It’s no secret that the effect of sugar on our bodies is similar to many drugs of addiction, provoking a cycle of cravings and relief.
So if you’ve made the decision to cut down your sugar intake, you might find your body responding with withdrawal symptoms. Symptoms vary, but you experience moodiness, headaches, anxiety or difficulty concentrating.
If the whole family is along for the sugar reduction ride, things could get heated, with tired grumpy kids part of the mix.
The good news is that there are a number of things you can do to ease the process for yourself and your family.
1. Get active. Sitting on the sofa eating biscuits makes you crave more of the same. But the natural high from a brisk walk or the joy from splashing with the kids at the pool will take your mind right off food for the moment.
2. Switch rewards. We often use sweet food as a reward. We reward ourselves for getting the kids to bed or surviving that boring meeting at work, and reward kids for being good or keeping quiet. But there are lots of other pleasurable things that could serve as a reward instead.
For yourself, unsweetened tea or coffee could be a small treat, or you could save up for a bigger one like a movie night or a massage at the end of a low sugar week or month.
For kids, time with parents rates high on their most wanted list. A trip to the park or the pool might be just as compelling as a chocolate bar.
3. Eat healthy sweet foods. Once you ditch the sugary drinks, confectionary and ice cream, you’ll find yourself appreciating the sweetness in a good old-fashioned apple, mango or a bowl of berries. As long as you eat the whole fruit, you’ll get the benefit of fibre and bonus nutrients. You’ll also feel full, so you won’t overindulge.
4. Maintain hydration. The power of water to beat cravings is amazing. In fact some sugar cravings are just water cravings in disguise.
5. Maintain motivation. Think about why you're doing this in the first place and remind yourself of all the benefits of cutting back on added sugar: perhaps it's to feel healthier, live longer, or get more out of life in every way.
For great recipe ideas and low sugar tips, check out our #sugarswap ideas and Facebook recipe videos.