It seems like everyone is talking about sugar these days. Perhaps with the verge of all the holiday merriment, our taste buds are raging for something sweet.
I’m not sure about you, but my sweet tooth has been in full swing lately. It could be stress related, it could be hormonal or it simply could just be the fact that I like a good piece of chocolate after my meals, but either way, I’ve been enjoying sweeter treats than I’m proud to admit.
And because the holidays are right around the corner, I’m a little more cautious of the fact, knowing I’ll be having my fair share of desserts in the coming weeks.
Apparently though, I’m not alone. A recent study showed that the average American consumes 22 added teaspoons of processed sugar a day. At first I thought, no way, but after really thinking about it, it’s not as hard to achieve that goal as it sounds.
While I don’t intend to cut out sugar entirely from my diet, I do plan on taking a cognitive approach to cut back in feasible areas where I know I don’t need the added sugar rush. I don’t really like to jump into challenges because I always feel like that assumes there will be an end, and if I’m going to make a healthy effort to change something, I want it to be lasting. So let’s not call this a challenge, let’s call this a change.
Here is the plan…
Drink More Water
I drink a lot of water but I never feel like it’s enough. By lunchtime, I will aim to have four glasses of water in. I always start my day with a glass of lemon water (with a shot of apple cider vinegar), and I am now going to up that one glass to two. Right off the bat, I’ll have two glasses down even before breakfast. Here is a trick. I pour my water first thing, take my vitamins, and continue to sip while preparing my breakfast. I challenge myself to finish my glass of water before I start eating. It’s been working out quite well.
Switch to Black Coffee
I actually really like my coffee black and definitely don’t ever feel like I need added sugar or creamer. I do add a little splash of coconut milk creamer in my coffee each morning, but I really don’t need it. I would much rather save the splurge on my Starbucks stop, when I add a touch of steamed soy to my decaf Americano.
Start with Breakfast
Breakfast is my favorite meal of the day but it also happens to be the one where I consume the most sugar. I hardly ever opt for eggs for breakfast and would much rather dive into a bowl of yogurt with fruit and granola. I eat a lot of fruit in the morning and while I’m not saying fruit is not a healthy option, I know I can be cutting back on other sugar sources in the morning, such as the yogurt, granola and cereals. Instead of having a ¼ cup of granola, I plan to cut back to a few tablespoons and add a handful of nuts to up the protein. Instead of vanilla Greek yogurt, I can definitely switch to plain and if needed, add a drop or two of steiva.
Do the math
Look at the label where it says “total sugars” and divide the number of grams by four. That’s the number of teaspoons of sugar you are ingesting. This exercise alone should scare me a little.
Choose my Vice
While I fully believe in eating what you love, I also believe in moderation, like most. So this means choosing one area that I’m not willing to give up, and eliminating in another area. For example, I love having something a little sweet to end my night. Usually some cottage cheese with stevia and cinnamon, yogurt, or a small cup of cereal. I’m not willing to give this up because I know it will just make me irritable and bitter. But I know I can give up the daily Starbucks trip or the few pieces of chocolate after lunch. If I want to keep one bad habit, than I will, but I’m also willing to give up another in exchange.
Obviously, trying to cut sugar out of my diet entirely is just not realistic nor would I ever attempt to do something so drastic. I’m simply going to be more aware in an effort to feel my best.
Do you have a sweet tooth? What is one tip you can share to help curb a sugar craving?