Slashing sugar intake sounds like a superhero’s task, especially considering the sheer amount of sugar that works its way into the conventional diet. You won’t need a cape, mask, or radioactive bug bite to get the job done with these 7 effortless ways to cut down on sugar!
The average American diet includes about 20 teaspoons of sugar every day. The average woman consumes about 230 sugar calories per day. That’s a lot of the white stuff! In fact, the American Heart Association recommends women eat no more than 100 calories from sugar (or 6 teaspoons) per day .
These ways to cut down on sugar will help you kick the sugar habit so you can feel healthier and lose weight. Your teeth will be happier, too!
1. Reach for whole fruit instead of processed.
Packaged snacks like fruit cups and applesauce might seem convenient, but they often contain refined sugar. Instead, go for the whole food alternative: a fresh apple instead of an applesauce cup, or fresh sliced berries rather than a fruit cup. Snack Pretzel Stack and Skinny Berry Parfait are fab snack recipes that incorporate whole fruit.
2. Eat foods that squash cravings.
Foods rich in fiber and protein satisfy the appetite, making you less likely to cave to sugar cravings. Plan a menu that includes lean protein sources, including poultry, legumes, and beans. Switching to whole grain foods will also boost fiber intake. Lemon Chicken Breasts with Asparagus & Salad and Skillet Red Beans & Rice are tasty ways to satisfy your appetite.
3. Make gradual changes.
Chances are good you have years–or even a lifetime–of a high sugar habit under your belt. Acclimate your body to lower sugar intake by gradually decreasing consumption. For instance, if you normally put two teaspoons of sugar in your morning cuppa, cut back to one teaspoon. (If you’re the kind of person who does well with cold turkey methods, try our 7-Day No-Sugar Detox.)
4. Read nutrition labels.
Another simple way to cut down on sugar is to start reading food labels. Sugars (and their artificial cousins) work their way into many products on grocery store shelves–you might be surprised where you find sugar. Bookmark 50 Names for Sugar to help you identify and avoid hidden sugar in foods.
5. Avoid sugary drinks.
Beverages are a big-time culprit when it comes to added sugar in the typical American diet. Ditch the sugared drinks for plain water, or try recipes like Ginger, Lime, & Mint-Flavored Sparkling Water and Strawberry-Basil Water.
6. Give your craving a time-out.
Sometimes a sugar craving is related to our emotions. We might reach for a sweet when we feel sad, frustrated, stressed, or anxious. When you get a hankering for sweet foods, drink a full glass of water and wait 15 minutes. The craving is likely to pass. If it doesn’t reach for a whole food like a fresh apple or banana.
7. Swap out traditional dessert recipes.
Homemade and store-bought dessert recipes can be high in refined sugar. Treat your sweet tooth while choosing healthier options. Enjoy proper portion sizes of naturally-sweetened recipes like 10 Desserts Made with Healthy, Natural Sweeteners or Skinny Mini Blueberry Cheesecakes.
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