13 Foods For Energy and Reducing Sugar Cravings

Weaning myself of sugar after I realized how addicted I was initially seemed like a MASSIVE challenge.

However, I began studying foods and nutrients to understand the causes behind my addiction to sugar…including learning how processed, sugary foods actually activate our brains in the same way as drugs like cocaine and heroin.

I realized that one way to conquer sugar cravings and overcome sugar addiction was to start replacing my foods with whole versions and eliminating the processed stuff. I realized that this also helped me psychologically, because I felt like I was giving myself “the best” food I could instead of depriving myself by going on some new diet and forcing rules upon myself.

Here’s my list of 13 favorite foods I use for energy and reducing sugar cravings:

First, if you’re just transitioning from processed foods (including sugary and sugar-free foods and drinks), it can be easier to switch to fruits for quick energy + fiber (say if you have an energy dip in the afternoon, or before exercising).

1 Oranges: High in vitamin C, potassium and folate, this citrus fruit rations out energy steadily over time instead of giving you a quick sugar rush. Peel and eat an orange whole to benefit from the pectin and fiber in the fruit’s membranes.

2 Bananas: Because they are composed mostly of sugars (glucose, fructose and sucrose) and fiber, bananas are a foolproof energy food. Top them with almond butter, cashew butter or other nut butter with no added sugar (raw butters are best if you can find them) for a well-rounded snack to top you off and keep you going longer, since bananas have a lot of sugar and will spike your blood sugar.

3 Apples: Not only will an apple a day keep the doctor away, it’ll also give you a powerful jolt of energy. High in fiber, apples take longer to digest, so they’ll give you a more prolonged lift than many other fruit picks.

4 Berries: High in fiber and chocked with antioxidants, most berries are lower in sugar than other fruits (blueberries, blackberries, strawberries, etc.) and can give you a boost without spiking your blood sugar.   Next, for foods that can help you maintain energy instead of giving you quick energy…try eating more plants.

5 Spinach: An excellent source of iron, a key component of energy production in the body. Eat a spinach salad for lunch and you probably won’t experience that afternoon energy slump.

6 Beans: Both a protein and a complex carb, they can be a great addition to your diet whether you’re a carnivore or vegetarian. Toss a cup into of a spinach salad or enjoy a bean burrito.

7 Almonds or Brazil Nuts: Packed with protein, manganese, copper and riboflavin and other trace minerals, you can toss a handful in a salad to give it punch. (If I eat them straight from the bag, I can easily go overboard if I’m not conscious…but as a garnish, they can really flavor other dishes.) Copper and manganese play an essential role in keeping energy flowing throughout the body by neutralizing toxins within cells. Riboflavin aids oxygen-based energy production.

For longer, sustained energy and satiation, try proteins.

8 Salmon: Salmon has been receiving a lot of hype lately for its high content of omega-3 fatty acids, which can lower cholesterol and reduce your risk of heart disease. But this pink fish also contains protein and vitamin B6, niacin and riboflavin—all of which help convert the food you eat into energy. Top a spinach salad with salmon, or serve it with a side of brown rice and veggies for a power-packed lunch or dinner.

9 Eggs: Containing the highest complete form of protein in any food (a whopping 97% of it can be absorbed by your body!), eggs provide 30% of your daily value of protein. All of the essential amino acids that your body uses to rebuild muscle can also be found in eggs. Whether you eat them boiled, scrambled, baked, fried or as an omelet, don’t overlook the power of the incredible egg.

10 Steak: Go for leaner cuts if you’re buying commercial brands to get the least amount of added chemicals. If you’re buying local, go for fattier cuts to get the most satiating, energy-sustaining meals.   And, as you switch off of processed and added sugars to fruit, and then if you want sustained energy without turning to sugar, try healthy fats.

If you have a tendency to go overboard when it comes to foods with sugar including fruits (as I did), try replacing your sugary foods with healthy fats to reduce cravings and keep your blood sugar at an even pace.

By adding healthy fats into my diet, I realized I no longer craved my sweet treats at the end of the day.

11 Olive Oil: This can dress a salad or be used to lightly sauté foods. The added, healthy fat keeps you fuller longer and gives you a boost of MUFAs, a type of healthy fat that can protect against heart disease and lower your LDL (“bad”) cholesterol while increasing your HDL (“good”) cholesterol levels.

12 Avocados: These “fruits” are awesome for adding flavor, texture and satiation to a meal. Slice them and eat with scrambled eggs, tossed in a salad, alongside salmon or steak or eaten on their own. They are a “nutrient booster” because they allow the body to absorb more nutrients. They have nearly 20 vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients per 1-oz. serving.

13 Coconut Oil: I live off this stuff since I discovered it helped me curb all sugar cravings when I started eating more coconut oil and reducing sweet foods. Coconut oil has a variety of uses, for cooking, for natural beauty, for around the home.

Conventional thought used to consider fats like coconut oil to be unhealthy and contribute to heart disease. We now know that this isn’t true. In fact, coconut oil is actually a heart-healthy food that can keep your body running smoother in a few different ways. Studies have shown that intakes of coconut oil can help our bodies gain resistance to both viruses and bacteria that can cause illness.

It also can help to fight off yeast, fungus and candida. Coconut oil can also positively affect our hormones for thyroid and blood-sugar control. People who take coconut oil also tend to have improvements in how they handle blood sugar since coconut can help improve insulin use within the body…which has been my personal experience. Coconut oil can boost thyroid function helping to increase metabolism, energy and endurance. It increases digestion and helps to absorb fat-soluble vitamins.

The transition from processed to whole foods is a giant leap in the direction of overcoming binge eating and sugar cravings, because your body is now being authentically nourished. Combine that with working with your mind to create new habits and you’ll find a revolution in the way you relate to food.

 

 

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