We all know that too much sugar is bad for our bodies and can cause inflammation, weight gain, diabetes and a multitude of other health problems. Some people try to cut out all sugar at once, which is no easy task. Instead, why not try to cut down on your sugar consumption?
Below you’ll find 19 ways to cut back on your sugar. Start by choosing five proactive choices to improve your health today.
- Drink coffee with sugar at home? Cut the amount of sugar in half. If you use two tablespoons, you’ll be cutting out seven tablespoons of sugar in just one week!
- Want to cut that coffee sugar load even more? Replace sugar with stevia.
- Drink at Starbucks? Drinks there range 20-60 sugar grams! You can opt to order a smaller size than normal (try a tall rather than a grande or venti) OR choose a lower sugar drink.
- Order out less. If your lunch break is a daily Starbucks, choose to order a drink two or three days a week instead of five. Opt for water the other days.
- Soda drinkers are loaded with sugar. Try a flavored seltzer to replace your soda, at least part of the time.
- When baking, cut the sugar by one-third. I do this with homemade bread like pumpkin bread, banana bread, and zucchini bread. No one knows the difference.
- Chocolate lovers … if you grab milk chocolate, consider switching to dark, which is healthier and often has half the sugar as the milk chocolate version. Once you get used to dark, you’ll savor that rich cocoa flavor.
- Smoothies are oh so popular with all that fruit and sometimes milk, but remember drinking them daily can wrack up sugar grams too! Choose to make them less often, or order a smaller size if you are out. You’ll get the satisfaction and health benefits without the full feeling of drinking a huge sweet smoothie.
- Don’t add sugar to oatmeal or cereal. If you must sweeten it, try it with cinnamon or fruit or a drizzle of maple syrup with has antioxidants.
- Cereals are known to be packed with a high amount of sugar per serving, and who eats just one serving? Look for the healthier brands which often have under seven grams per serving. Anything more than that, leave it on the shelf. You can also opt to mix a more sugary cereal with a very low sugar one (think toasted oats).
- Out to breakfast? Choosing eggs over pancakes or french toast is a much lower sugar meal choice.
- Avoid store-bought granola bars and trail mixes as they are packed with added sugars. Make your own or visit a health food store where they often have natural and sugar-free versions that are delicious!
- Rehink your milk. Even “healthier” milks like almond come in sweetened and unsweetened versions. Train your taste buds to enjoy the unsweetened.
In the Store
- Learn to read labels. Many store-bought products have sugars in different forms. Just because you don’t see the word “sugar” doesn’t mean it’s not in there! High fructose corn syrup, corn syrup, molasses, maltose, dextrose, cane sugar, caramel, brown rice syrup, even juice all add more sugar.
- Check for varieties. Did you know a popular brand of applesauce makes a few varieties? One (just as tasty) has only apples and water as ingredients, the other has added high fructose corn syrup! The label says unsweetened, but don’t be fooled. It is STILL sweet and delicious with no added sugars.
- Yogurt from the store is often loaded with added sugars. Choose to eat them less often or buy unsweetened ones and flavor them with fresh fruit and nuts.
- When it comes to peanut butter, read the label. Added sugar? No good. Find a brand that is labeled “natural,” double check the label and buy only when the ingredients say “peanuts” only. No need for additives.
- Spaghetti sauces from jars can be loaded with hidden sugars as well. Make your own healthy homemade sauce or look for lower-sugar varieties.
- If a daily salad is on your menu, that’s fantastic! Just be aware that most store-bought dressings are loaded with sugar! Healthier options are available. Read labels or better yet, make your own with organic olive oil, fresh seasonings, maybe a dash of honey and vinegar of your choice.