I confess, I have a sweet tooth. I also know that too much sugar makes me feel sluggish, and when our family enjoys too many sweet treats we are much more susceptible to the germs around us. While we have certainly been enjoying our fair share of holiday cookies, I can tell we will all benefit from enjoying just a little less sweet this next month. Here are my favorite strategies for cutting the sugar while keeping the flavor.
1) Watch the drinks – it’s easy to drink 500 calories in one holiday latte or a super large soda from the gas station. Try unsweetened tea, coffee with skim milk, or one of my favorites – mineral water with a splash of pomegranate juice instead.
2) Read the label. If that breakfast cereal or snack has more than twice as much sugar as fiber in it, just leave it on the shelf. If the first ingredient is sugar,
3) Make it, don’t buy it. If cookies are in our pantry or ice cream is in our freezer, we tend to eat that rather than wholesome fruits and veggies for snacks. Our rule of thumb is to either make treats from scratch or buy something fun if we have a plan to share with guests or entertaining.
4) Change the recipe. I can usually cut the sugar by up to 1/3 before it really affects the taste and texture.
5) Still have that craving? Try eating more protein early on in the day (like eggs for breakfast, meat and a sandwich for lunch, or a greek yogurt for snack) to cut the mid-afternoon munchies. Adding more veggies and nuts for snacks can also help.
6) Lastly, are you really craving sugar? Sometimes we are just struggling with one of the 3 Ts: tired, tense or thirsty, when we think we need sugar. I have the hardest time resisting sugar when I haven’t had enough sleep. That doesn’t mean I need it though, and I find I feel much better after a 10 minute walk outside and a glass of water than I do after munching on something sweet.
What do you do to lower your sugar intake?