This past August, I challenged myself to not eat an ounce of refined, processed sugar. No white sugar. No brown sugar. No chocolate.
It was tough, but I did it.
And I learned a few things. I thought it would be prudent to share some more of these things as we start into the new year, as we challenge ourselves to think outside the box, to push ourselves outside our comfort zones, and stretch ourselves to reach the goals we have set before us for this year. If sugar is something you want to get a better handle on in your cooking and your consumption, then here are a few ways that will help you reduce the amount of sugar in your kitchen…
- Change your cereal – Look at the labels on your cereal boxes and check the sugar content. Even “non-sugared” cereals, like Chex or Cheerios, have sugar in them. It’s significantly less than ‘sugared cereals,’ but switch to those that have less than 19g per serving. Start making your own oatmeal, then sweeten with maple syrup or honey. Mom’s Best Naturals make a “plain grain” single serve oatmeal packets that are perfect for a quick and healthful breakfast option. Add some fruit and/or maple syrup for a delicious breakfast treat.
- Find alternatives for baking – Make pancake batter from scratch and use maple syrup in place of sugar in the batter. Use applesauce in place of sugar and oil in muffin recipes. Use an alternative sweetener, like Rapadura or sucanat, for making muffins, cupcakes or cakes. I don’t however recommend using it to bake cookies. Not a good idea! (Note: Some consider sucanat/Rapadura to be “sugar” because it is made from sugar cane. But others don’t consider it so because it is dehydrated sugar cane and otherwise “unprocessed” and “unrefined,” and it doesn’t have the same impact on blood sugar.)
- Turn to naturally sweetened fruits – Snack on blueberries, raspberries or strawberries when you get a sugar craving. You’ll satisfy the crave and get a power punch of antioxidants with it. Eat fruit for dessert…like these fruit kebabs!
- Drink water. Skip the soda. Skip the fruit juices. Stick with water. If my mom can cold-turkey give up Diet Coke, after years and years and years and years of drinking it, so can you. Just do it
- Swap the bad for the good. If you are dying for a sticky bun or cinnamon roll, have a piece of whole grain toast with butter. When you want that soda, grab that pitcher of flavored water from the fridge instead. That craving may be an indication of what your body needs…energy if you’re craving carbs, hydration if you’re craving soda. Just give your body the healthy foods, instead of the sugar filled options.
Reducing sugar is a daily, hourly, and minute-by-minute decision that you have to make over and over. Making a few small changes in the ingredients you bring into your home will help you reduce the amount of sugar you and your family consume on a daily basis!
You. Can. Do. It!
And be sure to check out Stephanie’s list of ways to cut down on sugar consumption and usage in your kitchen!
(Note: I still have sugar in my kitchen, and use it to make cookies every now and again, but I don’t use it near as much as I used to!)
New Year, New You Series
As we head into 2012 with fresh clean slates and the chance for a new start, I thought it would be valuable to team up with a few other bloggers and share what our plans are for the year…and hopefully inspire and encourage you to do the same! In the next few weeks I’ll be highlighting and sharing all the New Year, New You posts from 5 other fabulous bloggers. We’ll be sharing ideas and challenges that will help you in this New Year.
- Amy from Mom’s Toolbox
- Rachel from Surviving the Stores
- Stephanie from Couponing 101
- Sarah from Give Me Neither
- Lynn from Lynn’s Kitchen Adventures