Conquer your sweet tooth!

On average, Americans consume about 130 pounds of the sweet stuff each year.  Sugar is EVERYWHERE. Check any label at the grocery store and you'll find it in everything from ketchup to lunch meat. Sugar releases the feel good chemical dopamine into the brain, so it's no wonder in our high stress world that so many reach for sweet solace.  Did you know that research has likened the addiction to sugar to that of cocaine? I'm not saying quit sugar all together, but there is a way to free yourself from the "sugar trap."

Protein deficiency has been linked to increased sugar cravings.  Include lean quality proteins into meals and snacks to feel satiated and regulate blood sugar levels.  Next time you feel like breaking into a candy bar try reaching for a high protein snack such as low-fat cheese or hummus.

Choose foods that contain natural sugar such as fresh or dried fruit. A few dates or a handful of raisins can curb a sweet craving with far fewer calories while providing energy, and fiber.

For cooking and baking, natural sweeteners like honey, maple syrup, or coconut sugar give you that sweetness without the heavy glycemic load.  For diabetics, stevia or xylitol are great alternatives without the chemicals.

Out of sight out of mind. Do a sweep of your pantry and fridge and get rid of the sweets that are drawing you in.  You're more likely to eat an apple if the candy bowl isn't right next to it.

Wait 10-15 minutes after a craving hits and see if you still feel the sugar monster knocking.  More often than not you'll find the desire will pass.  If not, choose a healthier alternative such as a square of dark chocolate.

~Adriane Rosenberg