15 Brilliant Tips To Eat Less Sugar
I’m quite sure every blog post I write contains advice to reduce your sugar intake, because, well, it can be at the root of almost all imbalances in the body.
Here are just a few that sugar impacts:
- Hormonal imbalances like PCOS and endometriosis
- Low energy / fatigue
- Excess belly fat
- Problems sleeping
- And the list goes on….
So, today’s post are 15 tips (in no particular order) that I use myself everyday, and also help my clients with as we’re working to reduce their sugar intake. Let’s face it, being a slave to your cravings is the pits!
Don’t eat it for breakfast
Ok, you’re thinking “duh!!”, but hear me out. Breakfast is one of the easiest times to avoid sugar as you’ve just woken up and you’re not craving it. By having a high protein breakfast like this one, you are setting up your day to have balanced blood sugar, which helps you crave it less.
PS – That also means no cereal/granola or yogurt, unless it’s plain Greek yogurt, and Love Grown Foods cereals, which are delicious cereals that are much lower in sugar.
Cinnamon, in certain recipes, can add a sweet taste without the sugar. A great example of this is in my beet & arugula salad, or adding 1/2 a tsp to a smoothie. Cinnamon has also been proven to lower fasting blood sugar levels.
Make your own snacks
Ever read the label of your ‘snack’ bar or your ‘protein’ bar? Chances are there are a number of different sugars in there that you didn’t even know you were eating. For example, look at this Nature’s Valley “protein bar” which actually has 3 different types of sugar in it:
Here are 2 homemade snack recipes for you to try:
Ditch the juice and pop
Many of my clients (before we start working together) make smoothies with juice as the base of the smoothie. I know that it’s a genuine mistake, as we’re lead to believe that juice is chock full of nutrients. The problem is, juice is stripped of the fiber and lots of the goodness remaining in the rest of the fruit, and all that is left is the sugar. One cup of orange juice can add 20-25g of sugar, which is the equivalent of a Mars bar!!
Watch out for dried fruit
Cranberries are the devil when it comes to dried fruit, as they are often coated with added sugar or cane juice, making them even more sweeter than they naturally are.
That being said, dried fruit can be misleading even if it doesn’t have added sugar per se, and that is because when you dehydrate the fruit, it shrivels up. So, all of a sudden you can sit down and eat 5 apricots in 1 handful, which although it’s fruit, is still is a lot of (too much!) sugar.
If you are having dried fruit, limit how much it is and then supplement it with some nuts or seeds.
Use applesauce and bananas to sweeten recipes
For recipes that call for liquid sugar (like honey or maple syrup), you can often substitute applesauce or ripe bananas. Now, I will preface with the fact that each recipe is different, so this can change the consistency, so try using this infographic from Greatist for more precise recommendations:
Replace your Gatorade and Powerade
My generation grew up drinking Gatorade, Powerade and Vitamin Water after playing sports, to cure hangovers, and to boost energy. I’ve spoken about this a lot, so won’t go into too much detail, but these drinks contain loads of artificial colours, ingredients and are pure sugar. If you do in fact to strenuous exercise, drink a coconut water after, which is rich in potassium, or have a Medjool date which is natural sugar, with the fiber to balance your blood sugar.
Slowly modify your recipes
This is a tip I used with a family I’m currently working with. They have two kids, who both love the taste of sugar, and don’t really like anything that doesn’t taste sweet. Rather than change their recipes all at once, we’re slowly reducing how much sugar is in their meals. For example, with their morning oatmeal, there used to be quite a lot of brown sugar that they mixed in to make it sweet. Firstly, we changed it to maple syrup, a less processed form of sugar, and then each week, are reducing the quantities by about 1/4 and adding some fruit for natural sweetness. This allows for their tastebuds to adapt, and when you’re tastebuds aren’t used to a lot of sugar, fruit tastes sweet.
You know that I’m a fan of this because it is single handedly the most powerful thing that keeps me and my clients on track. By having the healthy (and DELICIOUS) food made in advance, you are way less likely to resort to takeout or a bowl of cereal – both which have way more sugar than your homemade dinner would. To learn more about how meal planning can help kick your sugar addiction, book a quick call with me here.
Eat dark chocolate and raw cacao powder
I would never tell you to stop eating chocolate, but what I will say is to stop eating milk chocolate, and anything that is less than 70% dark chocolate. By nature of the 70% cacao, it means that there will be less sugar in the chocolate. My favourite brands are Giddy YoYo and Camino.
Use taste and texture properly
Make sure each meal has a variety of tastes and textures. The more tastes and textures, the recipe has the more satisfying it is to our brain and the less likely we are to want to mindlessly eat more or need dessert.
A general rule of thumb I’ve learned and like is that each recipe should have a combination of sweet, salty and bitter. If you’re thinking about a salad, this could be a pinch of tamari (or salt) in the dressing, some fresh berries on top and some apple cider vinegar in the dressing.
By also adding more texture, it also makes for a more satiating meal. Examples would be adding some nuts or seeds on top for crunch, along girth some avocado for creaminess.
Read your sauce labels (salad dressing, BBQ sauce and even ketchup)
I dare you to look at the back of your BBQ sauce or your salad dressing bottles. They likely have a TON of sugar for even just 1 TBSP of sauce. Here is a great homemade BBQ sauce, and here is a homemade salad dressing formula, that will keep in the fridge for weeks, as it has vinegar in it.
Studies show that when you are chronically deprived of less than 7 hours of sleep, your hunger hormone, grehlin, increases, while your “I’m full” hormone, leptin, decreases. The better balanced these two hormones are, the less likely you are to experience cravings
If you are craving something sweet, rather than chugging a pop (diet or not), reach for a Kombucha. My favourite brand is Rise Kombucha, but GT is another great one too! The kombucha contains healthy bacteria as it is a fermented drink, and also contains gluconic acids that work wonders on the skin, hair and nails.
Brush your teeth
This tip comes directly from my Mom, who swears by this trick. After a meal, brush your teeth and that minty flavour will have you much less likely to reach for a sweet.
Drink a fruity herbal tea
Last, but certainly not least, get that kettle out and stock up on some herbal, fruity tea. It has a naturally sweet flavour with zero sugar. Be careful the tea doesn’t have a ton of artificial ingredients.