Dani Spies, a health and weight loss coach, is the founder and host of Clean & Delicious, where she shares a weekly cooking show teaching how to make delicious and nutritious food super-easy. You can also find Dani on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.
Hey guys! I’m Dani, a self-proclaimed health-conscious foodie who had successfully failed over 50 diets before moving to Southern California and relearning the art of simple, seasonal, real, whole food. I’m back in my home state of New Jersey now, but I am committed to sharing everything I’ve learned to help others get off their diets and back to real food as a way to reach their health and weight loss goals.
And I don’t know about you, but for me, cutting back on my sugar consumption was a process. Here are my five favorite tips for curbing a wicked sweet tooth:
1. Ditch the fake stuff.
Artificial sweeteners can be 300 times (if not more) sweeter than real sugar. And while they may be calorie free, they really can mess with your palette. They basically bombard our taste buds with such an over the top sweetness, it can be very difficult to then appreciate the subtle, real flavors and sweetness in whole food. In the long run they have you wanting more and more sugar, and that my friends is counter-productive. (Notice I didn’t even begin to touch on the fact they are full of chemicals and correlated with all types of crazy diseases.)
Here’s the deal. Our bodies are crazy smart. Like crazy-crazy. When the body is tired it looks for energy (it is trying to do us a favor) and it knows that the quickest way for energy to get into the body is via sugar. Ever notice that when you are tired you crave processed carbs and/or sweets? This is why. The next time you feel like you need to rest, do yourself a favor and rest.
3. Add more sweet REAL food.
This one is especially true for my dieters and low carb peeps. When we have a diet very low in carbohydrates and sugar we tend to want sweets. By simply adding some nutritious sweet foods to your day you can cut that craving way back. Some great examples are sweet potatoes, squash, brown rice, oats, and carrots. (See my recipe for Simple Sweet Potato Fries below.)
Ok. Are you ready for this one? Both eating too little and too much protein are linked with sugar cravings (how annoying is that?!). So the key is to really become your own detective. If you find yourself craving sugar, just take note of how much protein you have been eating. If it seems high, try cutting back. If it seems low, experiment with adding some more in. I’m telling you, being interested in ourselves is one of the best ways to figure out what our bodies need.
5. Add non-food sweetness.
Oftentimes we reach for sweets because we are looking for a little sweetness in the day. C’mon, fess up! How many of my moms out there love a little chocolate after the kids go to sleep? It’s an easy way to add a sweet moment to the day. But if you are finding that the food-sugar in your life is just too high, ask yourself, “how else can I bring sweetness to my day/life?” It can be a simple as a phone call with a dear friend, a walk, a girls-night out, a great book, journaling, etc. The options are endless, but the key component is that you remember to keep yourself on the top of your own list.
Now, for a yummy recipe to help curb those cravings…
- 1 sweet potato
- 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- salt to taste
- Pre-heat oven to 425 degrees F.
- Cut the sweet potato into "fry-like" strips and pop them into a large bowl.
- Drizzle the olive oil over the top of the sweet potato strips and season with cumin and salt. Gently toss everything together until all the sweet potato strips have a nice light coating of olive oil and spices.
- Place a wire-rack on top of a rimmed baking sheet and lay the "fries" out on the rack. They can be close together but try not to have them touch or overlap.
- Bake for 20 minutes or until tender and lightly browned. Enjoy!
- Serves 1-2 (depending on how much you like fries).