Sugar has made quite a ruckus in the news lately, and the public is starting to understand the impact that sugar overload can have on your weight, your health, and your emotional state. You can upgrade your family to a low sugar lifestyle without too much deprivation. Reducing your family’s sugar intake is a worthy goal, but it can be hard to avoid sugar-laden convenience foods and beverages without being armed with a little knowledge and forethought. These handy tips and tricks can help revamp your family’s eating patterns to a healthier, low-sugar lifestyle:
Upgrading to a Low Sugar Lifestyle
You can’t eat it if it’s not in the house. Don’t stock your pantry and refrigerator with sugary convenience foods. Give away the obvious culprits:
- Agave nectar
- Baked treats like cakes, pies, Danishes, donuts, and pastries
- Sodas and other sweetened drinks, including juice drinks, diet sodas, prepackaged tea drinks, and energy drinks
- Frozen junk food like Icees, ice cream, and frozen yogurt.
- Table sugar
Sugar comes in many forms, with many different names. Cutting back on how much sugar you eat isn’t always easy if you’re not aware of how sugars can be disguised on the list of ingredients. When you’re looking at labels and deciding what to keep or discard, consult this list of alternative names for sugar.
Eat your veggies!
Vegetables are high in nutrients and fiber, and low in sugar. You can eat a lot of vegetables without consuming many calories, and fresh veggies can be as quick and easy as packaged convenience food. Keep a cut vegetable plate in the fridge for quick crunching and munching when your family needs to reach for a snack, and remember that it only takes 5 minutes to make a stir-fry!
When you start your day, plan out what you’re going to eat throughout the day, and if you’re the head chef of your household, plan what you’re going to feed your family for dinner too. If you don’t plan ahead, you’ll be at the mercy of whatever high-sugar, chemical-laden convenience food you can grab on the fly. That’s no way to treat yourself or your family!
Don’t drink sugar, including fruit juice and juice drinks
A low sugar lifestyle does not include drinks with sugar. Sugared beverages – including fruit juice – can contain over 50 grams of sugar in a single serving, and some Starbucks drinks and bottled teas have even more!
Juice drinks, juice cocktails, and juice boxes marketed for children are required to contain only 10 percent actual fruit juice. The rest can be (and usually is) high-fructose corn syrup or another manufactured sweetener. Juice drinks are far worse than real fruit juice because they have all the calories and fructose but none of the nutrients of natural fruit juice. Juice boxes may also be loaded with artificial coloring and preservatives.
Even 100% fruit juice contains a lot of concentrated fructose (because none of the fruit’s pulp or fiber is present). Concentrated fructose is a direct path to obesity and diabetes, so while 100% fruit juice may be high in vitamins and antioxidants, you should drink it sparingly – limit your serving to 4 ounces at a time (half a glass).
If you’d like some personal help with nutrition and healthier lifestyle habits, contact Dan to schedule a time to talk about what kind of help would work best for you. Dan can work with clients by phone and online!