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