Sugar cravings hit all of us, all the time. Admit it, it’s a great craving to have. Those of us experiencing a sugar craving feel a strong urge to eat something sweet and can find it difficult to control ourselves around food.
In fact, up to 97% of women and 68% of men report experiencing some sort of food craving, including cravings for sugar. However, binging on sugar treats can negatively affect your health with high blood pressure, obesity, and diabetes.
Here are some great foods that taste sweet, are healthy for you, and without all of the empty calories that can make you sick.
Sugar Cravings: Fruit
Fruit is naturally sweet but also contains lots of beneficial plant compounds and fiber, allowing you to have your fix and keep it healthy.
To make sure it hits the spot, eat fruits that are slightly higher in sugar like mangoes or grapes.
If you’re also hungry, try adding some yogurt to your fruit to make it a more satisfying snack.
Sugar Cravings: Berries
Berries are an excellent, nutritious choice for stopping sugar cravings.
They taste sweet, but their high fiber content means they are actually quite low in sugar.
This could make them a great choice if you think your sugar cravings are linked to habit, rather than hunger.
Additionally, berries are rich in plant compounds and have strong antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
This means they may help reduce risk factors for chronic diseases like heart disease and diabetes.
Sugar Cravings: Dark Chocolate
Chocolate is one of the most commonly reported foods people eat when they crave sweets. This is especially true for women.
However, if you find yourself craving chocolate, you can make a healthier choice by choosing dark chocolate.
Dark chocolate is chocolate that contains more than 70% cocoa. It also contains healthy plant compounds known as polyphenols.
Some studies have shown that the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects of these polyphenols may help improve markers of heart health.
However, like regular chocolate, dark chocolate contains sugar and fat, so limit yourself to just a couple of squares to satisfy your craving.
Sugar Cravings: Snack Bars
Not all snack bars are healthy, and some are very high in fat and sugar.
However, if you’re craving a sweet treat, there are some good, healthier options out there.
Try looking for a snack bar made with whole oats and sweetened with fresh or dried fruit, rather than table sugar.
Also watch out for bars that contain a lot of so-called “healthy” sugar, such as honey, agave syrup or coconut sugar. These are still added sugar, and they aren’t good for you.
The best bars have been made with whole foods. They are likely to be higher in fiber and contain more beneficial nutrients, even if they are still quite sweet.
Sugar Cravings: Sugar-Free Chewing Gum or Mints
Chewing gum can be a great way to control your sugar cravings.
Gum or mints that are made with artificial sweeteners taste sweet but contain a minimal number of calories and no sugar.
Although results are mixed, some studies have also found that chewing gum could help control hunger, cravings and the intake of carb-heavy foods later in the day.
Sugar Cravings: Yogurt
Yogurt is a healthy snack that’s high in protein and rich in calcium.
Additionally, some studies have suggested that yogurt helps to regulate your appetite and control your cravings.
In fact, healthy-weight women who had high-protein Greek yogurt for an afternoon snack were less hungry and ate less later in the day, compared to those who had a lower-protein snack or no snack at all.
The healthiest choice for yogurt is one that contains live cultures and is free of added sugar.
Sugar Cravings: Sweet Potatoes
Sweet potatoes are nutritious, sweet and very filling. They contain mostly carbs but also fiber and a number of vitamins and minerals, including vitamin A, and C.
Some people get sugar cravings because they aren’t eating enough throughout the day.
Including a carb source like sweet potatoes in your meals can combat this by adding calories to your meals and making them more balanced, all while providing you the sweet taste you’re craving.
For a delicious treat, try them roasted with cinnamon and paprika.