Seven tips for sugar-free success

Going sugar-free is certainly a challenge! Even though you might know about the dangers of too much sugar, and the benefits of cutting it from your diet, it’s still possible to fall off the wagon. If you do, don’t beat yourself up! These tips can help you to stay (or get back) on track to sugar-free success. 

1. Find other ways to satisfy your sweet tooth 

When you quit sugar, your cravings will decrease. However, if you find yourself in need of a pick-me-up, you can consume fructose-free sweeteners like rice malt syrup and stevia in moderation. Eating fruit is also a great way to get a little sweetness in your system. Even though fruit contains some fructose, it also has water, fibre and other nutrients to help with metabolism. 

“Healthy” sweeteners like agave nectar, maple syrup and dates are quite high in fructose, which means it’s best to avoid them if you genuinely want to quit sugar. 

2. Cook from scratch 

An essential component of a sugar-free diet is making the majority of your meals from scratch to control what you’re eating. To make it simpler, write up a weekly meal plan and shopping list to set you up for the entire week. Planning also helps to avoid last-minute trips to the shops for convenience food. Also, if your fridge and cupboards are packed with healthy foods, it’s much easier to eat well.

3. Stock your freezer 

A fully-stocked freezer is a lifesaver! Freeze everything you need to make a healthy meal in a hurry. This could include simple foods like pumpkin puree, stock, sliced bread, coconut milk, soup, and herbs. Try partially-cooking and freezing vegetables to make steamed veggies quickly during the week. Batch-cooking and freezing healthy meals can help to nip impulse-buying takeaways in the bud.

4. Make the swap 

There are simple swaps you can make to instantly cut out sugar. 

  • Substitute packaged salad dressings for a sprinkle of fresh lemon, olive oil and salt 
  • Switch fruit juice for a smoothie, which will keep all the foods’ vital nutrients 
  • Replace fruit or flavoured yoghurt with Greek yoghurt 
  • Drink a low-sugar variety of chai tea, rather than sweetened tea, as chai is sweetened with anti-inflammatory spices 
  • Don’t have a muesli bar or biscuit for energy – instead, indulge in healthy fats like nuts, olive oil, avocado and dairy, and protein like meat, eggs and legumes, to keep you going. 

5. Mix it up 

Don’t just stick to the same meal every day! Make this your opportunity to try foods you might not normally eat. Get creative with your ingredients and combinations. Add flavour with herbs and spices like mint, thyme, oregano, ginger, nutmeg and cardamom. Citrus zest also adds a refreshingly-fruity flavour. 

6. Have sugar-free snacks on hand 

Surround yourself with plenty of healthy snack options to avoid the urge to grab a sweet treat. Try fruit mixed with Greek yoghurt, tortilla chips and guacamole, veggies dipped in hummus, nuts, and fruit. 

7. Don’t be fooled by packaging labels 

Be aware of “sugar-free” or “fat-free” labelling on products. Even items with health star ratings can contain sugar! Make reading ingredient labels a habit. Look out for brown sugar, corn syrup, fructose, maltose, dextrose, molasses, brown rice syrup, agave, cane sugar, and cane syrup, which are all just other words for sugar.


author:

Brianna Fransen

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