Controlling Your Sweet Tooth: 5 Tips
We all have at least one sweet tooth; many people have a whole mouth full! While we can be disciplined when on a diet, it's that darn sweet tooth that can trip us up. Controlling your urges is an important part of maintaining a diet, and this same control must be applied to sweets. But there are ways we can appease that sweet tooth by choosing our sweets wisely.
Tip 1: Cut Out the Excess Sugar
The first way to control your sweet tooth and allow the occasional indulgence is to cut out the extra sugar you consume from other sources. Most of us have a weak spot for something sweet, often in liquid form such as flavored coffees, sweetened iced tea and soda. Since sugar makes us crave more sugar, it's important to limit sugar intake where we can. Instead of having that diet soda, (which still has as many calories) skip it and allow yourself a dessert after dinner. Check other products you regularly consume for hidden sugar. Many processed foods contain sugar, even those that aren't sweet. Check the ketchup bottle, your cereal, white bread, lunch meats, canned vegetables and fast food, all which often contain extra sugar. Since extra sugar means extra calories, these foods probably aren't good choices. Think of these items as empty calories: you have to weight the benefits of the item (i.e. protein from lunch meats) to the harmful effects of the extra sugar.
Tip 2: Combine Sugar with Other Nutrients
Since we've acknowledged that we should give into our sugar cravings in a moderate fashion, the best way to indulge is to make the treat as healthy as possible. Consider the sweets you routinely crave. If you love candy, grab a bag of bite sized pieces rather than a full sized bar. This way, you can have one, or even two, and still not consume nearly as much as is in a full sized bar. If you crave ice cream, choose frozen or regular yogurt and top it with fresh fruits and nuts. If you have a weakness for baked goods, try making them yourself. This way you can control what goes into the dessert and how much sugar it has. Try making a cobbler using whole wheat flour, oatmeal, nuts, flaxseed or other healthy whole grains. Omit the sugar typically used in the cobbler part - you don't need it. For the fruit filling, add only enough sugar to make it sweet; you usually won't need the full amount in the recipe. Try using natural sugars like maple syrup or honey for a different flavor, but remember, you won't need nearly as much.
Tip 3: Set a Date
Choose the time of day you most crave a sweet, and save the treat for that occasion. Many people typically enjoy dessert after dinner, but others like a little treat during the work day. Whatever it is, pick the time of day and stick to it. This way you can look forward to your indulgence if the craving hits earlier.
Tip 4: Moderation in all Things
Moderation may be the most important aspect of any diet. Remember, it's okay to give in to your cravings once in a while. Completely abstaining may only lead you to over-indulgence. Acknowledge the craving and allow yourself to give in, moderately; the goal is not to eat the entire bag of candy, but only one or two pieces.
Tip 5: Savor your Sweets
In any diet, taking the time to appreciate the food you eat will allow your brain to enjoy it more and feel satiated when finished. The same applies to sweets. Don't gobble down your treat in a few minutes; it'll leave you wanting more. Instead, take each bite slowly and really taste what you're eating. Remember, you can indulge periodically if you do so with moderation. Be smart about your sweets, but allow that sweet tooth its satisfaction.
Sources: http://www.webmd.com/diet/guide/indulging-your-sweet-tooth http://www.medicinenet.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=56445