Sunday, January 3, 2016

Sugar Alternatives

Ah, lists.  Here are six realistic ways to cut back on sugar.  Pick just one or try all six.   A goal of swearing off sugar for good is great and a way to get there is even more useful.  Don't be without a plan as the winter gets colder and New Year's pledges start to look small in the rear view mirror. 

Six Ways to Cut Back the Sugar in 2016
  1. Plan to eat fruit at least once a day.  The fiber is satisfying and you will soon find you crave really sugary treats less.  Give it time; it takes most people about two weeks to adjust their taste buds back to non-artificial levels.  Look forward to how good real food is going to taste. 
  2. Change what you buy at the food store starting today.  If it is not in the house, it will be easier to avoid.  Buy fruit instead of cookies, whole grain varieties of breads, flour, rice and pasta and low sodium canned whole beans and proteins instead of processed meals with a high amount sodium and sugar in the ingredients. 
  3. Bake it yourself.  If you have to work harder to eat a cookie and see what goes into the recipe, you will learn how much sugar is enough.  When you bake, use whole grain flour (look for white whole wheat) and look for recipes using less sugar per serving.  I'll be postng a few of these in the coming year.
  4. Measure what you do use with a real measuring spoon in order to reduce the amount you use over time. Use 1/2 and 1/4 teaspoon measures.  Consider replacing white sugar with smaller quantities of natural sweeteners like honey and maple syrup.  If you like your morning coffee a little sweet, try stirring in maple syrup.  A little goes a long way.  
  5. Take a long, hard look at the yogurt in your life.  If you are eating flavored yogurt because you think it is a healthy treat, you may be surprised to learn that the sugar content is often higher than that found in the pudding aisle.  Try buying plain yogurt and adding crushed fruit and a small amount, 1/2 teaspoon, of honey or maple syrup. Consider the whole milk or low fat varieties.  Non-fat does not always satisfy and can lead to more cravings.  
  6. Speaking of sugar cravings, notice what is really happening during a craving.  When we are hungry our bodies often request the fastest way to refuel-- sugar and carbs.  If you have not eaten a real meal in several hours you may simply be hungry, and with good reason.  Eat some protein and a complex carbohydrate.  Plan for this at key times like the late afternoon and be ready with a handful of nuts, a piece of cheese or other pure, real food choice.