Healthy tips to help curb sugar cravings

August 30, 2013

Many people just can resist the urge to reach for something sweet.

However, health coach Christine Ballantine says when you have a sugar craving, it's just a sign from your body that it needs something.

"It is sending out a signal," she said. "We are misinterpreting it to be sugar."

She says it's never sugar your body needs. Sometimes it just means you're thirsty, sometimes you need to sleep or relax.

Other times, it's healthy nutrients to give your body energy.

If you reach for sweets, Ballantine says, it starts the rollercoaster of a quick high followed by a dip in energy.

But, healthy snacks can stop the cycle. Christine recommends goji berries.

"They taste a little bit between a cranberry and a cherry," she said.

A healthier form of chocolate, cacao nibs, can also help. So can almost or roasted edamame, which Ballantine said is high in protein, satisfying and "very portable."

Overall, if you give your body healthy nutrients throughout the day, you shouldn't crave sweets.

Ballantine says a great way to do that is with smoothies.

"The whole idea is you are going to get your leafy greens but you are going to mask the taste with fruit," she said.

Here are some tips from Ballantine on how to make a smoothie:

If you have a Blendtec or Vitamix then all you need to do is start by adding your liquids, add your greens, fresh fruits, ice cubes and blend.

On the Blendtec, try to preset "Ice Cream Frozen Yogurt" setting button. Run through two cycles if you like smoothies cold and are using a lot of ice cubes and frozen fruit.

With a Vitamix, just run the blender on high until you see the desired consistency.

For any other blender, you will need to test it out. Sometimes hitting the "pulse" button a few times gets things started and then try the other features such as "chop" or "liquefy." Each blender is somewhat unique so you will need to experiment until you get the consistency you like.

I recommend leaving frozen fruit out on the counter a little bit until softened. Cut up larger chunks of fruit into smaller pieces.

Chop up your greens rather than adding whole leaves or large bunches.

It night take a few hits and misses before you get the consistency you like but remember there are no mistakes. Start with small quantities until you get the hang of it.

In general, if you like your smoothie cold and thick then add more ice. If you need to thin it out, add water or another liquid.

Additional information:

For Greens, Ballantine recommends you try different ones. They all vary in terms of taste and nutrition. She recommends starting with spinach.

Once you have mastered spinach, try kale.

Then you can experiment with: arugula, beet greens, bok choy, broccoli, chard, collard greens, mustard greens, dandelion greens (very bitter), watercress.

You want to mix up your greens as you start to incorporate smoothies into your diet.

Superfoods to add in:

Acai, Cacao nibs, Camu camu, chia seeds, ground flax seeds, goji berries, hemp seeds, Maca, Wheatgrass juice.

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