5 Easy Ways to Go Sugar Free

Going sugar free doesn’t have to be torture. Here are five easy ways to cut the sweet in your diet.

fruit tray

For the last few years, I’ve tried to reduce the processed sugar in our family’s diet. In the last few months I’ve focused more on reducing the sugar in my diet. I realized that if I were to exact change for all of us, it would be better for me to look at myself first.

Doing a Whole30 showed me that I could live without the tablespoon of sugar in my daily coffee and that fruit could be just as satisfying as ice cream.

(Note: I still buy or make ice cream, but I’m trying to be a lot more mindful about it.)

Years ago, I was a daily Vanilla Coke drinker. Not a day went by that I didn’t have it as my afternoon pick-me-up. After a few too many cavities, I kicked that habit and lived to tell the tale. So, I’m working on other sugar as well.

It’s hard though. I loved baked goods. So, I’m looking toward some happy compromises like honey and maple as well as the occasional indulgence. Birthday season had us enjoying four birthday cakes. The berries and whipped cream filling was pretty fab.

If you’re wanting to cut the sweet in your own life, here are five ways that have helped me curb my sugar, just a little.

breakfast day 16

1. Eat something naturally sweet with your coffee.

Like I said, a morning cup of joe didn’t do it for me unless it had three teaspoons of sugar and an abundant amount of cream. While I still think that’s the bomb, it’s not my daily habit.

Instead I make a coconut milk latte with freshly brewed coffee and up to 1/3 cup canned light coconut milk from Trader Joe’s. Not only is the coconut milk lower in calories, but it also has a slight sweet taste to it.

While it certainly takes a little getting used to, it’s become my regular java each morning. It helped in the transition to have a bowl of Monkey Salad alongside. Fruit or nuts as part of your breakfast can help offset the bitterness of the coffee and help alleviate that craving for sugar.

2. Focus on fruits.

Fruits are naturally sweet. While it’s certainly possible to eat too many fruits — they contain natural sugar, after all — they are a great stop gap for wanting to eat foods flavored with white sugar or corn syrup.

As I try to wean my kids of sugary excess, we substitute with fruits, smoothies, and homemade juice to replace the other kinds of sweets.

glass of water sideview

3. Drink water.

Many of us get our sugar habits through our beverage choices. Punch and pop are filled with sugar and high fructose corn syrup. Water is so much better for us!

However, water certainly isn’t as “fun”. Make it a little moreso by adding sliced lemons, limes, cucumbers, or fruit. Use bubbly water instead of flat. Add crushed ice and a straw. Even a cool summer tumbler can make water drinking a little bit “more.”

I find that if I stay away from sugary drinks, if I just don’t buy them, I save money and drink a little healthier.

4. Stop buying it.

One way to stop eating something is to stop buying it. Whew. That’s a tough one, but true. If you don’t put them in your cart, you’re more likely not to eat those sugary things that you’re trying to avoid.

Oh sure, you can just run down to the ice cream shop or drive-through to get your fill, but that takes effort and money. If you make it hard to get, you might be able to let it go more easily.

yellow watermelon

5. Remember you’re choosing better.

I don’t like to call anything verboten. If we make something forbidden, we’re more likely to break our own rule and give into that temptation. Consider reducing your sugar as a way to choose something better.

My little kids were absolutely thrilled the day I let them choose whatever fruit they wanted from the produce section. We came home with blueberries and personal size watermelons. They chose better than ice cream and were ecstatic at their choices.

Remind yourself that it’s not that you can’t have something, it’s that you’re choosing something better for you.

I realized a few months ago that I needed to break the hold that sugar had on me. I still crave smores and root beer floats in summertime — and I might still indulge in the next couple months — but I’m working to make those things the exception, not the rule.

How do YOU cut sugar at your house?

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Comments

  1. I never was really a sweets girl until I met my husband. I would easily pick beef jerky over a chocolate bar any day, but my husbands loves his sweets, so since they are in the house I eat them. I would LOVE to get my husband off of sugar, but he’s a hard one to wrangle into my schemes

    • Jessica says:

      Yeah, he has to want that. I’m afraid you can just make good choices available, but I’m not sure it’s a hill to die on.

  2. Yes, cutting out sugar is a great idea!

    But actually forbidding something is often counter productive, as you say. I love the idea from French Women Never Get Fat: the first bite of anything is always the best.

    So what I do: I let treats be special, hardly-ever, celebration events that we really appreciate, and I personally take smaller portions and savor every mouthful.

    • Jessica says:

      Sounds like a great strategy! I find that making sure it’s truly yummy makes it worth it. Some sweet stuff just isn’t.

  3. Kirstin says:

    Is there a difference between canned light coconut milk and the unsweetened coconut milk sold in a carton? I was wondering about this because yesterday I made a chocolate fudge pops recipe by Daphne Oz that calls for canned original or light coconut milk. Why do you use the canned product?

    • dumb questtion;
      is coconut milk lactose free?

      • Pretty sure coconut milk is lactose free :) I think the difference between canned and unsweetened is that the canned stuff is a little bit thicker. It also usually just says “coconut milk, guar gum” on the ingredients, and the refrigerated stuff has a bunch of other ingredients. (Even the unsweetened has a little sugar in it, I think.) I’m not sure why they do that on the refrigerated stuff. Hope that helps!

        • Jessica says:

          I don’t think mine even has the guar gum, just coconut and milk. The carton stuff has all kinds of other stuff in it and it tastes weird.

          • Yeah, there is a brand that doesn’t, but my grocery store doesn’t have it. I like the refrigerated kind for baking for people who are dairy free and don’t like coconut because the flavor is not as strong. It’s not the greatest ingredient list though (but maybe better than soy milk?). Maybe almond milk would be better, but I wasn’t ready to give my little guy almonds for awhile. Pick your battles sometimes :)

      • Jessica says:

        True coconut milk is just coconut and water so it is dairy-free.

    • Jessica says:

      I buy the Trader Joe’s Light coconut milk in the can because the only ingredients are coconut and water. Other canned versions have other things added, as does the carton refrigerated kind. I like having the cans on hand so that I never run out. :)

  4. Thanks for the light coconut milk tip! I’ve been looking for ways to doctor up my coffee without sugar and/or chemicals.

  5. Elizabeth says:

    Ah sugar…my nemesis and my love!

    I’m finding that another way I can lower the sugar in my diet is meal planning. If I know what breakfast, lunch, and dinner will be (and it’s something I’m looking forward to eating), I’m less likely to try sneaking in the unhealthy snacks between meals. Also sleep. When I am sleep deprived, traveling, or both, I’m more likely to grab a sugar dessert to keep my energy up throughout the day.

  6. I would love to try to reduce our sugar intake. I too, LOVE to bake and find it so hard to reduce sugar in that area. I enjoy treats and enjoy giving my family treats. It is such a hard habit to break. I am hoping to reduce our sugar intake, somehow my kids know when I give them something with less sugar though. I would love to try the whole30 challenge that you did because I think I would be amazed at how my energy level would change but I am a little scared to.

  7. Excellent post! “Stop buying it” was the key for us. Now we just use stevia and maple syrup/honey for the kids.

  8. I’ve found that having a cup of fruit tea (either black or herbal), sometimes with a splash of almond or coconut milk, is a great afternoon pick-me-up and tricks my tongue into thinking it’s having something sweet while still not having actual sugar!

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