Saying it’s “easy to cut back on sugar” is like saying it’s “easy to fly”. Sugar has pervaded everything we eat: from our morning coffee to our midday snack to our lunches to our pre-workout supplements to our late night snacks. Cutting back on sugar is incredibly challenging, but it can be done! Here are a few easy ways to reduce sugar intake:
Drink Black Coffee and Tea
You’d be amazed by how much sugar goes into your coffee and tea. The average cup of Starbucks coffee has WAY more sugar and high fructose corn syrup than you should be drinking, and you can often add more sugar into your tea than is good for you. Time to go black with your caffeinated beverages. Stick with NO sugar (a bit of milk is fine) in your coffee and tea, and it will help you to get over your need for sugar in your drinks.
Eat More Greens
Really, most of the time you end up eating sugar is because your body CRAVES it, not because you need it. Fiber helps to shut down your appetite: satisfying your stomach’s demand for quantity and switching off your brain’s craving mechanism. Greens are the best addition to your diet, as they will help to improve your overall eating habits. The more greens you eat, the less likely you will be to stock up on sugar-rich foods.
Start With Small Reductions
Going “cold turkey” doesn’t work for everyone. Sometimes it’s better to start taking out your sugar sources one at a time. Begin with sugar-rich beverages, then move on to your desserts, high-sugar foods, and other treats. Then find the sauces and condiments that have sugar, and finally look for ways to reduce sugar usage in your main dishes and recipes. One small reduction at a time is a far more effective way to get rid of the sugar you eat.
Have a Little Bit
A little bit of sugar isn’t bad for you. You can allow yourself to have a small amount of dessert: maybe a bite or two of ice cream, or half a piece of cake. As long as you stick to the limits you’ve set, there’s nothing to worry about. Giving yourself permission to have a small amount of sugar can prevent you from feeling like you’re missing out or deprived of something you want. Remember: you always crave the “forbidden foods” more!
Find Healthy Snacks
Most of the time, you eat sweet and sugary foods when you’re looking for something to snack on. It’s best to find healthy snacks to replace those unhealthy treats. Go for unsweetened peanut butter, raw nuts, or a piece of fruit. Find foods that satiate your cravings without adding sugar to your diet.
Ditch the Junk
The junk food in your pantry and fridge is going to eventually become more tempting than you realize. Your body has become so dependent on sugar (after decades of eating it) that it will begin to feel like you’re depriving it of its most important nutrients. The sugar cravings are going to kick in hard, and that’s when you’re most likely to fall into your old traps. Get rid of anything sugary from your home, and there’s a far less chance you’ll give in when the cravings hit.
If you’re the kind of person who always has to have cake at a birthday, show up AFTER the cake is served or leave before. If you crave a donut with your morning coffee, stop drinking coffee in the morning. Avoid anything that triggers those cravings and they will be much easier to handle.