There is no better time to talk about sugar than during the holiday season! Halloween candy, Thanksgiving pies, Christmas cookies, and dozens of other seasonal treats can be troublesome temptations for anyone trying to stick to a nutritious diet. In this article, we’ll look at five steps you can follow to reduce your sugar intake and stay healthy during the holidays.
- Start slow
If you feel like you are addicted to sugar, you are certainly not alone. A 2019 study revealed that more than 80% of the study’s subjects were regularly consuming more than the recommended amount of sugar every day. If you have been frequently eating and drinking a surplus of sugar, you are likely to experience uncomfortable side-effects if you drastically reduce your intake. To combat this, try to cut back on your sugar consumption gradually. For example, you could start by removing sugar from just one meal a day or by going sugar-free for 24 hours.
- Start with liquids
Sugary drinks make it all too easy for you to consume a large amount of sugar in just a few sips. A great way to dramatically lower your sugar intake is to cut bottled beverages like soda, juice, and sports drinks out of your diet. Replacing these drinks with still or sparkling water helps prevent thirst and keeps you hydrated for longer. In addition to cutting out sugary bottled drinks, you should also reduce the amount of sugary syrup and creamer you’re adding to drinks like coffee and tea.
- Read the labels
If you look at the ingredient list on any item at the grocery store, you’ll see that sugar can be called by several different names. Before you put something in your cart, check for words like glucose, sucrose, cane sugar, agave syrup, and corn syrup. Then, check how many grams are in each serving and what percentage of your recommended sugar intake the item would take up. Reading this information before eating or drinking helps you to make educated efforts toward lowering the amount of sugar you consume.
- Break the dessert habit
Do you find yourself always craving something sweet after a meal? Following dinner with dessert is common practice, but it should really be the exception rather than the rule. If you have trouble ignoring your sweet tooth, consider naturally tasty treats such as real fruit smoothies or granola topped with honey. Or, if you’re up for trying something new, seek out vegan or sugar-free versions of your go-to recipes for cookies, brownies, and cakes.
- Fill yourself up with nutrients
Once you start cutting sugary foods and drinks out of your diet, you’ll need to replace them with nutritious alternatives. High-protein meals with ingredients like eggs, oats, nuts, green vegetables or chicken are an essential part of a low-sugar diet. Protein fills you up and helps you stay away from sugary snacks. However, if you find yourself feeling hungry between meals, try reaching for snacks that are high in fiber like nuts, apples, avocados, and berries. Consuming lots of fiber will help your digestive organs as they process and eliminate any excess sugar still in your system.
Alternative names for sugar: https://www.virtahealth.com/blog/names-for-sugar
High-fiber foods: https://www.benefiber.com/fiber-in-your-life/daily-fiber-intake/top-10-high-fiber-foods/