With my 5 day sugar free challenge starting on Monday I thought I’d give some tips that may help people not only for the challenge, but also to reduce sugar in their day to day lives.
- Breakfast: in some ways this is the hardest meal to do sugar free if you’re used to supermarket breakfast cereals, as most of them have sugar. I’ve got a few granola recipes you can make refined sugar free, that I’ll post. but if you don’t have time to make these, porridge is another great alternative. Its such an awesome breakfast to start the day on. It’s filling and the oats release energy slowly. This means you won’t be hungry an hour later like with a bowl of cornflakes, which are much more refined. Flavour your porridge with a tsp of honey or maple syrup, and add a banana or other fruit and nuts. Other options are a smoothie sweetened with fruit or honey. Puffed corn also doesn’t have sugar added but it definitely needs to be flavoured with fruit and Greek yogurt. Eggs on toast or even tomato, cheese and avocado on toast also have no sugar in them providing, you are choosing breads with no sugar in the ingredients.
- Bread: while on the bread note, have a look at the ingredients on what bread you buy. Most bakery breads have no sugar in them, but you will need to ask as they don’t list their ingredients. Helgas (not the white one) doesn’t have sugar added, and of course all the good quality expensive breads don’t generally have sugar in them. Be aware of gluten free breads, as a lot have added sugar. I’ve got a good, easy, seedy gluten free bread if anyone needs it and il post that too.
- Read labels, don’t obsess about it as I know its an absolute pain to do, but by reading the labels on our food, it opens your eyes to how much sugar is added into all sorts of our foods. Just get in to the habit of reading a few each shopping trip, and you’ll soon get used to what products are better for you. You’ll also be surprised at all the extra rubbish that’s added into our foods, not just sugar. Numbers, colours, preservatives, emulsifiers, anti caking agents the horrible list is endless.
- Whilst you’re on this sugar free mission, its a good idea to also clean out other habits you want to change, such as reducing your caffeine and alcohol intake or increasing your water. Some of you might want to use this opportunity to eat a little cleaner and greener.
- Be organised; half the battle of eating healthily is a positive mindset, the other half is being organised. Plan your meals, and your alternative sweet snacks for when you are craving sugar.
- Sweet alternatives, I’ll be posting a few recipes for healthy sweet treats for adults/kids,but if you don’t have time for these get your sweet hits from fruit and yogurt, don’t get the sweet flavoured yogurt though.
- Yogurt: my clients and my friends and family know how much sugar in yogurt drives me mental! Kids are supposed to eat yogurt, as we all are, for the benefits of the small amount of gut bacteria that’s in them, and for a protein and dairy hit. Unfortunately most yogurts have about 4 teaspoons of sugar in them each serving, and they seem to be getting sweeter and sweeter. Your best bet is plain Greek yogurt flavored with honey or some of the Jalna ones are flavoured with apple juice concentrate instead of the white stuff.
- Sugar in your coffee and tea. This can be a hard one to give up. If you’re finding it too hard to go completely sugar free, swap it for honey or maple syrup in your tea. Surprisingly it goes really well in coffee, you won’t need much though.
- Lunches aren’t hard to do sugar free; sandwiches, soups, eggs on toast, leftovers, salads with protein to keep you full. If you’re a sushi fan the bought ones have sugar added into the rice to keep it fresher for longer.
- Dinners, be aware of anything out of a jar, spaghetti sauces, chicken tonight, tomato sauces, condiments.
- Drinks, so no soft drinks, no Coke zero or any of that rubbish. Get it out of your diet! Water, water and more water. Add some lemon juice, lime juice or a squeeze of freshly squeezed orange juice if you need it, into your water.
- Snacks, go for snacks like nuts, fruit, bliss balls made with natural sweeteners and dried fruit that doesn’t have sugar added. Dried figs and dates generally have no added sugar so these are always good for a sweet fix and taste a little bit like healthy toffy.
- Alcohol; OK so hardcore boozehounds will struggle with 5 days off alcohol. If you really need to have a drink in these 5 days, you’ll need to have to have it straight. ie vodka, gin, whisky with soda and ice and lemon/lime juice.
- Raspberry and fruit coulis. These are ridiculously easy to make even if you don’t have a food processor or thermomix. Just melt a few cups of frozen berries on the stove, add some lemon juice and a little bit of honey or maple syrup; you can even add some vanilla and cinnamon if you want to get fancy. It takes about 5 mins, everyone has time for that.These sauces are great over yogurt, cereal, granola, porridge or with banana breads. My girls call it raspberry icing as I put it in their porridge and over their banana muffins.
- Toasting fruit on a sandwich press: This caramelises the fruit and brings out the natural sugars in the fruit, so it makes them taste sweeter. Add some creamy Greek yogurt and a tiny bit of honey or maple syrup if you need it, and you’ve got your sweet fix. You can even toast veges too like pumpkin, capsicum and sweet potato on a sandwich press, you just need to spray first with olive oil spray and slice your veges quite thin. Much easier and quicker than roasting them in the oven and less messy than doing it in the fry pan.
- Kombucha, kefir and sauerkraut; if people are having these as part of a gut healing program, stay on them, as the amount of sugar in them is minimal. Plus the benefits of these far outweigh the amount of sugar in them, as they are so good for your gut and producing gut bacteria.
- Withdrawing from sugar; depending on how much you are addicted – and so many people don’t realise they are; withdrawal symptoms will vary. Some people may get headaches. Make sure to eat every few hours to keep your blood sugar levels up and drink lots of water. Cinnamon is also a good spice to help reduce sugar cravings. Day 3 is generally the hardest and from there on, its smooth sailing! By Day 5 you should be having more energy and feeling the positive effects of removing sugar from your body.
*If you have any questions, just pop them up on my Nutritional Balance facebook page.