Cutting down on sugary treats is a good way to reduce calories and maintain a healthy diet. However, it may feel difficult to say no to your favourite sugar fixes. The good news is that itâs not impossible to live a healthy, sugar-treat-free life.
Itâs possible to quit cold turkey and cut out sugar for a few days, maybe even a few weeks, but sooner or later youâll go back and youâll go back hard!
The best way of going forward is to eliminate one source of sugar treat at a time until your taste buds adjust to the lack of sweetness in the foods you normally eat â it sounds impossible, but it can be done! Here are a few tips to help you along the way.
Most sugars, including the kind in sweets and table sugar, have what are known as simple carbohydrates. This means the sugar breaks down quickly and can give you a nice energy spurt. The problem is that it doesnât last and youâll feel the need to have another snack soon after to get the energy back.
Complex carbohydrates or foods which are low GI (glycemic index) are your heroes. Instead of having that bowl of chocolate puffed rice cerel, try muesli and then work your way towards sugar-free oats, muesli or bran-based cereals and plain yoghurt.
Diet sodas and sugar-free cool drinks may seem like the better alternative, but theyâre just loaded with chemicals to make them sweeter without having to add sugar. This wonât help you if youâre trying to get rid of your deep desire to consume sugary beverages.
In order to move away from sugar drinks and soda, which are one of the biggest contributors to obesity, youâll need to reconsider what you put in your shopping basket. The best liquid for your body is water, but letâs face it, water is bland. The next best bet is fruit juice. Buy 100% fruit juice, not the fruit juice blend â which has added sugar in it. Unlike soda, 100% fruit juice contains many nutrients and vitamins which help the body and since theyâre naturally sweet, itâs a win/win situation.
Desserts are great after a good meal but eating dessert every night is an accident waiting to happen!
If you have dessert every night, start reducing the portion sizes and then slowly reducing the number of days you serve dessert.
Once youâre only eating two servings of dessert a week, consider replacing the âlost daysâ with fruit. Sliced apples, watermelon or a bowl of grapes are naturally sweet and good for the body.
Itâs normal to want to have a snack between meals in fact snacks are encouraged as they help prevent over-indulging when you have your meal. However, if youâre snacking on processed, sweet chocolate bars, it wonât do you or your waistline any good!
Consider replacing unhealthy processed sweet snacks with seed bars and eventually just snacking on nuts and seeds. Remember, most bars, be it a health bar, protein bar or chocolate bar, usually contain copious amounts of sugar so you should avoid them. Dried fruit, seeds and nuts are the best snacks as they are more nutritious, filling and, since they have a lower GI, they keep you fuller for longer.
Follow these tips if youâre trying to cut down on sugar. However, do remember, it is OK to have a sugar treat every now and again - itâs all about moderation.
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