If summer season is inspiring you to adopt a healthier lifestyle, one of the easiest ways to improve your diet is reducing added sugar intake. It's a key ingredient of many beverages, processed foods and who can resist a delicious ice cream cone on a hot summer day? However, if you are up for a challenge, experts say that cutting back on added sugar consumption is likely to improve you sleep and gut health, help you focus and help maintain a healthy weight easier.
Here are our tips on what to swap your favourite sugary treats with.
Keep an eye on what your drink
Soft drinks, juice, energy drinks, ice teas and even smoothies contain added sugars. Even some almond and oat 'milks' as well as coconut water brands add sweeteners. If you are craving your almond 'milk' latte in the morning, ensure it's made with a sugar-free 'milk' version. Develop a habit of reading drinks labels - get to know what goes into your morning juice or smoothie.
Try swapping sugary drinks for healthier alternatives like water, herbal teas or sparkling water.
Avoid sugary sauces
You would be surprised by the amount of sugar in some extremely popular sauces like ketchup, sweet chilli and barbecue. Even though they taste delicious, these sauces can be replaced by condiments low in sugar like herbs, spices, pesto sauce, vinegar or mustard. Not only are they healthier, but they will make your food taste amazing!
Remove high-sugar foods from the house
Keeping high sugar foods at home is not a good idea as you will most probably end up eating them. It is harder to resist them when they are that close! In fact, it's a good idea not to keep white or brown sugar in your house at all too.
To fight the cravings distract yourself by reading a book or going for a walk. Studies have shown that distractions can be very effective at reducing cravings.
If distraction method doesn’t work, keep healthy low-sugar snacks around. We have a great recipe for you below.
Eat whole foods
Whole foods are always a good choice because they are free of additives, artificial substances and have not been processed. These foods include fruits, vegetables, whole grains and meat on the bone. Unlike ultra-processed foods, whole foods don’t contain salt, sugar, fat and additives.
Try to cook from scratch when possible. Simple recipes can also give you the nutrients you need and are delicious!
Avoid high-sugar desserts
Who doesn’t love a good chocolate cake every now and then? It can be hard to resist the huge variety of exquisite summer desserts. However, it is good to be aware of the amount of sugar they contain.
If you are looking for something that can satisfy your sweet tooth but is low in sugar, choose fresh fruits or dark chocolate.
Try this simple and quick recipe:
- 12 Medjool dates
- Nut butter of choice
- Dark chocolate
How to prepare:
- Peel dates open without fully cutting them and remove the stones.
- Place a small amount of nut butter and a small piece of dark chocolate inside the date and close it.
- Pop them in a fridge for an hour to firm up.