Hey Angels and Alphas,
If you’re trying to lose weight, you probably know better than anyone that today’s nutritional landscape is filled with cheap, quick access to sugar bombs… and they’re available every time we’re craving them. Convenience and grocery stores have their shelves packed with sugary beverages, candy, cookies, and other sweet snacks that are strategically placed at the exit of the checkout, so they prompt those unhealthy impulse buys people are often victim to.
And what’s more, sugar is hidden under so many different names, and in so many unsuspecting foods, ranging from condiments to oats to frozen fruits… it’s everywhere!
Even after you consume a satisfying meal, that sugar craving can hit you unexpectedly and can hit you hard. This could be due to factors such as lack of sleep, dehydration, or a number of other factors such as just stress eating and eating for the sake of pleasure.
Researchers around the world are still trying to figure out exactly why that happens, but before we even take that first bite, the sight of a sugary or fatty food can cause our brain’s reward circuit to get excited.
And once that sweet taste hits your tastebuds, signals are instantly fired off to the brain to release the neurotransmitter dopamine, causing feelings of pleasure. And when you overeat on sugary foods, not only does that flood the brain with dopamine, but it also leads to a pattern of sugar cravings.
That’s why today, we’re here to take a look at the other perspective – what can we consume that will essentially cut through that pattern of sugar cravings and still give us that sweet pleasurable taste at no expense to our health?
Let’s talk about 8 foods that will do exactly that.
Almonds are packed with healthy fats, and they’re also one of the best foods for controlling blood sugar and keeping those cravings in check. The healthy fats in almost all nuts help you feel satisfied for longer, making it less likely for you to have an energy dip between two meals (which is when sugar cravings are at their worst.) You can add almonds to oatmeal, salads, or use them in your DIY energy bars.
For many people, sugar cravings stem from undereating in general or just imbalanced meals and snacks. The brain sends signals to the body that it is craving energy and sugar just happens to be the easiest way to get that energy. That’s where cheese comes in – cheese is high in the amino acid tyrosine, which essentially helps the brain release neurotransmitters (such as dopamine) that regulate those pleasure centers instead of wreaking havoc on them. Cheese also happens to be a great source of protein and fat, balancing your blood sugar levels and fueling your body with zinc and vitamin B12. It’s a winner!
Unlike dried fruit and fruit juices that are high in sugar and really low in fiber, fresh fruit like raspberries provides your body with a great source of fiber that allows for the slow release of natural sugars. With a whoppingly small 5 grams of sugar per cup, raspberries are also a low-sugar fruit… along with blackberries and strawberries, making them perfect for a healthy, sweet, sugar-craving-numbing snack.
Lentils and beans are amazing plant-based proteins that have their place in any diet (not to mention, they’re budget-friendly and have a long shelf life.) A cup of beans brings you 7-9 grams of protein and 6-7 grams of fiber, helping you fill up and stabilizing your blood sugar. Legumes can also help with digestion and provide you with other healthy nutrients such as potassium and iron. They’re great in soups, pasta, salads, burgers, pretty much everywhere!
Eggs are a budget-friendly, nutrient-dense source of fat and protein. Their satiating, savory nature makes them a great option for stabilizing your blood sugar levels, and in turn, your sugar cravings. Not only does their fat and protein help keep you satiated, but they also offer vital nutrients such as vitamin D and B. While eggs are an amazing breakfast option, they can also be used on pizza or hard-boiled as a snack. Yum!
#6 GREEK YOGURT & KEFIR
Another cause to your sugar cravings could be that your gut microbiome is imbalanced, and the bacteria that live there have adapted to thrive on sugar (and expect it.) If you want to reset your gut’s natural balance, choose low-sugar Greek yogurt and kefir that are full of healthy probiotics. Greek yogurt is also abundant in protein, keeping you fueled until your next big meal. They have their place in smoothies, parfaits, or baked foods as a substitute for sour cream and mayo.
#7 PUMPKIN SEEDS
Another great source of fat, fiber, protein, and another secret benefit… magnesium. If you are craving chocolate, it could be because your body needs more magnesium (because cocoa is rich in this vital mineral.) If you opt for other high-magnesium foods such as leafy greens and seeds, you’ll be able to effortlessly boost your magnesium levels and kiss those unexplainable cravings goodbye.
#8 SWEET POTATOES
Sweet potatoes are just naturally sweet, and they don’t have much sugar in them. They’re a great way to replace sugary options when that sweet tooth hits you – because it will. They’re also a fiber-rich complex carb, meaning they provide you with lasting energy that can help keep you focused and stave off those cravings for hours. Enjoy them with black beans in enchiladas, in your salads and grain bowls, or use them in healthy desserts such as pie bars. They really do have it all.