It’s tough to accept that you might need to cut back on sugar, but there are steps you can take to help with that. “Like what? You said sugar is everywhere? Am I supposed to just eat lettuce for the rest of my life?” LUCKILY, the answer is no. There are much more reasonable, doable changes that will help you cut down on excess sugar.
1. Scrap those sugary drinks!
- The obvious ones like soda and juice have gotta go, and so does alcohol (in moderation). That tall drink of water is where it’s at and no, I do not mean Zac Efron...this time. Seltzer is okay too if you need something a little more exciting, but unsweetened, please!
2. Instead of adding sugar to oatmeal, cereal, yogurt, etc. try natural sweeteners!
- Stevia and Monk Fruit are best as they do not spike blood sugar!
- Berries and other fruits! Thank you, nature!
- On that note, watch out for smoothies! They often contain sweetened juices, and they also condense way more fruit than you would normally eat. I never thought I could eat 4 mangos at a time until someone blended them up and I happily drank them.
3. Not a big fruit person? You can also spice things up. Literally.
- Use cinnamon, clove, ginger, nutmeg, peppers, and such.
- Spicy food revs your metabolism, too!
4. Still not flavorful enough? Try extracts!
- Vanilla, almond, orange, and lemon are pretty common and pretty yummy.
5. AWARENESS IS KEY!
- Check food labels especially the ingredients, if you don’t recognize an ingredient, your body won’t either.
- Avoid “low fat” or “sugar free” products. That’s pretty much code for “chock full of artificial ingredients”.
- Fiber, please! Fiber is your friend. The more there is, the more you will feel full.
6. Combine protein with carbohydrates
- Can’t go wrong with peanut butter on an apple. Unless you’re allergic to peanuts. Then I am so sorry for so many reasons.
- Combining protein with carbs prevents blood sugar spikes by slowing down carb absorption compared to keeping carbohydrates alone.
7. Do a stress check!
- Stress causes sugar cravings. Manage stress to reduce sugar/carb cravings
- Set a goal to exercise 30 min a day, 5 days a week. Even just go for a walk.
- Get outside when possible. Nature has healing powers!
- Meditate! Deep, slow breathing can be done anywhere anytime or download an app - I like 1giantmind - it’s free!
8. Make simple swaps
- Instead of sweet salad dressings, try olive oil and vinegar.
- Replace candy with nuts or a good quality protein bar. Try Raw Rev or 22 Days Nutrition bars!
- Another disclaimer! Dried fruits also take all the sugar of a fresh fruit and concentrate it, so it’s deceptively easy to overdo it.
9. Shop the perimeter of the grocery store
- That’ll help you focus on fresh, whole ingredients. Avoid anything in a package.
- The middle is how they getcha; you’re never gonna see Gushers in aisle 1 butting up against the kale.
10. Prepare your own meals and always have food on you!
- I know that realistically, life moves fast and convenience is a big deal but the fact of the matter is, the best way to limit unnecessary added sugar is to cook your own food. That way, you know exactly what you’re putting into your body.
- It also might be helpful to try keeping a food diary, to keep yourself aware and accountable for what you’re eating.
- Choose a prep day and get started! Plan the whole week out ahead of time to avoid getting stuck without any healthy options. This is also the most cost effective way to eat. Double whammy!
I hope that these tips have made limiting sugar seem a little less daunting, and as always, NutriMD is here to help! We are happy to answer any questions, address any concerns, and support you whenever and however we can. Get started with a free consult, you have nothing to lose!
Until next time, be well!