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Tame Your Sweet Tooth

Halloween is right around the corner—and for many of us it marks the kick-off to candy season.

The entire holiday season is rife with sweets. We start with Halloween candy and it can be a slippery slope toward Christmas cookies, Valentines chocolates, and chocolate Easter bunnies. With so many sugary opportunities, where—and how—do you draw the line? It helps to have a strategy.

The brain is hardwired to crave sweets, but you can have too much of a good thing. With some new habits and a little discipline, you can keep your sugar cravings at bay and learn to enjoy a little treat without overdoing it.

Eat regular meals: Don’t skip meals. Instead, eat at regular intervals. This will help keep your blood sugar levels stable throughout the day, thereby keeping the cravings at bay. Choose healthy, well-balanced meals with a mix of protein, carbohydrates, fiber, and fat to keep your blood sugar from plummeting.

Start with a healthy breakfast: Avoid starting the day with sugar, as sugar makes you crave more sugar. Instead, choose a breakfast high in protein and fiber to set yourself up for a day of success.

Find the right balance of carbohydrates: Carbohydrates have gotten a bad rap, but not all carbohydrates are bad. Your body needs good carbohydrates like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and whole foods—but you can leave the processed junk out of the mix. When you don’t fuel your body with enough good carbohydrates, the sugar cravings will kick in.

Compromise: If you absolutely must satisfy that sugar craving, strike a compromise with yourself—combine it with something else. If you eat that cookie or candy by itself, it will wreak havoc on your blood sugar. Instead, add a handful of nuts or some crunchy carrot sticks. Craving chocolate? Dip a banana in that chocolate to offset the junk factor.

Move: Sometimes the best way to kick a sugar craving is to take a brisk walk. Get up and get moving. You may find that the distraction of a walk eliminates the craving altogether.

Hydrate: We often mistake thirst for hunger. If you find yourself at the mercy of strong sugar cravings, the first step is to drink a glass of water. Sometimes all we need to do is hydrate.

Allow: Allow yourself the pleasure of an occasional treat. The forbidden is always more alluring, so if you know that you can have a small sweet treat each day, then sugar may lose its powerful grip. Just remember to enjoy it!