I am going to make a confession: I ate Christmas cookies, peanut butter balls, and caramel popcorn during the holidays. Because I don’t believe in “off limit” foods, or deprivation, I allowed myself to enjoy a few homemade treats. And by a few, I mean a few more than I usually would…let’s just say. ;-)
But, that has brought back my sugar cravings. Last year I had pretty well eliminated my sweet tooth (which is really saying something I have to tell ya!). So, I am glad to continue this series of sugar-craving busting tips.
This week I am addressing the issue of low energy causing the cravings. Your body extracts energy from sugar very quickly. So sugar, and also processed foods with refined flour, can easily be the “food of choice” when a quick fix is needed.
To block this need for quick energy, here are 5 tips to try:
Eat foods that are low in glycemic load
I’m sure you have heard of the glycemic index. Sweet foods are higher on the glycemic index (GI) scale. But, some foods that are high GI foods, actually have little effect on blood sugar, when eaten in a normal portion. That is why the glycemic load is more important to pay attention to.
Whole foods such as whole grains, fruits,vegetables, and beans are great choices. They are also high in fiber, which moderates the speed at which the sugar is absorbed by the body.
Make sure to have plenty of B vitamins
To support the body’s energy production, increase intake of foods rich in the B vitamins. They are vital to the body’s energy production cycle. Luckily B vitamins are pretty easy to find when you eat whole foods.
But, if you are like myself, and eat a plant based diet, then you probably know you will need to supplement to get your B12. I use nutritional yeast to get mine. It's a tasty way to get in extra vitamins!
Eat throughout the day
Having small frequent meals helps to keep your blood sugar stable, and prevents the ravenous hunger that can send you in search of a candy bar in the afternoon.
When you do this, it is key to have high quality foods. Otherwise, eating several times during the day can lead to weight gain. Focus on whole fruits and vegetables, with smaller servings of high quality proteins and grains.
Eat sweet vegetables
I know what you are thinking. Trust me, I was skeptical of this myself. But, it really does help to curb the sugar cravings. Give them a try.
Good vegetables to go with are winter squashes, carrots, and sweet potatoes. Roasting these veggies can make them taste even sweeter. Believe it or not, they even get a sticky caramel-like coating when roasted.
Move your body
One more tip to improve your energy without sugar, is to get up and move.
Exercise gets your blood pumping, and releases endorphins. Those endorphins are hormones that give you an energy boost, and make you feel happier too!
When you feel like you don’t have time to take a break in your day and exercise, just give it 10 minutes. Those few minutes of good movement can make you more productive for the rest of your busy day.
I think more clearly after a brisk walk with my dog. I highly recommend walking. And, when the weather prevents it, then I dance!
How will you choose to keep your energy high without a sugar crash later? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.