Last week I discussed ways to find those sneaky added sugars that creep into your favorite foods when you least realize. So once you have identified them, what are some easy swaps and substitutes to help you cut them out and not feel deprived? Here are few ideas to reduce the added sugar in your diet!
1. Cut out regular sodas. Diet soda is still the best option between the two.
2. Choose canned fruit in it's own juice or light syrup (not heavy!). And don't drink the syrup...
3. Instead of desserts like cookies, ice cream or cake, try fresh fruit with a small amount of whip cream on top.
4. Be careful choosing breakfast cereals. Use the tools you learned last week to find the cereals that are the lowest in added sugars. Sugary, frosted cereals are just as bad as cookies and cakes.
5. Opt in to drinking more water or milk and less fruit juice/drinks. Even though 100% fruit juice has lots of great nutrients, like pop or fruit drinks calories add up quickly. So, limit yourself to 1/2 cup fruit juice daily.
6. Monitor your intake candy, sugary gum or other sweets. These are not only bad for your waistline, but bad for your heart, pancreas and teeth - to name a few!
7. Beware of added sugars in condiments such as ketchup or salad dressings. Sauces such as spaghetti or pizza sauce often contain sugars as well. Try making your own!
8. Limit sugar-sweetened teas and coffee drinks with flavored syrups. Many syrups are now available in sugar-free varieties. If you must have regular, try asking for half the number of pumps of syrup; I bet you will be just as satisfied with the resulting flavor!
9. Instead of donuts and rolls, snacks on fruits, veggies, low-fat cheese, whole-grain crackers (such as Triscuits) and low-fat/low-calorie yogurt (many have LOTS of added sugar).
10. Watch for sugar in other drinks such as sports drinks and energy drinks. Sports drinks are only meant to be used during an intense level of activity. I don't ever recommend my athletes drink them outside of this (even top-level athletes). Sports drinks are not a good fluid option at meals or to sip on during the day.
My advice: Pick 2 of the above ideas and implement them for 1-2 weeks. Once you have got them down, add a couple more each week or so. Implementing all 10 ideas can be overwhelming and unsatisfying. So take it slow and steady so that the changes you make are changes that stay.