It happens to all of us. Every year when the holidays come around, sweet foods become an abundance. Gifts of sweets are exchanged frequently. Meals are often spoiled. Cavities often formed. Do not panic! There is a cure.
The first step is realizing you have become a prisoner to sweets—do you notice yourself craving sweet foods throughout the day? Or maybe you catch yourself in the cookie jar, or the candy aisle every hour on the hour?
The second step is catching yourself in the act, so you can begin to solve the problem. Be sure to have a plan. You may try to completely avoid the food, distract yourself with another task, have one or two glasses of water, or find another stress-relieving technique. The object is to take your mind off of the craving, or to satisfy the craving with a healthy choice.
Ask yourself “why am I reaching for something sweet?” Is it always at a certain time of the day? Maybe it is always after a meal? When you are stressed? Bored? Pinpointing the cause of the craving will help you eliminate them.
Sweets are addicting! There is no way around it. Make it a point to break the habit of eating sweets. If you are having a piece of chocolate three times a day, make it only once. Even if you are eating only one cookie every day, aim for a few times each week. Also think about the time of day you tend to eat sweets, and try to change it up. Breaking the cycle of the habit is imperative.
When all else fails, ditching the sweets “cold turkey” may be the most effective approach for you. Try reintroducing one small sweet food three to five days after not having any, then work on avoiding a habit.
Be aware of cravings that last for a few hours, or even days. It is okay to indulge (1-2 servings) in a craving every so often. Sometimes eating that one cookie now will save you hundreds of calories you may eat while trying to avoid that cookie craving! However, a sweet craving each day can quickly lead to bad habits.
Remember, sweets include candy, desserts, sodas, even juices, diet drinks, coffee sweeteners, and artificial sweeteners. When possible, reach for a fruit to give you a boost of energy and nutrition.
Marina Bedrossian is a Northport, NY dietitian nutritionist who helps people with holistic nutrition solutions and food sensitivities. Visit this page to schedule an appointment and don’t forget to join the private Facebook group “Ingredients For Healthy Families” more information here.