It's been said that the average person consumes more than 40 pounds of sugar each year. That’s an alarming statistic. When we think of sugar, sweet desserts such as cakes, donuts, candy, and cookies come to mind immediately. But there are tremendous amounts of sugar hiding in everyday things we consume, and when we consume them regularly, they add up fast. Making a few mindful tweaks can make all the difference. Here are a few simple ways to keep added sugar to a minimum:
Choose real fruits. It takes no extra time to grab an apple rather than a pre-packaged fruit cup or applesauce. It's just as easy and doesn't contain any of the added sugar the pre-packaged items have. So, choose something fresh from the produce aisle instead.
Focus on fiber and protein power. Fiber-rich foods will fill you up and keep you satisfied longer so you’ll be less likely to eat something when you’re not hungry. Protein-packed foods have the same benefit. Combine both of these for delicious ways to stay satisfied throughout the day, and you’ll be less likely to seek out sugar.
Phase out added sugar bombs. If you’ve put sugar in your coffee every morning for the last ten years, start decreasing the amount until you no longer use it. You can also try kicking the habit on the spot if you’re ready for it.
Study labels before you buy. Is your pantry stuffed with pre-packaged, processed foods? It's time to learn to live without these. And when you do, commit to reading all the labels of every packaged food item you buy. Added sugar can be found in the most unsuspecting places so read every label before putting anything into your grocery cart.
Drown out cravings with water. If you’re a soda drinker, you can cut out quite a bit of added sugar by ditching your soda habit. Sometimes, we think we’re hungry when we’re actually thirsty -- and other times, a stressed day makes us reach for desserts. Whatever the case, a glass of water can solve the problem. Drink one down and then wait 15 to 20 minutes. The craving will usually be gone but if not, choose a piece of fruit to satisfy the urge.
It takes time to adjust to life without added sugar in it, but you’ll soon feel better than ever. Finding the perfect sweet treats that aren't harmful to your health is a powerful way to get past the urges and learn to adapt to your new lifestyle without processed sugar. Take action this week by noticing where added sugar is lurking and take steps to reduce sugar intake over the next three weeks then reap the ‘sweet’ benefits of healthier eating!
Spring is an ideal time to clean more than physical spaces. Learn how to spring clean your eating habits, relationships, and finances, too. Visit my website to download my complimentary eGuide - Spring Cleaning Your Life today.
Sara Wolfsen is a Certified Health & Lifestyle Coach who specializes in helping people make their own healthy changes by providing private health and lifestyle coaching, nutrition education and wellness classes with guidance and gentle support for lasting weight loss and building healthier habits. Learn more online at www.sarawolfsen.com.