Friday, April 19, 2013

Frugal Friday: How to Curb a Sweet Tooth

For today's Frugal Friday post, I'd like to share with you a few secrets I've learned about how to curb a sweet tooth and fight those sugar cravings. How does that relate to Frugal Friday? Well if you learn how to control the sweet tooth, you'll not only eat healthier, but save money on snacks and treats that are unnecessary expenses to the waistline and to the pocketbook.

Confession time. I've got a sweet tooth like no other - actually I probably have a whole mouthful of them. I don't necessarily think that processed sugar needs to be cut out in a healthy diet completely, but it definitely needs to be controlled. That's where my new year's resolution comes in. This year I decided that in order for me to help control my sweet tooth I would only eat sugar once a week (on Sundays) and avoid it the rest of the time. Now some people can say to themselves, I'll only one treat per day or other such resolution. Not me. That's actually harder for me than cutting it out completely. But I didn't want to go totally to the extreme so I'm sticking with one day per week.

Now you might be wondering "Is is really any progress if you go without all week and then binge on Sunday?" My response to that is well you see, I chose my day carefully. Sunday to me is a Holy Day, so I'm not really in the mindset to binge on anything really. We go to church for three hours every Sunday (where yes...I am away from treats...) and I fast once a month on Sundays (where I don't eat anything for two meals, let alone treats). And actually it surprised me that when Sundays roll around often I don't really even crave treats. Since I've avoided them the rest of the week I sometimes forget on Sunday that I can actually have them. We usually will make a dessert in the evenings - a whole grain, healthier dessert and it's so enjoyable to eat because I haven't had treats all week. So all in all, it's working really good and I've felt so much better.

Of course there are days that I have and will make exceptions: birthdays and holidays of course. And sometimes vacations and other special events. But I have to be careful not to make exceptions the rule. If I wanted to, I could turn every day into an exception because there's always something to celebrate; every day is a blessing. But I'm going to keep the balance and try to only have 1 or 2 exceptions a month, if any.

The hard part for me in trying to cut out sugar was the beginning when the cravings are SO strong. Your body is, let's face it, addicted to sugar. And after years of giving into those cravings and suddenly not, your body is going to be unhappy for a little while. Here's some tried and true tips that help me when I get a sugar craving:

  1. Eat an apple or another piece of fruit right after a meal
  2. Snack on plain, unsalted raw or roasted nuts
  3. Eat some dried fruit - dried pears are my favorite "sweet" but healthy snack
  4. Keep busy, your mind will eventually forget.
  5. Watch out for the afternoon - that's when mine hits the worst - around 2 or 3 O'Clock.
  6. Eat meals regularly and don't try to starve yourself or diet by cutting out meals. This will only lower your blood sugar and make the sugar cravings worse.
  7. Give yourself a reward - pay a $1 for every day you go without sugar. Save up for something you want (not a treat). 
  8. Remove the source; Don't buy it!
  9. Manage stress healthily - It's easy to turn to sugar or food to help manage it, but there are healthier ways. My stress management tools include exercise, reading or being out in nature. 
  10. Eat some veggies
  11. Drink water
  12. Brush your teeth - if I get a sugar craving right after a meal, brushing my teeth will often solve it because I don't like to eat right after I've brushed.
  13. Exercise regularly - it will help you feel good.
  14. Watch out for the emotional types of eating - when you're tired, upset, at certain times of the month, etc...
  15. Cook really yummy meals - a really delicious meal will usually satisfy enough that you don't need a treat.
Remember that over time the cravings go away on their own as your body adjusts. I've been on a no sugar six-days a week diet since January and I don't really think about treats at all now. I rarely have to use these little tricks anymore because most of the cravings have subsided. So don't give up! Just stick with it and be consistent and your body will adjust.

As I've tried it cut out sugar I've been amazed at how much sugar our society consumes on a regular basis. There are treats given out for everything, everywhere you go. Treats are not really a "treat" anymore, they've become a way of life. For me, creating a healthy family means cutting back on sugar and reinstating a treat as a "treat"; something to be enjoyed just once and a while.

What about you? What do you think? Do you have any tips for us on how to curb a sweet tooth? I'd love to hear them. Happy Frugal Friday - hope you have a great day.

This week I'll be linking to some of these link parties.


Barbara Bakes said...

Sugar is my weakness too. I don't know how you've given it up for so long. Way to go!

Barb @ A Life in Balance said...

I found eating more vegetables and protein helped me crave fewer sweets. Thanks for sharing your tips at Fabulously Frugal Thursday.

Kathy A Delightsome Life said...

These are great tips - I too have a sweet tooth and choose to eat really good sweets like dark chocolate to satisfy - I'd love to see if I could go without sweets for a while...then I just shared that I'll be making a cake Sunday....maybe down to one day a week will do! I do appreciate you sharing with Home and Garden Thursday,

momstheword said...

These are great ideas! I agree that it's very effective to not even buy it and bring it into the house.

My weakness is chocolate, my husband's weakness is potato chips. Fortunately potato chips don't tempt me, lol!

Thanks so much for linking up to the "Making Your Home Sing Monday" linky party today! :)

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