Alright….you might think this might be getting super dramatic but let’s face the two biggest facts about SUGAR. First, SUGAR is so delicious. Second, sugar is definitely one of the biggest DEVILs in our lives!!! Ok…I got that out of my system.
With that said, I used to have the biggest sugar tooth once and I MEAN it. Let me tell you guys a secret: you wouldn’t guess it, but I have TONS of cavities because of how much candy and sugar I had as a kid. But now I only eat candy rarely so that I don’t crave sugar anymore.
Sugar is super addictive and is definitely like a drug, but that doesn’t mean we can’t have sugar once in a while! Because in truth, sugar will always be everywhere! There will always be an occasion to celebrate; a birthday, graduation, a wedding. More importantly, a lot of sugar is HIDDEN everywhere. But that doesn’t mean that we have to completely restrict ourselves and strip ourselves of joy! A cupcake or bowl of ice cream every now and then won’t hurt.
But, I will say, if I could prevent my kids from having sugar, I will do it. In truth, kids have so much natural energy through healthy food. Feeding them excessive amounts of sugar can lead to mood swings, tantrums, crashes, and potentially interrupt their sleep patterns.
Here are some vital benefits of reducing the intake of sugar.
- Weight loss
- Clear skin
- Healthy teeth
- Better mental health and stable mood
- Healthy heart and brain
- Improved digestion
Sound good? Now, let’s get into our 11 tips on how to reduce sugar intake!
11 TIPS ON HOW TO REDUCE SUGAR INTAKE
- Out of sight, out of mind. That’s right! Purge your house of the 3 main culprits: candy, processed sugars, and sodas. It might be difficult at first, but the key thing to remember is that we’ll make healthier choices if we’re not tempted. If I had to choose between a banana and a snickers bar, you’ll definitely bet that I’d go for the snickers bar no doubt. But if the snickers bar isn’t there, well, I’m not going to drive to the store to get it, because humans are above all lazy.
- Meal Plan. I’ve been preaching this forever! Meal planning is key! Brainstorm a few ideas on healthy snacks ahead of time, create a list, eat a BIG meal, and grocery shop! Grocery shopping on an empty stomach is never a good idea for your health and your wallet.
- Meal Prep. Having healthy snacks on hand is the KEY to making healthier choices. A few of my favorites include carrots, boiled eggs, smoothies, hummus, guacamole, mixed nuts, and for some sweet treats I’ll have tangerines, bananas, and dark chocolate!
- Fall in love with healthier options! Love to drink soda? Try making your own flavored water, smoothies, or juice. I’ve even stopped putting sugar and honey in my coffee! I started by reducing my intake 1 teaspoon at a time. It took some time, but eventually, I got used to it. Love ice cream or popsicles? Try homemade fruit pops! Love candy? Eat fresh fruit that is in season (therefore, peak sweetness!) to train you and your family into falling in love with fresh fruits and vegetables.
- Start the day off right. You’ve heard the saying: breakfast is the most important meal of the day. And it’s particularly true for kids! I firmly believe in starting the day off with the right meal will lead to healthier choices! This might be controversial, but I choose not to feed my kids any sugar for breakfast. That’s right, that includes donuts, pastries, and yes, cereal! Trust me, as a child of immigrants, I grew up on cereal! My favorite, in fact, was frosted flakes and corn pops! But did you know that frosted flakes have the same amount of sugar as a glazed donut? Something that is supposed to be “breakfast for kids.” Imagine feeding them a donut with every bowl of cereal! TV ads, shows, and movies have brainwashed us into thinking that cereal is the breakfast of choice when in reality, it’s a bowl of sugar. Convenient yes, but there are a ton of healthier options to try! Whole foods like avocados, eggs, toast, smoked salmon, or savory oatmeal are great! If you want to transition your kids out of eating something sweet, start them off by adding fruit to their breakfast such as bananas, apples, or peaches. For more on this, check out my list of healthy breakfast ideas.
- Drink a TON of water! It’s no secret that drinking water is good for us, but did you know that you can dramatically curb cravings just by drinking one glass of water? Having a big water bottle that you can easily refill can make all the difference. It might save you a trip to Starbucks, Jamba Juice, or Boba Guys!
- Make healthy snacks choices easily accessible! Whether it’s in a pantry, or in your kid’s bags, or in your purse on the go, make sure you always have healthy snacks with you so that you can make healthier choices. We make the worst decisions when we feel like we have no options. To really fall in love with healthy foods, you have to begin by training the mind! The more you eat, the more you’ll realize that you don’t need processed sugar and foods!
- Read nutrition labels! Sometimes, all you need to do to avoid sugar is to notice just HOW MUCH sugar there is in everything. The most extreme example? A can of coke has 40 grams of sugar!!! That’s 3.2 tablespoons of sugar. That is HALF of a CUP of sugar! Imagine pouring a 1/2 cup of sugar directly in your mouth and you might not be as excited anymore.
- Train yourself to make healthier choices when eating out! Instead of a side of pancakes, opt for a fruit cup or some greek yogurt! Instead of grabbing a cookie, try grabbing something with healthy fats in it to curb your craving.
- Make your own rules. As I said, it’s all about balance! Maybe you can say that you can make pancakes or waffles on weekends for breakfast! Or that you will only make trips to an ice cream shop rather than buying ice cream for home. It is all up to you!
- But most importantly, just relax! Everything is good in moderation! Don’t be so hard on yourself and take it slow. Remember when I say, we’re in this for the long run! Small steps will lead to big results! Be consistent!
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