Let’s face it – sugar cravings affect every mum. Learn what’s behind them and how to beat these unhealthy eating habits.

Have you found yourself consuming a pack of chocolate biscuits in one sitting and yet wanting more? Rummaging through the kitchen cupboards in the middle of a night in a desperate need of something sweet? Couldn’t stop eating chocolate even for a day?

Unexpected sugar cravings affect almost every mum. Even those mums who never had a sweet tooth and could easily store an untouched chocolate bar for many months.

Why is it suddenly happening to you after becoming a mum? Read on to understand the science behind your sugar cravings and find ways how to beat this new addiction for good.

There is always a reason behind your needs


There is always a reason behind our needs, either physical or emotional. Every time your body needs something, it sends you a subtle signal indicating the need
You eyelids become heavy and you feel tired when the body needs to rest. You feel thirsty when your body needs water. You feel hungry when your body runs out of energy.
And when your body is in particular distress it signals intense high-sugar craving. But why is your body in such distress?
First of all, becoming a mum means you are suddenly faced with new responsibilities. No one teaches you how to do it and there are no easy ‘how to’ guides. That in itself adds a completely new dimension to your stress levels.
But there’s a lot more things happening in your life that impacts your body and brain. Let’s have a closer look at three main motherhood stressors.
When your body is in distress it starts craving sugar
When your body is in particular distress it signals intense high-sugar craving. Being a mum adds a completely new dimension to your stress levels.

1. Your diet isn’t right

With small children around there’s rarely the time to sit down at the table and eat a balanced home cooked meal. You often end up eating whatever is quickly available.

This most likely means highly processed meals and snacks easily stored in a cupboard, packed with simple sugars.

Simple sugars give you a dramatic spike of energy followed by a dramatic sugar low a few minutes later.

Energy deprived and hungry again, your body wants you to choose food high in simple carbohydrates. It prompts you to reach for yet another sugary snack rather than a hearty meal, and the vicious circle starts again.

2. Fast-paced stressed life

The kids, especially in their early years, can totally disrupt your previously organised life. Even though you maintain the best routines for your children, your own daily routine is non existent. Appointments to keep, vaccinations and health checks, playgroups, birthday parties, household, work, family, school – the list is endless.

There’s little time – if any – to stop for a moment and take a break for yourself. As a result your stress levels are going up.

Your body responds to stress by asking for sugar. 

Sugar can temporarily make you feel good by increasing the levels of serotonin in your brain. It dampens your emotions and stress related responses. Unfortunately, the feel good effect is short-lived and longer term it can lead to weight gain.

Stress prompts you to eat sugar
When your stress levels go up, your body responds to it by asking for sugar. 

Sugar dampens your emotions and stress related responses, but the feel good effect is short lived and longer term it can lead to weight gain.

3. You don’t get enough sleep

Let’s be honest, most mums don’t sleep much. There are always hundreds of things to be done in the house after the children have gone to bed. Even though you know the kids will most likely wake you up in the middle of the night, you still choose to read a book or watch a movie before switching the lights off.

The mornings are tough. Children are merciless and wake up with the early birds.

During the day, in order to stay awake, your body is begging you to deliver more energy. What food provides the quickest available energy? Sugar. And again you are craving simple carbs – biscuits, chocolate, sugary bars, sweetened cereals, white bread and candies.

How to beat sugar cravings

Now you know that there are reasons behind your insatiable sugar appetite. But how do you deal with them?

Fighting your sugar cravings might seem challenging at the beginning, but there are things you can do to stop the bad eating habits.

Below I gathered five simple ways to help you overcome sugar cravings. Stick with them and surprise yourself at how easy it is to kick this sugar addiction!

1. Decide on the number of meals a day you are going to have.

It could be anything between two (go for big and packed with nutrients) and five (if you prefer to eat less but more often).

Whatever number you choose, stick with it and don’t snack in between.

2. Keep your meals hearty, healthy and packed with nutrients

Make sure your diet includes plenty of complex carbohydrates. Complex carbs release sugar slowly and keep your blood sugar levels stable, preventing sugar cravings.

Eat enough protein. Meat, seafood, soy, pulses and beans, dairy and eggs are excellent sources of protein, a vital nutrient that provides lots of energy and keeps your hunger in check.

3. Eat only at the table

Have you noticed that uncontrollable snacking never happens at the table? You might snack in front of the screen or while reading the book, but not really when you sit down to actually eat your meal?

Well, the solution is actually that simple: even if it’s just a snack, put your books, magazines, phone and electronic devices away and have your snack only when sat at the table.

See yourself how many cookies you can eat if you faced just with cookies!

4. Sleep plenty

Establish a good night time routine, for example at 10 o’clock. Switch the lights and your phone off. Tomorrow is another day and it’s much better to face it freshly rested.

Stick to your good sleeping routine and soon you’ll notice your sugar cravings diminishing.

Five simple tricks to keep your sugar cravings in check
1. Decide on the number of meals a day you are going to have.

2. Keep your meals hearty, healthy and packed with nutrients.

3. Eat only at the table.

4. Sleep plenty.

5. Keep busy and active.

5. Keep busy and active


It’s really as simple as it sounds. When you’re peckish and you know full well that it’s not real hunger, get out of the house and do something active.

Go for a walk in the park or a jog. Cycle to a supermarket at the other end of town to get a pint of milk. Walk twice around the block.

I’m willing to bet – by the time you get back your sugar craving will be long forgotten.

The takeaway for you?

These lifestyle changes might be challenging at first and take time to master.

But if you persevere, you’ll not only beat your sugar cravings for good, but also end up with more balanced and less stressed everyday life. It’s totally worth it!