Follow my tips for decreasing sugar and other sweeteners from your diet.
Let’s face it – sugar (and sweeteners) is all around us. It’s in our morning lattes, peanut butter, dried fruits, and it even shows up in pasta sauce! That’s right — pasta sauce! Seems unnecessary doesn’t it? It’s normal to crave sweet foods, but according to Dr. Mark Hyman, the average American consumes approximately 150 pounds of sugar and high fructose corn syrup each year! That’s WAY TOO MUCH!!! Clearly, we could all benefit from less of it in our diets. Let me get you started with some ideas for satisfying your sweet cravings with healthier whole foods, and tips for avoiding sugar and sweeteners in common packaged foods.
TIP #1 — EAT FRUIT INSTEAD OF SUGAR-FILLED ENERGY BARS AND BAKED GOODS: This is an easy way to give your body something sweet, naturally. Added bonus – fruit contains fiber.
TIP #2 — REPLACE ONE SUGAR-FILLED FOOD EACH DAY WITH ONE OF THESE NATURALLY SWEET VEGETABLES: These foods are sweet when cooked and are great as side dishes at any meal. They’re great on salads too!
Sweet potatoes and yams
TIP #3: TRY AN ALTERNATIVE TO SOFT DRINKS: There’s nothing REAL about a soft drink. Our body’s do not appreciate our consumption of them, and we should all strive to rid them from our routines. It can be hard though! Start out by simply adding one sparkling juice spritzer to your daily routine. Fill your glass with 3/4 sparkling water and 1/4 100% fruit juice. This is a refreshing thirst-quencher that still has some sweetness and carbonation. After a few weeks, try to replace one of your soft drinks with the spritzer and go from there. Another option – pick up a 12-pack of Lacroix Water on your next grocery store trip.
TIP #4 — READ LABELS: Next time you’re at the grocery store, take a little time to read the ingredient labels. You’ll notice quickly that a lot of the foods you put in your cart each week have ingredients that simply don’t need be there – often sweeteners like sugar and high fructose corn syrup. With each discovery of sugar, ask yourself – do I really need this food? If you answer “yes” then take steps to find an alternative without sugar. There are plenty of options. For example:
Peanut Butter – These brands offer natural peanut butter with NO ADDED SUGAR: Joseph’s, Santa Cruz Organic and Smucker’s.
If you shop at Whole Foods – many of their stores have make-your-own nut butter stations, which will allow you to make pure peanut butter that contains nothing but NUTS!
Dried Fruit: Be sure to check the labels of dried fruits like raisins. Many have added sugar to make them taste less sour and to keep the fruit from sticking together. If shopping for dried cranberries, look for varieties that are apple-juice sweetened vs. sugar-sweetened.
Fruit Drinks: Juice should be just that – JUICE. There’s no need for added sweeteners. Look for 100% juice. Better yet…buy a juicer and make your own.
Yogurt: Yogurt contains strains of healthy bacteria that are great for your gut, so don’t let the benefits be ruined by added sugar. Opt for PLAIN yogurt (non-flavored) and add some fresh fruit and a dab of raw honey to it. Stonyfield Organic offers a few sugar-free Plain Yogurts, and their Yobaby Simply Plain is also sugar-free and great for kids.
Pasta Sauce – It’s hard to find a pasta sauce that doesn’t contain sugar. Be diligent and remember that it’s an unnecessary ingredient.Two brands I enjoy are Monte Bene and Rao’s.
Want to detox from sugar or other unhealthy foods? Get started with an introductory health coaching session with me. Contact me today to schedule!
(Photo by Chance Agrella and obtained from Freerangestock.com)