Do you crave sugar?  You are not alone. The average person in the United States consumes around 17 teaspoons a day. This is from the Department of Health. That is close to double the recommended daily amount for men and triple the amount for women. To put that in perspective, one 12 oz can of regular soda contains about 9 teaspoons of sugar.  All the cakes, pies and other sweets during the holidays makes it evern harder to resist. 

Often referred to as empty calories, sugar contains no nutritional value. But here’s the catch. When we consume sugar, it lights up the reward center of our brain, which makes us want more of it keep wanting more of it. So it is not easy to break the sugar habit.  Eating too much sugar can increase our risk o  weight gain, obesity, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, liver disease, and tooth decay, and more.  So how do we cut back? 

Whether your weakness is ice cream, chocolate, donuts, or all of the above, sugar is certainly tasty and addictive. Even if you aren’t eating candy bars and guzzling cans of soda, sugar is present in a ton of foods that we don’t even realize such as ketchup, sauces, and even bread. Sugar can almost become addictive. The more we eat, the more we want to eat. The first step is being aware of when you want sugar. Remember most cravings are not a result of actual hunger. They are often motivated by emotions or just a result of a habit, such as eating dessert after a meal.

 A few tips when you just have to have something sweet - drink a glass of water, eat a piece of fruit, get some physical activity, get proper sleep to reduce cravings and  avoid sugar triggers such as the break room where there are always sweets. One of the best ways to reduce your desire for suger is to eat that are rich in nutrients such as fiber, protein and  healthy fats. This will help keep you fuller longer and reduce spikes in your blood sugar levels, which can increase your cravings for sugar.

Here is a list of some of my favorite snacks and foods that are sure to help lower your daily sugar intake.

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    Elena Schweitzer/Getty Stock/ThinkStock
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    1

    Sweet Potatoes

    They are naturally sweet without sugar making them the perfect substitute when that sugar craving hits. They are rich in fiber and can even be used to make a healthier version of desserts such as brownies or pie.

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    HandmadePictures/Getty Stock/ThinkStock
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    2

    Celery & Peanut Butter

    Peanut butter is something many people already associate with sweets and desserts but it is actually very good for you when eaten in moderation. Using it as a dip with the celery gives you a combination of fiber, protein, and healthy fats that is sure to keep you full in between meals. There is even peanut butter made with no added sugar.

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    Taras Dovhych/Getty Stock/ThinkStock
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    3

    Almonds

    Like peanut butter, almonds are another food that is regularly paired with chocolate or dessert items and is full of healthy fats. Almonds could be the perfect addition to your morning oatmeal or just an alternative for whatever your normal afternoon snack may be.

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    anna1311/Getty Stock/ThinkStock
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    4

    Berries

    Instead of drinking sugary fruit-flavored juices, get the same great taste from the real thing with a fraction of the added sugar. Fruits are filled with natural sugars which are very different from sugars added to a product. Fruits like raspberries, blackberries, and strawberries are a perfect example of low-sugar fruits.

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    ashleigh kirkham/Getty Stock/ThinkStock
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    5

    Avocado

    Filled with healthy fats and fiber, avocado is the perfect addition to your lunch. Add some avocado to your salad or sandwich so instead of finishing and instantly craving something sweet you can stay full until it’s time for dinner.