I've quit sugar enough times to know that it can't (shouldn't) be done without the right substitutes in your cupboards. This just takes a little bit of planning.
If you've already quit sugar but haven't stocked up on substitutes, it's not too late but I recommend you hustle to your local grocery store. Do not delay! A health food store like Whole Foods or Trader Joe's would be best. Being prepared with substitutes can make the difference between reaching your goal of staying off the white stuff or giving in and re-starting the icky cycle.
FAVORITE SUGAR SUBSTITUTES
Zesty Nacho Kale Chips at Trader Joe's. So good you might eat the whole bag! And if you do (pull out the little packet of silica gel, first) that's 300 kale calories, with some healthy cashew and beet powder goodness. These seriously rock and satisfy the need to nosh...and keep noshing.
Hot Tea. Splurge on the most exciting flavors of tea. Tea has a wide price range, but don't be frugal here. Buy that Red Velvet Chocolate tea and you will feel so much better sipping on that rather than crying over a chocolate cake you've just devoured. For me, something about the heat satisfies all on its own.
Dark Chocolate Honey Mints at Trader Joe's. Only three ingredients: honey, chocolate liquor and oil of peppermint. If you like York peppermint patties, you will love these. The peppermint is so strong that you can only have one or two at a time. And it's honey, not white refined sugar, although the "sugars" in three small patties still equals 17 grams.
Dried Fruit Leathers from Trader's. About 50 cents each, but so good and made with just fruit. Sometimes if my sweet tooth is really buggin', I will need to eat two or three leathers to feel satisfied....but I've avoided white refined sugar!
Fresh Fruit washed and cut. For me the fruits that really satisfy a sugar craving are: mango, pineapple, crunchy apples with almond butter or cheese, dried fruit like prunes or apples.
Fresh Veggies washed and cut. Crunchy, juicy peppers in hummus, carrots with almond butter, cucumbers, celery, etc. If I've taken the time to have these prepared then it's so easy to grab them. If not, I'm likely to talk myself out of washing and cutting and finding the right sized container first.
Juice. (My favorite: Grape Juice). Although this is a kind of sugar, at least it's from fruit and not the white refined stuff. It contains nutrients that white sugar can't speak of. I like to pour myself a very small glass and sip it. It's so sweet and nice and cold that I don't need Ben & Jerry's after all.
Popcorn. So many different flavors of microwave popcorn (read labels!), but of course best popped fresh with minimal butter and salt added. Spray some soy sauce and then sprinkle nutritional yeast/garlic spices for a real treat.
* Remember this, the goodies you are using as sugar substitutes must be good. They must really make you excited. Do not hesitate to overstock your kitchen with goodness.
** Lastly, a word on the existing junk food in your pantry. I don't necessarily recommend throwing it all out. If you're anything like me, you kind of need to know it's there and that you're really avoiding it daily. Other family members are NOT quitting sugar with you so the junk food is theirs. I try to find a happy medium here. I don't like Oreos in my cupboard because they are a food I might break my sugar fast for. On the other hand, other junk food like candy or chocolate chips or whatever don't tempt me as much. If you do choose to throw out every last piece of tempting junk food, just brace yourself for when you are in the presence of these things: friends' homes, restaurants, mom and dad's house, etc. It might prove to be more difficult because you haven't had practice with avoiding them up front.
Sugar-free feels AMAZING!