home, fill up a water bottle and carry it around the house with you.
Look after your mental health. Boredom is probably one of the worst initiators of sugar cravings as when we experience boredom, the body responds to signals sent from the brain and tries to change them by consuming foods that may trigger pleasure, such as sweets. In contrast to boredom, feelings of stress also make us more likely to cave into sugar cravings. So to keep your mind happy and calm by taking measures to lift your mood with daily exercise calls with friends and keeping busy with projects.
This article was written by Holly for The H and P Collective.