As long as I can remember I have craved sweets. The past year has been the first time in my life that I haven't craved chocolate or sugar. I still love sweets, though. Cake, cookies, candy bars, ice cream, yes, please! Chips? No, thanks. Give me all of the sugar.
First and foremost, sugar cravings are often a sign of protein deficiency. So, start there. Make sure your breakfast contains adequate amounts of protein (1-2 palm sizes of animal protein, ideally) to prevent sugar cravings later in the day. Also, if you are going to eat something chock full of sugar, try to eat it with fat or protein as it will help blunt the effect it has on your blood sugar levels. #science. If you are able to stop yourself from downing a spoonful of sugar (does anyone really do that?) or a handful of chocolate chips, kudos to you. If not, here are some better options.
Chocolate bark. Find some good quality chocolate. Dark is ideal (70%+) with minimal ingredients. Melt it and add a little bit of coconut oil and a big scoop of cocoa powder. Toss in some nuts, seeds and dried fruit. Spread it on some sort of pan and sprinkle it with salt. The cool thing about salt is that it helps magnify the sweetness. Freeze it for at least 30 minutes, then enjoy.
Fruit and coconut milk. Hopefully you don't hate coconut. It has a lovely tropical, naturally sweet and creaminess to it. I don't eat dairy and chances are you probably shouldn't either, so it's about as close to yogurt and milk I will get and I don't even feel a little bit bad about it. Take it one step further with banana soup.
Dried fruit is naturally very sweet. Just be careful about over eating it. Add some nuts and seeds for a quick trail mix and some on the go sweetness.
Balsamic vinegar. I know this one might be weird to you, but adding balsamic vinegar to your sauteed veggies adds the perfect hit of sweetness you might be looking for in your meal. Apples are also easy to add to your veggies.
Lara Bars. I love Lara Bars. Who wouldn't? They are bars made of dried dates and nuts. The nuts help to reduce the effect on your blood sugar a bit, but I wouldn't over do them as they're still fairly high in sugar.
Kombucha is fermented tea. The yeast actually eats the sugar added to it which reduces the amount of sugar you are actually consuming. It's a great way to get probiotics in your gut and it's a nicely sweetened drink without completely overdoing it. Pick this over soda, please!
Cinnamon is great at helping to stabilize your blood sugar levels. It also makes things taste sweet without adding any sugar. Herbs and spices are packed with nutrients, so don't be afraid to use them!
Tea is another way to satisfy your sweet tooth at the end of the meal without eating loads of sugar. There are many fruity, herbal teas. I really like spicy chai type teas. Adding coconut milk and maybe a drop of honey or maple syrup (still sugar, I know!) will prevent you from reaching for the cake or sugar filled dessert.
At the end of the day, sugar is sugar is sugar. Your best line of defense it making sure you are consuming more quality fats and proteins than you are sugar and carbohydrates. Filling up on quality fats and proteins will also help to reduce your sugar cravings and change your taste buds in the long run so you don't need the same amount of sugar for satisfaction. Remember, no matter what carbohydrate (sugar) you are eating (bread, pasta, cookies, fruit, cane sugar, honey, maple syrup) your blood sugar will be affected.