I don’t track my food on the reg, but I will from time to time to make sure I am on track with my nutrition. The first time I tracked my food using myfitnesspal, I was shocked at how much extra sugar I was eating. I don’t add a ton of sugar to things and I avoid processed foods, so I thought I was good. However, when you take a closer look, you realize that there is hidden sugar in almost everything. From yogurt to condiments, sugar is literally everywhere! You also have to account for natural sugar found in fruits. Although natural sugar is much better than the processed stuff, it’s still sugar. The USDA just recently updated the recommendation for sugar intake and it does not allow for much. See below:
Now I know that some people put 4 tablespoons in their morning coffee alone. Yikes!
But limiting sugar does not mean giving up all things sweet, it just takes some awareness and creativity. Trick your taste buds with these better-for-you alternatives…
Love Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough?
Make Cookie Dough Protein Balls. They are super easy to whip up and absolutely delicious!
Mix all dry ingredients, melted cashew butter last. Add almond milk slowly until desired consistency is met. Then roll spoonfuls of the mixture into balls. Use some cooking spray on your fingers, so they don’t stick to your hands.
Love Pineapple-Upside down cake?
Grill some Pineapple and top it off with plain greek yogurt, shaved unsweetned coconut, slivered almonds and raw honey.
Love Ice Cream?
Try Mint Banana “Nice Cream”
Thaw 2 frozen bananas for 5 minutes, then place in a food processor or blender with 1.5 teaspoons vanilla extract and 1/8 teaspoon of peppermint extract. Blend until creamy. Add 1 ounce of chopped dark chocolate and pulse. Optional: add a scoop of unsweetened cocoa powder or some chocolate protein powder. Garnish with a mint leaf. Serves 2.
These are just a few examples of healthy swaps to tame that sweet tooth. A few other pieces of advice to cut down on sugar intake…
- Read food labels & compare products to each other.
- Limit drinks with added sugar to one per day or just stick with water.
- Be aware of sugar content in fruit. Rule of thumb: fruits with a peel (bananas, oranges, pineapple) have more sugar than fruits without peels (apples, berries, peaches).
- Eat fresh or frozen fruits over dried ones. If buying canned fruit, make sure it is canned in water and not syrup.
- Replace sugar in baking recipes with applesauce, or cut the amount of sugar the recipe calls for in half. You most likely won’t even notice a difference!
- Enhance foods with spices instead of sugar. Try ginger, cinnamon, allspice, cardamon or nutmeg.
What are some of your favorite healthy dessert alternatives? How do you control your sugar intake?