7 Simple Food Swaps To Reduce Your Sugar Intake
- Created: 28 November 2016 28 November 2016
Words: Steph Taylor
In case you missed it, sugar has been getting a lot of bad press in the last couple of years thanks to its addictive nature and the host of health issues it has been shown to cause - including weight gain, high blood pressure and fatty liver disease. The scary thing about sugar is its ability to hide in even the most innocent-looking foods. A diet that seems healthy at first glance can easily exceed the World Health Organization recommended daily intake of 25 grams (or 6 teaspoons) of sugar per day. If you’ve become accustomed to eating a high-sugar diet, cutting down on sugar can seem like a daunting prospect. Thankfully, these days there are plenty of low-sugar products on the shelf – and recipes on the web - that taste just as good as the sugar-laden alternatives. Here are 7 simple food swaps you can make to start reducing your sugar intake:
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1. Make your own granola instead of buying it
It’s becoming common knowledge that most breakfast cereals are very high in sugar, but a lot of people don’t realise that the seemingly healthier alternatives, granola and muesli, can be just as bad. Making your own granola means that you know exactly what you are eating. This granola recipe uses no sweetener at all, instead toasting the granola with nut butter to give it that hint of sweetness.
2. Swap the salad dressing for olive oil
Once considered the “light” option for salad dressings, vinaigrettes can pack a huge sugar hit. Make your own dressing out of olive oil and apple cider vinegar, or if you are at a restaurant, ask if they will swap their dressing for olive oil and a wedge of lemon.
3. Swap your lunchtime sushi roll for fresh sashimi
Sushi is a healthy lunch option, right? Wrong. Sushi rice contains a considerable amount of sugar – and that’s not even including the sugar that is in the teriyaki, sweet chili or other sauces that tend to accompany it. Avoid the post-lunch sugar crash by opting for fresh salmon or tuna sashimi, or make your own deconstructed sushi bowl instead.
4. Swap the sugar in your coffee for a teaspoon of coconut oil
If the thought of drinking your coffee sans sweetener makes you wince, then you should give coconut oil a try. It naturally sweetens your coffee and has the bonus effect of keeping you full for a little bit longer.
5. Swap low-fat fruit yoghurts for unsweetened yoghurt
Yoghurt companies have become increasingly good at marketing their sugary yoghurts as being healthy. Buzzwords such as “no added sugar” and “low-fat” are plastered all over the label, convincing you that it’s a good snack choice. But it’s quite the opposite. In fact, one brand’s Greek yoghurt with mixed berries contains over 15g of sugar per serve! Opt for an unsweetened Greek or plain yoghurt and add fresh blueberries or strawberries instead.
6. Swap your 3pm muesli bar for a homemade energy ball
The vast majority of muesli bars contain all sorts of sweeteners in addition to the dried fruit and chocolate that the bars include. Reaching for one of these at 3pm might give you that instant pick-me-up you need, but you’ll soon be low on energy again – and most likely craving more sugar. Make your own energy balls by mixing rolled oats, almond butter, cacao powder, desiccated coconut and cacao nibs together. If you must add some sweetener, use a small amount of rice malt syrup to taste.
7. Swap your chai latte for chai tea
A chai latte may seem like a healthy caffeine alternative, but the ones served in cafes often contain upwards of 20g of sugar per cup. Instead, swap your chai latte for a chai tea – this will usually just be a spice mix with hot water and milk on the side. It tastes similar to a chai latte, but minus the sugar.
About the author:
Steph Taylor is the founder of The Sugarfree Box, an Australian health food subscription box business that helps people realise the benefits of living a refined sugar-free lifestyle. Treat your health to a delicious package of refined sugar-free products each season, and be amazed at the snacks, ingredients and recipes you discover. Follow The Sugarfree Box on Instagram and Facebook or check out their blog for simple sugar-free recipes.