Stress can cause sugar cravings and lead to overeating, but there are some tips to help squash those cravings. It’s important to determine if you’re craving food due to being hungry, stressed, bored, or for emotional reasons. Below are some tips to help reduce sugar cravings whether or not you’re truly hungry or craving sugar because of stress.
1. Chew Gum
Lots of people tend to have “the munchies” when they’re stressed. Sometimes simply having something to chew on will satisfy cravings. Gum is typically sweet and is a low calorie solution to stress-induced sugar cravings. Chewing gum also increases saliva production, which can help prevent cavities. So reach for a pack of gum after meals as well. Sugar-free gum is typically best (and better for your teeth).
2. Reach for Fruit
If you’re feeling hungry or your blood sugar is starting to drop, reach for a piece of fruit to satisfy your sugar craving. Fruit is naturally sweet and lower in calories than candy and sweets. Fruit also tends to be high in fiber which will keep you fuller for longer.
3. Go For a Walk
Walking not only relieves stress, but can eliminate your stress-related food cravings. Walk around the block (or farther) to see if that helps reduce sugar cravings and stress. It will also burn a few extra calories.
4. Eat Small Frequent Meals
If you’re eating small, frequent, healthy meals throughout the day you’ll be less likely to binge on sweets and other junk food. Try to eat a small meal or snack every few hours and make sure to make healthy food choices. Eating small frequent meals will reduce your chances of eating too quickly and overeating.
5. Eat Well-Balanced Meals
When your body is deficient in nutrients due to not eating a balanced diet, you’re more likely to feel unsatisfied after eating and reach for junk food (which may only temporarily satisfy cravings). To reduce sugar cravings make sure you’re eating enough fiber, protein, complex carbohydrates, fruits, vegetables, healthy fats, and taking your vitamins.
6. Get More Sleep
Lack of sleep has been linked to weight gain and possibly obesity. Some people mistake being hungry for being tired. People can crave sugar when they’re tired since sugar does temporarily provide short energy bursts. Although it’s hard to sleep when you’re stressed, make sure to get to bed at a reasonable hour and try relaxation techniques to help you get to sleep.
7. Don’t Eat While Working
If you’re working on something, especially something stressful, take a short break to eat before resuming your work. If you work and eat at the same time, you may miss your body’s satiety cues and overeat without thinking about it.
8. Drink Plenty of Water
It’s easy to forget to drink enough water when you’re stressed and thinking about other things. Food cravings can be mistaken for thirst, so make sure you stay well hydrated before reaching for sugary snacks. Drinking water is a calorie-free way to satisfy you and help squash those sugar cravings.