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Tired of feeling out of control when it comes to food cravings? Gain extra weight? Looking to reduce the amount of sugary, fatty or processed foods in your diet? If so, it's time to pay more attention to your blood sugar!

Welcome to this week's blog post. With the added stress of the pandemic, we are all being pushed to our max. And when fatigue and overwhelm settle in at the end of the day, our bodies are oftentimes making the call as to which foods we’re turning to.

If you’re anything like me, my metabolism slowed down in my 40s, but my hectic schedule did not.

Good news is that you do not need more willpower to conquer food cravings, so you can stop beating yourself up for giving into them. You simply need to make a few simple changes to your diet.

Top-10 Tips to Keep Your Blood Sugar (and Waistline) in Check!

1. Eliminate or Reduce Added Sugars: sugar is addictive and one of the worst things you can put into your body. It has little to no nutritional value and spikes your blood sugar which will make your cravings soar. The more sugar you eat, the more you’ll want it, and the less leptin your brain will produce, which is the hormone that triggers us to feeling full. Aim to limit sugar consumption to less than six teaspoons of added sugar each day, but remember that it's always okay to eat natural sugars that are found in fruits and vegetables!

2. Reduce Flour Consumption: this includes all kinds of flour; brown flour, rice flour, gluten free flour – you name it. Flour affects your blood sugar, similar to added sugars, and breaks down into glucose which again leads to food cravings. No need to completely eliminate flour, as simply reducing it will help tremendously at keeping your blood sugars in check. I eat half a bagel in the morning and a complex carb in the afternoon, but generally avoid anything with flour in the evenings as the extra carbs will be stored as fat.

3. Avoid artificial sweeteners: the impact of artificial sweeteners on insulin is the same as added sugar, and they also cause our brain’s dopamine levels to spike, which leads to more cravings. Avoid artificial sweeteners at all costs and opt for unsweetened or naturally sweetened products whenever possible.

4. Strictly limit dried fruit, fruit juice or smoothies: stick to whole fruits as fiber is necessary to keep our blood sugars in check. The sugar content in dried or blended fruit is much more concentrated than whole fruit and the fiber is broken down, which again affects our blood sugars and therefore increases food cravings. Yes, this means that smoothies are generally off the safe list. But that doesn’t mean you can’t have some fresh fruit with some Greek yogurt. Or, if you’re really craving a smoothie, simply add some nuts or flaxseed to increase the fiber content.

5. Eat at Regular Intervals Throughout the Day: skipping meals wreaks havoc on your body and lowers our blood sugar which makes us feel irritable, fatigued and more likely to crave high-fat and high-sugar foods as our bodies go into survival mode. Pay attention to which times during the day you are most hungry and start planning regular mealtimes accordingly. Doing so will note only help with meal planning, but will go a long way in stopping the grazing habit as your body will feel satisfied longer from a full meal.

6. Moderate Alcohol Consumption (and keep it low carb!): beer, cider and sweet wines are all high in sugar and calories and increase our bodies insulin production and blood sugar levels. For women when it comes to alcohol and blood sugar, it is advised to have no more than one drink per day and for men, it’s two drinks per day. The amount of carbs and sugar varies in every alcohol, so it’s important to pay attention to labels and serving sizes when considering safe alcohol and blood sugar practices. My personal go-to is Jacob’s Creek Shiraz-Cabernet as it has less than 4 grams of sugar per glass.

7. Avoid Snacking: unless you need a snack, don’t eat one. Oftentimes snacking can lead to simply grazing all day and never feeling satisfied as we’re not allowing ourselves to eat a full meal, and this constant hungry sensation cause us to crave sugary or fatty foods. Stick to regular mealtimes, take your time to enjoy your meal, and if you need a snack, eat a whole food snack such as nuts, fruit or veggies.

8. Eat More Protein: adding more lean protein to your diet helps reduce food cravings by keeping you feel full longer and lowers your appetite by reducing a hunger inducing hormone called ghrelin. Aim to included at least 20-30 grams of protein per meal and you’ll find your cravings will diminish significantly.

9. Drink More Water: we all know we should be doing this, but are we really? Drinking water before meals helps to reduce our appetite, which helps reduce food cravings, and often when we think we are hungry, we are simply thirsty. Our bodies need about 12-16 cups of water per day, and there are so many creative ways to ensure we’re getting enough. Treat yourself to a favourite water bottle, store your water in the fridge, add some citrus – find whatever works for you and go with it!

10. Eat a Whole Foods Diet: eating a whole foods diet will naturally reduce food cravings as our bodies function most optimally and are nutritionally balanced when we consume fresh fruits and vegetables instead of processed or packaged foods. Keep a fridge filled with whole foods and stick to the 80/20 rule of ensuring 80% of your diet come from plant-based and whole foods.

These are just a few of the tips that can work to cut down on food cravings, but there are so many more. It may feel overwhelming to follow all of these tips at once, so I encourage you to pick one and try it out starting this weekend. Stick with it for a few days and let me know how you feel!

#healthyliving #managingbloodsugar #naturalweightloss #thrive4life

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