Wednesday, October 26, 2016
10 ways to *easily* reduce added sugars this season!
Happy Halloween! As all the kiddos prepare to gather their candy stash for the next few months (or at least until Christmas?), it is a good time to remember that the USDA recommends that we only eat about 32gm or 4 teaspoons of added sugar daily. To reach that goal without giving up ALL of the fun Halloween candy, sometimes a few swaps or substitutes on a daily basis can do the trick. Here are few ideas to reduce the added sugar in your diet! (Note: this is an updated version of a posted I created 2 years ago, but it still rings true today!)
1. Cut out regular sodas or reduce your total amount. Currently drink 16 oz daily? Try dropping to 12 oz and keep going from there. Soda is pure added sugar.
2. Choose canned fruit in it's own juice or light syrup (not heavy!). Also, don't drink the syrup.
3. Instead of desserts like cookies, ice cream or cake, try fresh fruit with a small amount of whipped cream on top.
4. Be careful choosing breakfast cereals. Sugary, frosted cereals are just as bad as cookies and cakes. With cereal, the more plain, the better; you can always add your own honey to sweeten it up if needed.
5. Opt in to drinking more water or milk and less fruit drinks. Fruit drinks often contain very little actual fruit juice.
6. Monitor your intake of 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 to better control the sugar intake from these foods. Canned diced tomatoes and/or tomato paste make a great start to a homemade spaghetti or pizza sauce!
8. Limit sugar-sweetened teas and coffee drinks with flavored syrups. If you must have regular, ask 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 sweet rolls, snack on fruits, veggies, low-fat cheese, whole-grain crackers (such as Triscuits) and low-fat/low-calorie yogurt (many have LOTS of added sugar - try a plain non-fat/low-fat Greek yogurt and add natural sweetness using fruit).
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. Sports drinks are not a good fluid option at meals or to sip on throughout the day. Energy drinks are never a good option.
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 at once can be overwhelming and unsatisfying. So, take it slow and steady so that the changes you make are changes that stay.