We all eat too much sugar. And with the beginning of this new year, now’s the perfect time to cut back. Eating less sugar will no doubt make you healthier and happier, because sugar is so harmful to our health in many ways.
But eating less sugar is easier said than done. Sugar is lurking in so many foods — even those that may seem healthy. Anything that comes in a box or a bag likely has sugar added to it. So how do you easily reduce your sugar intake without giving up all your favorite foods? Let’s take a look at 10 ways to eat less sugar this year!
1. Drink less sugar
One of the most effective ways to eat less sugar is to drink less sugar. Sugar lurks in so many beverages it’s not even funny! Sports drinks, fruit juices, energy drinks, and soda all contribute to poor health. Even a few glasses of apple juice contain far more sugar than any one person should consume in a day! If you cut sugar-laden drinks from your diet, you’ll be consuming less sugar in a major way.
2. Drink more tea
Herbal teas and fruit teas are tasty and sugar-free. Drink them hot or cold and before long, you’ll forget about those other drinks. Many studies show that when you substitute tea for sugary drinks, weight loss is a natural result. If tea isn’t your thing, opt for sparkling water, or water infused with cucumber, lemon, lime, or grapefruit. With time, you’ll learn to love these healthy alternatives, and cravings for sugary beverages will become a thing of the past.
3. Eat less fake food
A fake food is anything that’s been processed or made in a factory. One of the best ways to eat less sugar is to simply stop buying processed foods. Even so-called healthy snacks like protein bars, granola, and “healthy” cereals can contain every bit as much sugar as a candy bar. Always check the label. Even dried fruits have added sugar. Enjoy those in moderation.
4. Eat more whole foods
Now that you’re cutting fake foods out of your diet, you’re going to replace them with whole foods. Whole foods have nothing added to them. If you include more whole foods in your diet, you’re naturally going to eat less sugar. Most Americans eat a lot of refined and processed foods, and it’s amazing how much sugar is added to them. A 2016 study states that 90% of all added sugars Americans eat comes from processed and refined foods. Eating primarily whole foods will do your body a world of good.
5. Make your own baked goods
All prepared baked goodies at the supermarket are bursting with sugar. If you love cookies, cakes, muffins, and pastries, learn how to make them at home, where you have total control over what goes into them. There are all sorts of yummy recipes online that utilize healthy sweeteners like honey, molasses, pure maple syrup, and stevia. Baking healthy treats is fun for the whole family!
6. Enjoy honey, stevia, and pure maple syrup
There are healthy ways to satisfy your sweet tooth. And you can sweeten up all kinds of foods by adding natural sweeteners to them. Add raw honey and fruit to plain yogurt. Enjoying stevia in your morning smoothie beats sugar any day. Drizzling pure maple syrup over oatmeal is yet another way to satisfy sugar cravings without sacrificing your health.
7. Don’t buy candy
If you don’t have sugary foods like candy in your pantry, you’re not going to eat them. While this might seem like common sense, reminders are always needed. When you’re standing in line at the grocery store, don’t allow yourself to throw a candy bar on the conveyor belt at the last minute. Give leftover Halloween candy away. Candy has no place in your cupboard this year! Save it for those rare times you go out to the movie theater or drive-in. Chew gum made from stevia. Alternatives are out there. You just need to look for them!
8. Eat more fruit for dessert
Exploring the wonderful world of fruit is the perfect way to eat less sugar. Pies, cakes, cookies, muffins, ice cream, donuts — these desserts spike your blood sugar and increase cravings for even more sugar. But naturally-occurring sugars found in fruits are healthy for you in moderation. Plus, fruit contains vitamins, minerals, and fiber, which helps with weight loss. One of the most effective ways to eat less sugar is to simply start enjoying fruit for dessert.
9. Read labels on pasta sauces and salad dressings
Sauces and dressings from the supermarket contain added sugars. But, if you sleuth out the ones that do and don’t, you can find sugar-free alternatives. Do your research. Read labels on your favorite pasta sauces, barbecue sauces, sweet-chili sauces, salad dressings, and ketchups. If your staples have added sugar, find some that don’t. Your taste buds will get used to the switch with time.
10. Enjoy full-fat food
We’ve all been duped into believing full-fat foods like whole-milk yogurt, full-fat nut butters, and full-fat salad dressings are bad for us — that their low-fat and fat-free counterparts are better. This is a diet myth because the low-fat and fat-free versions contain more additives (including sugar) than their full-fat counterparts. It’s all about eating foods closest to nature rather than the ones tampered with by humans.
Need help meeting your weight-loss goals while deciphering the confusing world of healthy eating? SmartFit Weight Loss offers personalized weight-loss plans to help you look and feel your best. Contact us today to schedule a no-cost consultation!