Looking to cut back on sugar but struggling with the cravings? You’re not alone.
According to the World Health Organization, we should limit our intake of added sugar to around 50g per day or around 12 teaspoons. That may sound like a lot, but it quickly adds up when you consider most of the added sugar consumed comes from processed foods and drinks.
To cut back on the amount of sugar you have, make it an easy long-term lifestyle change, don’t make it an all-or-nothing approach. If you focus on eating more whole foods, especially plant foods that are rich in fibre, such as wholegrains, legumes, vegetables, fruit, nuts and seeds, it will help you naturally eat less sugary foods. Choosing whole foods that have a low glycemic index will also help stabilise blood sugar levels and reduce sugar cravings.
So how do you get started? Here are five tips to help make your approach to cutting back on sugar easy:
1. Downsize the portions
Reducing your portions of sugary foods and drinks is one of the easiest ways to cut back on sugar. By reducing your portion sizes, you are still allowing yourself to enjoy the sugary foods and drinks, but in smaller amounts, which will help manage sugar cravings too.
2. Snack smarter
If you always reach for sweet snacks, try swapping them for healthier whole foods. Look for snacks that are rich in protein or low GI because they fill you up and give you long-lasting energy. Snacks such as fruit and nuts, yoghurt and berries, veggie sticks and dip, wholegrain crackers and peanut butter. Reducing the frequency of sugary snacks will make a big impact in your overall sugar intake, even if you reserve one daily slot for a favourite treat.
3. Swap to low sugar options
Choosing lower sugar options can help you easily cut back on sugar. For example, swap soft drink for sparkling water, sugary cereals for low sugar wholegrain options or sugary cakes for a low sugar homemade version naturally sweetened with fruit.
4. Start your day right
Choosing the right breakfast can help cut back on sugar and reduce cravings throughout the morning. You may even be able to resist the call of the biscuit barrel at morning teatime. So, what do you need to look for? Choose a cereal that’s made with wholegrains and provides a source of fibre, such as Weet-Bix™ or porridge, and sweeten it with fresh fruit if you need. Another quick and tasty option is scrambled eggs or baked beans on grainy bread.
5. Swap to home-made treats
Many commercial cakes, bars and muffins are high in added sugar and while they may taste great, they aren’t providing your body with much nutrition. They are okay to enjoy now and then, but if they are your go-to, it’s a good idea to swap these foods for more nourishing snacks. Some healthier and lower sugar options could include homemade cakes, wholegrain fruit muffins, homemade muesli bars or whole food options like fruit and nuts.
For more information and research references, you can read the full article at sanitarium.com.