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How to beat your sugar cravings for good

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Even the most strong-willed among us gets junk food cravings from time to time, but this only becomes a problem if it starts to interfere with weight loss goals. The good news is there are a few small adjustments you can make which will help you take control of your cravings, lose weight and still feel satisfied.

Why do you crave sugar?

Many scientists believe that we evolved a sweet tooth so our bodies naturally crave the molecules (such as sugar) that are vital to life. Research has shown that sugar can improve your mood as it releases serotonin, also known as the 'happy hormone', into your blood stream. It's easy to see why sugary foods are also known as comfort food. To combat this sugar-rush your body releases insulin to try and bring blood sugar levels to normal ranges. Unfortunately, this can cause a sugar crash and leave you craving even more sugar or simple carbohydrate foods.

How to combat sugar cravings

Have smaller meals, more regularly: for example, three small meals with regular snacks in between, or five or six small meals each day can help to balance the blood sugar levels.

Eat foods containing unrefined sugars: limit cakes and biscuits in favour of lean cuts of meat, protein snacks such as unsalted nuts and whole grains and foods. This will help minimise your intake of added sugars and refined sugars, and keep you fuller for longer.

Hydrate with water: water hydrates the body and helps your body function correctly. The occasional tea or coffee is ok but as they contain caffeine they may act as a diuretic and expel water from the body leading to dehydration. Also, limit alcohol as they're high in calories, can act as a diuretic and often contain lots of sugar to make them sweeter.

Don't skip meals: people who skip meals are more likely to snack and make less healthy decisions when they do so. They're also more likely to overeat at their next meal to make up for what they've missed.

Go for a walk: remove yourself from the situation by heading out for a walk. Not only will the change of scenery soon help you forget what you were craving, walking for 30 minutes can burn anywhere between 120 and 200 calories.

Streeeeeetch!: stretching can re-energise, improve blood flow and relieve stress, so try these easy stretches at home.

  • Link your fingers together above your head with palms facing the ceiling. Push upwards and feel the stretch in your arms, ribcage and spine.
  • Then, lie on your side and support your head with your arm. Use your other hand to pull your foot towards your glutes and feel the stretch in your quads. Swap sides and repeat.
  • Then, roll onto your back, lift a leg and hold it with both hands behind the knee, and draw circles with your foot and feel the stretch in your hamstring. Swap legs and repeat.

Have a healthy snack with you: try these simple and healthy snack ideas and recipes recommended by Holland and Barrett Nutritionist, Hannah Moffitt.

  • Mixed nuts and seeds: loaded with heart healthy fats and protein, nuts make a great snack to munch on. Just be mindful of watching your portions as their high fat content makes them high in calories, and opt for unsalted or unflavoured ones. A golf ball size portion (30g) is recommended as the daily allowance.
  • Rice cakes with smoked salmon or peanut butter: swap crisps with a crunchy rice cake and pair it with a protein source to help you feel full for longer.
  • Homemade raw bars: mix ingredients such as dates, dried fruits and nuts mixed together using a food processor to create protein filled bars which have some natural sugars included to help with post training recovery and a healthy snack alternative.
  • Vegetable and salad sticks: wash and prepare your favourite fresh vegetables into small bite size sticks, and keep them in a container box for a quick and easy way to increase the amount of vegetables in your diet. Carrot, cucumber and celery sticks are our favourites!
  • Simple, soft and chewy granola bars recipes from Holland and Barrett: with just 5 or 6 ingredients you can make these healthy bars at home. 
  • Overnight oat pots: these might just save your mornings! Put oats at the bottom of a jar or container, layer with greek yoghurt on top. Add fruit, seeds or nuts to the top and leave in the fridge overnight for the oats to absorb the moisture from the yoghurt.

 

PUREGYM X HOLLAND AND BARRETT GIVEAWAY

Enter our giveaway for a chance to win a 6-month FREE gym membership at PureGym, plus loads of healthy and delicious treats from Holland and Barrett to help keep your sugar cravings at bay all worth £150!*

All you have to do is share the post on the H&B and PureGym giveaway and comment with your top tips on how you beat sugar cravings below it. Entries close Monday 14th August 2017 so be quick and make sure you follow us on Facebook and Twitter to watch out for the winner announcement on the 15th August! G'luck!

*T&Cs apply.

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