I know, I know: Sugar isn’t good for you. It’s a fact I face with too much frequency. “Please just give me ALL the cakes, cookies, and candy,” – me five minutes ago (and basically every day of my life) to friends, co-workers, and innocent bystanders. The struggle is undeniably real.
If you’re anything like me and you broke your New Year’s resolution within hours of waking up on Jan. 1 (what besides Nutella-stuffed crepes is going to soak up all that Champagne?!), you’re probably also wondering how you can curb this newfound sugar addiction and ring in February with healthier eating habits. The good news is you can do this. Trust me, I’ve done it before, and not because I was motivated by inevitable Speedo weather or a desire to throw away my man Spanx (yes, they’re a thing). A cut in sugar means an increase in energy, mood, and overall well-being. Abs are merely a fun and superficial byproduct, but a welcomed one at that.
Here are five tried and true ways to kick that sugar habit (or at least try), as well as products to help you get there.
Opt for Stevia, Monk Fruit, and Other All-Natural Sweeteners
Nothing (obviously) will replace the authentic and familiar sweetness of standard sugar, but companies are launching innovative products that mask the bitterness and dullness of replacements like stevia and monk fruit. In addition, they’ve also found ways to integrate vitamins, minerals, and fiber to make your snacking alternatives not just delicious substitutes to dessert, but also healthy ones. My current favorite product comes from SmartSweets, which produces a low sugar, stevia-sweetened gummy bear with a whopping 24 grams of fiber. These are not only a texture lover’s dream, but they satisfy a late afternoon sweet tooth while preventing you from sending that exhaustion-induced, passive aggressive email to your boss. (For those who can handle a little pucker, these also come in “Seriously Sour.” You’re welcome.)
Smart Sweets Fruity Gummy Bears, $5.48 on Amazon
Try these naturally sweet candies!
Make Vegetables Fun Again
No matter how much cheese or pancetta you’re tossing into that spinach, it’s still spinach. And let’s face it, wilted spinach isn’t always the most crave-worthy dish on my daily food pyramid. So if you find your vegetable rotation to be equally as lackluster (and don’t even get me started on “snacks” like baby carrots and celery sticks), it’s time to look for creative variations on the bites that make us go “bleh.”
The folks at GAEA have found a way to preserve vegetables like carrots, cauliflower, and cucumbers in a pleasantly fragrant (and delicious!) brine of sea salt, extra virgin olive oil, and lemon essential oil. It’s a simple touch, but one that elevates veggies beyond their boring predispositions. Chances are likely that you’re craving sodium when your body’s sugar demands have subsided, so these are excellent distractors from binging on treats, while encouraging more healthful options.
Gaea Non-GMO Pitted Olive Snacks, 3 for $15.99 on Amazon
They do olives too, and this tasty trio includes chili-black pepper and lemon-oregano.
Consider Supplemental Powders
Cravings are typically the result of your body lacking a specific nutrient. If your body is well-nourished with a well-rounded diet, it doesn’t scream at you for a quick replenishment. Why not use this opportunity to take advantage of health trends by adding powders to a basic morning smoothie? There are plenty of companies to choose from, but GreenBlender will send you complete smoothie delivery kits that include both fresh fruits and veggies and superfood powders like baobab, lucuma, maqui berry, moringa, reishi mushroom, and maca; they all boast different health benefits and complement the sweet fruits and juices you crave in the a.m.. Testing the effects of an unfamiliar root or berry is certainly more satisfying than noshing on a bland Tootsie Roll for three seconds. (Seriously, who actually enjoys Tootsie Rolls?)
If there’s one healthy beverage you can customize to fit every personality and craving, it’s tea. The possibilities are endless, particularly with loose leaf varieties from reputably delicious brands like David’s Tea. Some of the dried fruit blends are so sweet that you’ll trick your mind into thinking the steamy bev is piled high with sugar or honey. Certified health nuts will also enjoy the brand’s line of “Detox” wellness flavors like Lemon Cayenne Cleanse and Organic Sweet Ginger Heat so you can feel extra proud of yourself as you sip mindfully instead of salivate aimlessly over that half-eaten Ghirardelli square in the bottom of your desk drawer. Just be sure to monitor your caffeine intake.
I can already hear you smacking your gum and saying “duh,” but it’s a trick that absolutely works. The second I crave a Reese’s or handful of Sour Patch Kids, I stick a piece of gum in my mouth. Trident (the OG) has a flavor that lasts for hours, and if you switch to cinnamon, you’ll curb your appetite even longer. It’s science!
Trident Unwrapped Sugar Free Cinnamon Gum, 4 bottles for $10.69 on Amazon
Now you don't even have to waste precious time unwrapping each stick of gum.
Related Video: Is Stevia Healthier than Artificial Sweeteners?
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