cooking tips, healthy treats, recipes

Sweet Satisfaction: Managing Your Sugar Cravings

Hope everybody has had a super-sweet humpday because today we’re talking Sugar.

No, not you sassy best friend from the trashily amazing lesbian British teen drama Sugar Rush

More specifically…I wanted to chat about a few ways that you can deal with those pesky, insatiable, binge-inducing sugar cravings.

The reason I’m bringing this up is not because I want to be a total buzzkill right before cinnamon heart season (which I fully intend on participating in…with reckless abandon) but because of an interesting article published last week by group of researchers working at the University of California, San Francisco. Basically they argue that the addictive properties and heath risks associated with refined white sugar are so damaging that we should tax sugary beverages in the same way we tax alcoholic ones. I won’t go into the details of the article but The Guardian provides an excellent summary of here.

As someone who strives to find balance in my everyday diet and lifestyle I found this article to be a little problematic. I hold fast to the belief that deprivation only begets deprivation and can often become its own addiction. For this reason I have no desire to eliminate the sweet pleasures from my life, even when they take the form of say…the aforementioned mountain of cinnamon hearts. On the other hand, I hate the idea that I am in anyway reliant on sugar, that I may be craving its addictive properties instead of my body truly desiring it.

So as a bit of compromise these aren’t ways to eliminate sugar completely but rather to manage sugar cravings on a day to day basis by enjoying it in smaller, more satisfying doses.

Top 3 Ways to Get the Best of Your Sugar Cravings!

1) Learn to love licorice & fennel.

Okay so I know licorice isn’t for everyone, but anise and fennel have a natural sweetness that I can’t get enough of. When purchasing tea, always opt for something blended with licorice or fennel because this will ensure the tea has a sweet aftertaste. Vanilla or fruit flavoured ones tend to be dissapointingly sour or bland on their own.

I have also been all about raw fennel lately and have been making this “recipe” as a snack almost every single day.

Cinnamon Sugar Fennel Sticks

  • 1 tbsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp powdered sugar, stevia or sucanat (omit entirely for a completely sugar-free version)
  • 1 tsp coconut, almond or walnut oil (I often use the top runny layer of my nut butter for this…SO GOOD)
  • 1/3 bulb of raw fennel, sliced into sticks
  1. In a large mixing bowl, lightly toss fennel sticks in oil & use your fingers to make sure they are well coated
  2. Combine cinnamon & sugar if using.
  3. Sprinkle about half the cinnamon sugar over the fennel, toss & cover with the rest. Sometimes I pop these in the freezer for a few minutes before i eat them to add a little crunch

2) Combine the savoury and the sweet.

One of the best ways to avoid feeling deprived of sweets is to enjoy a little bit of sweetness with your savoury dishes. I find this almost always satisfies my sweet tooth and I rarely crave dessert afterwards.

Sweet & Savoury Curried Egg or Tofu Scramble

  1. Sautee up some onions, garlic and veggies in a little oil, then add your tofu or eggs just as you would with a normal scramble.
  2. To add the sweetness mix in curry powder, cooked squash or sweet potato and top with about a tbsp of chopped raisins and some toasted nuts. I also like to add a little cinnamon but that’s maybe not for everybody 😉

3) Enjoy naturally sweet, high-fibre fruits alongside healthy fats.

This is definitely my go-to recipe for caving into a sweet tooth the right way. I like to enjoy a midday sweet treat that includes a high-fibre fruit like bananas or dried figs alongside a healthy fat like dark chocolate (made with pure cocoa butter), coconut or nut butter. The fibre and fat will help to keep your hunger at bay and slow down the absorption of sugar into your system. Which means you can enjoy all that sweetness without the crashes or cravings.

Banana Almond Bites
Carob, Coconut or Cocoa-Covered


1) Slice 1/2 banana into 3 large chunks. Then slice these chunks in half again.
2) Take 1 large scoop of almond butter and spread it evenly over three of the banana pieces.
3) Sandwich the nutbutter between another piece of banana.
4) Roll in carob powder, coco or shredded coconut.

Serve as is or on top of crunchy crackers.

Do you ever struggle with sugar cravings?
What tips do you have for striking a balance ?

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  • Reply Emily February 9, 2012 at 12:24 am

    It’s so ironic that you posted this because it’s something I’ve been thinking about a lot lately. I rarely ever consume white sugar; however, I have found myself relying heavily on artificial sweeteners (mainly Stevia). I hate that I’ve become reliant on something that’s processed and, frankly, I’ve found myself craving it more and more after using it.
    So, I’m working on eliminating all artificial sugars from my diet and relying only on natural sweeteners; fruit, dates, honey, maple syrup, etc. It’s definitely a challenge for me but I know it will be worth it!
    Your tips are so helpful! The banana/almond butter “sandwiches” sound amazing.

  • Reply Nadiya@ Milk and Honey February 9, 2012 at 7:16 pm

    Oh sugar cravings! I have never tried fennel but it sounds really interesting 😛 Whenever I get sugar cravings I usually attack those baby carrots or make smoothies (almond milk+ lots of berries) and ofcourse chocolate… (but dark chocolate :P) Also, I’ve heard that adding cinnamon somehow makes food sweeter 🙂

  • Reply Friday Five! | .the rebel grrl kitchen. February 10, 2012 at 9:08 am

    […] medical issues things  to sugar, like diabetes and heart disease. The Healthy Hipster shared some thoughts on this (along with this link to an article about it in The Guardian), and Keeping It Real Food […]

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