What do you eat when craving sugar?
May 12, 2015 6:58 AM   Subscribe

What are your go to snacks and beverages when craving sugar? I'm trying to give up processed foods again and the sugar detox last time was killer. I'd like to find a variety of ideas to increase my chances of success.

I've got an unhealthy relationship with both Redbull and Pepsi. I've bought a soda stream and am switching over to carbonated water + homemade syrups. When I try to cut out soda, it is inevitably followed at some point or another by relentless cravings and before you know it I'm back off the wagon again. So I need to be 100% soda free to stay that way. It is the combination of sweet taste and the effects of caffeine that keep me coming back to it.

I don't necessarily need low calorie ideas, though those are nice. I'm also trying to discontinue corn consumption, as I apparently have a 'sensitivity' to it, according to the doctor. However, I'm willing to be flexible on this point. I like to cook, and am able to can and freeze food.

Bonus points for things I can keep in a cupboard at work, or in my purse. I've always got a water bottle with me, and drink easily four liters a day, so increasing water intake probably isn't necessary. Thanks for your suggestions! I can't wait to try them.
posted by gilsonal to Food & Drink (31 answers total) 37 users marked this as a favorite
Maybe it would be easier to give up the sugar if you didn't have to go cold turkey on the caffeine at the same time. Do you like coffee or tea?
posted by Blue Jello Elf at 7:04 AM on May 12, 2015 [1 favorite]

Pickles. The sour taste scrambles the sugar craving. I like cornichons for this purpose.

Carrots and snap peas are much sweeter than you think. After a few days off sugar, you'll really appreciate their flavor.
posted by janey47 at 7:12 AM on May 12, 2015 [7 favorites]

Go with a vanilla or fruit flavored tea. Contains caffeine, tastes like delicious cake, no sugar.
posted by chaiminda at 7:21 AM on May 12, 2015 [1 favorite]

I eat predominantly Low Carb High Fat, and my sugar cravings are about nil.
Soda and Diet Soda the devil when it comes to cravings, both sugar and carbs. Avoid entirely.
I stick with water, tea and coffee, full stop.
I lost 10 pounds in 30 days and wrote a book about my journey.
Did I mention that sodas are THE DEVIL? :)

If you're tracking your macros, hit 70% fat, 25% protein and 5% carbs for a day or three and see how your cravings are after that.
You can learn more at r/Keto on Reddit.
posted by Major Matt Mason Dixon at 7:30 AM on May 12, 2015 [4 favorites]

Is fruit OK? Berries and Greek yogurt feels like a rich dessert to me. A bit of dark chocolate can hit that sweet spot while keeping you from over indulging.

For drinks, hot tea and coffee have the added benefit of filling me up a bit. If you like carbonation, sparkling water with dashes of bitters and/or chopped cucumbers/strawberries etc add a bit of flavor but give you that mouth feel.

Doing Keto (as mentioned above) cuts out all carbs (fruit is even restricted somewhat). I did it for a while (overall it worked well for me, but can't easily do it atm) and found sugar cravings overall greatly reduced, and even now if I crave pop, a sip or two is all I really want.
posted by ghost phoneme at 7:46 AM on May 12, 2015 [2 favorites]

Raw almonds have a good combination of fat and just-sweet-enough to calm most cravings. They're super portable and hard to overeat.

Dates are what I eat when my cravings are like "and none of this fruit bullshit." They're as dessertlike as unprocessed foods get.
posted by Metroid Baby at 7:50 AM on May 12, 2015 [2 favorites]

God sugar is soooo addictive. I don't even like sugar or eat it on a regular basis, but if I have a chocolate cookie this afternoon, tonight or tomorrow I will want another. If I were trying to detox I would drink lots of veggie juice, eat melons, eat frozen yogurt... I don't know how hardcore your detox is.
posted by catspajammies at 7:51 AM on May 12, 2015

make sparkling water with your soda stream and put a small amount of vanilla extract in it. Small like a capful for the bottle so you don't get an alcohol flavor, but get a nice vanilla (sweet) scent.

Bar nuts that involve butter and salt in the recipe are good for cravings. Google for recipes adn maybe invent some of your own with some sweet associated things like butter, salt, rosemary, and lavender?

Frozen peas are good to much on in hot weather. Tea infused with chocolate (I have some kind of chocolate yerba mate right no, I've also seen chocolate pu erh).
posted by WeekendJen at 7:55 AM on May 12, 2015

I often eat a couple dates instead of scrounging in the kitchen for cookies/ice cream/whatever.

Both Celestial Seasonings Bengal Spice and Good Earth Spicy & Sweet teas are quite sweet without any sugar. They are good both hot or iced.
posted by belladonna at 7:58 AM on May 12, 2015 [4 favorites]

Raw almond butter!
posted by jgirl at 8:12 AM on May 12, 2015 [2 favorites]

posted by DarlingBri at 8:33 AM on May 12, 2015 [1 favorite]

Fat. Fat fat fat fat until you're sick of it. Don't cut calories at the same time; you will drive yourself insane. Fat for satiety, and then the strongest flavors and textures you can find. Enormous protein-rich salads with lots of different textures in them. Spicy, spicy food. Pickles. Crispy bacon. And I would just avoid grains/starchy veg/fruit entirely until you come out the other end; for me, reduction rather than elimination only prolongs the misery and cravings.

I found it helpful to avoid artificially sweet things for about a week, just to power through the craving for a little while and reset my taste buds a little, but when I'm craving something sweet that isn't sugary, I like to have a spoonful of the lowest-carb peanut butter I can find, or those flavor-dusted almonds, or if it's chocolate-specific, some sugar free hot cocoa.

Do you drink tea/coffee? Because I taught myself to like black coffee and that is a lifesaver.
posted by bowtiesarecool at 8:36 AM on May 12, 2015 [4 favorites]

black coffee with unsweetened vanilla almond milk has been a lifesaver as we move to a diabetic friendly diet in my home.
posted by nadawi at 8:56 AM on May 12, 2015 [1 favorite]

If I stop eating sweets entirely, the cravings go away pretty quickly (except during PMS when I eat chocolate anyway). Have you tried going cold turkey with no sweets at all?
posted by metasarah at 9:08 AM on May 12, 2015

Frozen grapes, all the way. Awesome in summer. Just pop a bag in the freezer and take out a handful as needed (the sugar content keeps them from freezing rock solid--they end up with a nice yield). Ditto sliced strawberries.
posted by late afternoon dreaming hotel at 9:33 AM on May 12, 2015 [4 favorites]

-Xylitol in your coffee -- tastes like sugar, but it's low glycemic load. Don't overdo it, some people have digestive issues with it at first. I think you need to tackle caffeine AFTER you're done dealing with the sugar cravings.

-Berries! They taste sweet but have much lower sugar than most fruits.

-Seconding Good Earth Sweet & Spicy Tea. Hard to believe it doesn't contain any sugar, it's so sweet.

-Also seconding maybe just try to gut it out with NO SWEET THINGS AT ALL including no simple carbs (which turn into sugar) for 3 days, and then see how you feel. The cravings do go away. Eat lots of protein and fat and veggies, that's it.
posted by rabbitrabbit at 9:37 AM on May 12, 2015

I feel you here. I've been trying to kick my Coca Cola habit too.

Take a teaspoon of raw honey. Yes, there is sugar, but it's less pernicious than Pepsi.
posted by astapasta24 at 9:42 AM on May 12, 2015


No, not kidding. To kill sugar cravings, eat things that are very satisfying and that have no sugar at all. Sugar - and even sugary tasting things that have no sugar - beget sugar cravings.
posted by kitcat at 9:42 AM on May 12, 2015 [1 favorite]

When I want sugar I usually eat salty things. Not junk salt (like chips) but olives and feta cheese and things.
posted by eisforcool at 11:06 AM on May 12, 2015 [1 favorite]

i tend to go for things that are creamy and/or rich, or (less often) intensely flavored. avocado+fresh fruit+glass of nut milk (sometimes chia pudding instead), nuts/seeds or nut butters (i keep individual packet servings in my purse for times i feel lightheaded), yes to bacon or gribenes (esp. if you dab a little aforementioned nut butter on that bacon yum), nori sheets, pickles/olives/cheese yes, fat bombs (you freeze them) if you're ok with fake sugars (i'm partial to avocado lime ones and the kind that taste like strawberry quik), and yes yes yes to tea and tisanes that have a lot of flavor, whether coldbrewed or hot. and it has some sugar, but around a certain time of month a couple squares of extremely dark chocolate can go a long way.
posted by ifjuly at 11:34 AM on May 12, 2015

re: tea/tisanes, licorice root herbal tea is super sweet, but supposedly good glycemic-index-wise (stash's licorice spice is well known, and steven smith carries one called bon bon that tastes like a candy cane). stuff with mallow leaf listed is good for sweet, almost cake-y flavor too (one of my favorite dessert tisanes, sadly discontinued now, was wedding cake flavored and loaded with mallow leaf).
posted by ifjuly at 11:37 AM on May 12, 2015 [1 favorite]

Smoothies!! I know a little annoying to make at first, but once you get in the rhythm they take like 2 second.

Peanut butter banana, made with almond milk (or any kinda milk), greek yogurt, peanut butter, banana, vanilla, ice, and sometime protein powder.


Other smoothies, like with strawberries, raspberries, any berries and banana also hit that spot.

Also some protein bars are really good, a little sweet, and have the benefit of filling you up for awhile. Lately I've been keeping these in my purse, and it really does kill the sugar craving and ward off hunger for awhile

Also whipped cream with berries- you can sweeten the cream with a little bit of maple syrup or stevia, and the fat and creaminess with berries is really good.
posted by Rocket26 at 1:47 PM on May 12, 2015

I wonder if you can trick yourself by telling yourself you are going cold turkey with sugar just for a limited amount of time. The time limit makes it easier to bear and the not having even small amounts of sugar quells the addiction, given enough time. A month might do it. Link it to a good cause like donating to charity per number of days without sugar.

Suggesting this because I've had an unexpected reaction to giving up sugar in my tea for Lent: now that the 40 days are over I've lost my sweet tooth. This was neither expected nor even particularly wanted, but it seems as if not having the craving reinforced regularly with small amounts of sweetened tea has taken care of wanting/needing sugar altogether.
posted by glasseyes at 3:58 PM on May 12, 2015

I've found keeping a few bags of frozen fruit (pineapple, strawberries, mango, etc.) is great for this -- tastes like a dessert, satisfies the sweet craving, keeps forever and even if you end up eating a ton in one sitting, it's not especially terrible for you.
posted by eponym at 4:44 PM on May 12, 2015

Liquorice or cinnamen based teas. Both are naturally sweet.
posted by kjs4 at 8:24 PM on May 12, 2015

All my suggestions require a fridge, in case you have one at work:

Black tea or decaf coffee with a bit of cream. Earl Grey is my fave. Mighty Leaf Tea makes a vanilla black tea that is a bit sweet tasting, but from what I can tell it has no sugar.

Cheese and meat: salami, ham slices, roast beef. Can be hard to find deli meats without ANY added sugar, but there are some that are quite minimal. Applegate is a good brand. They also make a great frozen pork breakfast sausage if you have freezer access at your work.

Trader Joe's pre-cooked microwaveable bacon. This is my main food group.
posted by imalaowai at 8:56 PM on May 12, 2015

Mint tea, mints, mint gum, mint toothpaste, mint mint mint. If you're not hungry especially, just brush your teeth. If you need to DO something, peppermint tea is great.
posted by Polychrome at 5:56 AM on May 13, 2015

Drinking vinegars and shrubs are a great way to make water sweet and interesting without introducing crazy amounts of sugar. You can make them yourself and control what goes into them. Occasionally a take a small shot of an undiluted drinking vinegar but it's not for everyone.
posted by koucha at 8:33 AM on May 13, 2015

In-season fruit. Ginger-chamomile tea.
posted by aniola at 3:11 PM on May 13, 2015

I don't have a sweet tooth, but my definition of dessert is a beer or after-dinner cocktail. When I am doing Whole30 I satisfy those dessert/cocktail cravings with kombucha.
posted by Brittanie at 9:20 PM on May 13, 2015

Le Croix. Chew raw ginger or licorice root. High protein, high veg, medium fat, low carb meals.
posted by fritillary at 8:01 PM on May 18, 2015

« Older Not marriage material   |   Should I pay for original work while damage fixed? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.