Easter, chocolate and sugar go hand-in-hand. The problem with sugar though, is that the more you have, the more you want and this can escalate to a point where the craving for sweet food takes over.
The bad news is that blaming the Easter Bunny is not going to help you get back on to the healthy, low-GL eating path. The good news? We can!
Nipping sugar cravings in the bud takes time and good nutrition to really reset your body’s balance. Here’s a cheat-sheet to set you free from sugar cravings so you can focus on enjoying a healthy low-GL lifestyle.
- Start slow. Set realistic targets. If you overdid it just on the Easter weekend you might find it easier to reduce your sugar intake than someone who has never monitored their sugar intake at all. Start off by halving your sugar consumption each week until you eventually cut it out completely.
- XYZ of sugar. Make the switch from sugar to xylitol. Sugar itself is not bad – it just becomes so when you have too much. It is also refined and thus devoid of the nutrients, especially B vitamins, Vitamin C and Chromium, needed to turn it into energy. Xylose, or xylitol as it is commonly known, tastes sweet but doesn’t raise your blood sugar level as much as sugar does – nine teaspoons of xylitol has the same effect on your blood sugar level as one teaspoon of sugar or honey. Nowadays, you can buy it easily in supermarkets and health-food shops.
- Kill the craving. When the desire for sugar hits, it usually hits hard. Keep a clear head, have a few sips of water first, then a piece of fruit and some nuts or seeds (eating protein with carbohydrate keeps your blood sugar level even) to control the craving and give you some time to prepare something healthy and balanced to eat.
- Breakfast of champions. Always start your day with a healthy, low-GL breakfast like a delicious smoothie packed full of vitamins and minerals to give you a spring in your step or Patrick’s healthy home-made granola. A low-GL breakfast will not only leave you feeling satisfied and full but will also give you enough energy to get you through a busy morning.
- Look out for liquids. Both caffeine and alcohol can destabilise your blood sugar levels by giving you a temporary energy boost, only to leave you feeling lower and less energised than before. You’re more likely to reach for another instant pick-me-up in the form of something sugary and sweet to reset your blood-sugar levels but this will only make you crash harder and faster the next time. Avoid the cycle by staying away from caffeine and alcohol.
- Always check the labels. Sugar is hidden in many seemingly innocent and healthy foods. But it’s not always that obvious to spot because it is called a number of different names. To be safe and make sure you are managing your intake of sugar, read the labels on food carefully, looking out for glucose (syrup), dextrose, malt, honey, sucrose and fructose and of course, sugar.
- Push through. Don’t be alarmed if you feel lethargic, low and lacking motivation while giving up sugar. This is natural as your blood sugar levels re-adjust without the constant, daily hit. It takes about a week but these symptoms will gradually lesson so try to push through if you can.