Following on from my Is sugar evil? post and some of the comments, I thought it might be useful to share a few easy ways to reduce the over all amount of sugar you eat. As I said in that post, I don’t believe that naturally sweet foods such as fruit should be eliminated, but for some of us it can be better for our health and wellbeing to keep an eye on how much sugar we are consuming from every source, including natural ones! I’ve been working with a couple of clients on sugar detoxes and these are some of the tips I’ve shared with them to help support their goals…
1. Mix up your snacks. Rather than snacking on fruit or dried fruit, try hummus or nut butter with veggie sticks, coconut flour muffins, nuts and seeds, rice cakes with cottage cheese, roast chickpeas etc
2. Choose coconut water instead of a juice or smoothie when you are out and about. Many coffee chains and supermarkets now offer coconut water as well. Just make sure you get a plain variety, not one with added fruit juice or concentrates.
3. If you enjoy green smoothies, try using avocado and reducing the amount of fruit. Avocado adds a delicious creaminess to smoothies as well as making them more filling, without the need for quite so much fruit.
4. Make your own sauces and marinades. Jarred pasta and curry sauces always contain unneeded added sugar and other artificial ingredients and preservatives. Use tomato passata and add your own garlic and herbs for pasta and use a good quality curry paste with added tinned full fat coconut milk to make curries.
5. Don’t buy yoghurt with added fruit flavourings. Buy plain, full fat or 2% fat yoghurt and add your own fruit!
6. Brew up a strong mug of fruity herbal tea (try using 4 tea bags to 4 mugs worth of boiling water and let them sit overnight) refrigerate the cold tea and use in place of fruit squash or cordial.
7. Eat more fat! If the idea of reducing the sweet foods you eat is a bit scary, crowd out the sugar by focusing on eating more healthy fats instead of cutting out sugar. Full fat dairy, cheese, nuts, coconut products and avocado have lots of flavour and are super satisfying.
8. Get to know sugar alternatives, but don’t go overboard. Maple syrup, honey, coconut sugar, xylitol and stevia are my faves.
9. Balance out your fruit intake. If you have fruit with breakfast, for a snack, a piece with lunch and then some for dessert, that can be quite a bit! Try making a couple of meals or snacks fruit, dried fruit, sugar alternative and of course refined sugar free. 2-3 pieces of fruit is fine for most people, but listen to your body! Balancing out the kind of fruit you eat can also be helpful. For example you can eat lower sugar fruits like berries, kiwi fruit, pears, grapefruit etc more than higher sugar fruits like bananas, mango, persimmon and grapes.
10. Experiment with making your own chocolate! It’s so easy – check out my simple super food chocolate cups recipe. Just coconut oil, cocoa powder and an alternative sweetener can create delicious chocolate free from any refined sugar or added ingredients.
What tips do you have for reducing your sugar consumption?