• Monika

4 simple ways to cut down on added sugar

As part of the New Year's resolutions setting, a lot of my clients have set out to limit added sugar in their diets.

According to American Heart Association men should limit their added sugar intake to 9 teaspoons (37.5g) a day and women to 6 teaspoons (25g) a day.

To put that in perspective, a single can of soda (39g), a bottle of Snapple (40g), a Starbuck's chai tea latte (30g), not to mention a single donut puts us over the daily limit.

Sugar also seems to be hidden everywhere nowadays: in bread, dried fruit, peanut butter, crackers, chips, condiments, sauces, wine and beer.

Once you have some of that plus a little sugar in your coffee, honey in your tea, jelly on toast, candied pecans on your salad, cranberries in your trail mix, the grams quickly add up.

Here's 4 ways you get get rid of some of the added sugar. I'm not saying this is going to be easy, so start with one thing and then slowly work on the rest.

1. Check labels and dismiss any products that have added sugar (where no sugar should be present).

That list includes but is not limited to: bread, tomato sauces, peanut and other nut butters, pickled vegetables, yogurts, fat free products, cream cheese, rolls, dried fruit, crackers, chips, dips, salsas, popcorn, salad, dressings.

2. Make every drink unsweetened (and calorie free).

This means black coffee, tea and lots of water.

This is a big one but it goes a long way in terms of overall health and aiding in weight loss. I've seen this many times when a cup of morning joe turns into a meal. One cup of coffee with milk and sugar won't hurt anybody but once you have 3 (or 5) of those during the day (which a lot of people do) the sugar count adds up without people realizing it.

Going all black is tough at first but after a while you will start to actually appreciate the taste of coffee, buy different varieties and enjoy it for the flavor. Black coffee also works better when it comes to waking you up, the caffeine gets absorbed faster versus when you add cream or sugar.

3. Invest in some high quality, whole leaf teas.

Talking about a lot of flavor without any sugar and calories.

My favorite lately has been Mighty Leaf tea - Organic African Nectar. This tea is expensive ($7-8 for 15 bags) but is it so worth it. One bag makes at least 4 cups and they are so flavorful it's hard to believe there is no sugar in it. Taste awesome cold as well.

Other varieties I love are chamomile, mint, dandelion, ginger and turmeric, chai and green. Herbal teas are great for digestive health, fight free radicals and support immune function, help us relax and sleep.

When you buy tea, try to buy organic as conventionally grown teas are very heavily sprayed with pesticides and fungicides. Same goes for coffee.

4. Use fresh fruit as sweetener.

Replace PB and jelly with PB and sliced bananas (with a dash of cinnamon) or crushed berries.

Replace flavored yogurts with plain yogurt with fresh fruit or unsweetened apple sauce.

Bananas and dates are also great sugar substitutes in a lot of recipes such as my Baked Oatmeal Breakfast .

If you are having any problems incorporating these steps in your daily routines, send me an e-mail and I will try to figure out a way to scale this down and make it work for you.