Fight Sugar Cravings This Valentine's Day

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The sweetest holiday is coming up next week but let don’t let it hinder all the hard work you did the gym! Here are 5 tips to help you kill sugar cravings just in time for Valentine’s Day.

Pack on the Protein

Start each day with lean protein. According to Anne Alexander, author of The Sugar Smart Diet, research shows that if you eat a protein-rich breakfast by 10AM it is more difficult for sugar cravings to take hold later. Choose lean proteins like Greek yogurt, peanut butter, eggs and low-fat cheese that produce less of the hunger-stimulating hormone ghrelin and more PPY, the hormone that signals fullness.

Don’t Go Hungry

Missing meals may feel like you’re cutting calories, but what it really does is fire up sugar cravings! Skipping meals can lower blood sugar levels causing you to over eat the rest of the day and make you more likely to reach for a sweet boost. Stay steady by eating five times a day—three meals and two snacks with nourishing whole foods like lean meats, nuts and veggies. You’ll feel full, balance your blood sugar and curb cravings!

Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate

Dehydration can spike sugar and junk food cravings and may be linked to fatigue, anxiety, poor concentration and that horrible mid-day slump that has you sleep walking to the vending machine! The Institute of Medicine recommends 91 oz. for women and 125 oz. for men, but it doesn’t all have to come from the tap—at least 20% can be from food so snacking on fruits and veggies totally count toward your water intake.

Get Sweet on Veggies

Give your taste buds some sugary satisfaction by adding sweet vegetables to your diet. Roasted sweet potatoes, beets and carrots are all healthy options that can feel a little indulgent. Check out the latest menu at Ulicious to see how they are incorporating a touch of sweetness to their smoothies and juices so you can get a small fix without the heart-shaped box.

Treat Yourself

You are working hard to meet your fitness and nutrition goals, so remember to show yourself some love with a non-food reward. Choose experiences that give you the same pleasure you feel from your favorite dessert and make sure they last about 15-20 minutes—this will get you through that sugar episode. Aim for activities you can start instantly when a craving strikes—rock out to your favorite songs, call a friend, give yourself a mani/pedi, research your dream trip or play with your pet.

And when you meet a goal, celebrate it! Plan a night out, get a massage, take that vacation or just simply relax.