How To Go Sugar Free With The Family
Things are usually easier to stick with if there are others around you going through the same experience. We also often worry about the health of our family, and want to instill the healthiest lifestyle choices upon them where possible.
Both of the above points make a great argument for cutting down on sugar as a family. Getting through the cravings together will help to strengthen willpower and resilience, seeing you through to the other side, where sugar isn’t all that powerful and divisive!
The World Health Organization warn that we shouldn’t be consuming more than 5% of our daily calories from added sugars, yet according to statistics from the National Diet & Nutrition Survey, adults aged 19-64 are consuming on average 12.1% of their daily calorie intake from added sugars.
Cutting down your sugar intake will not only decrease your risk of developing a vast range of chronic disease, but it will also leave you with greater energy, increased performance, reduced hunger and decreased cravings.
So how can you do this in a way that will work for the whole family?
1. Don’t reward with sugary treats
This is something that most of us have probably experienced as a child, be it from a parent or grandparent. Occasional treats will do little damage, but instigating regular sweet treats will reinforce a link between achievement and sugar. Instead, arrange a day out or experience for whole family to enjoy together.
2. Aim to eat from scratch
It’s almost impossible to estimate the amount of sugar you are consuming if you eat food from packets. Sugar can be camoflagued using a range of terms such as glucose, sucrose, maltose and fructose – just to name a few! Aim to make food from scratch wherever possible.
3. Short cut dinner time
It is no secret that there are just not enough hours in the day. We all do our best to make evening meals from scratch but occasionally buckle under the pressure of time constraints and opt for something a little less healthy. But a healthy and balanced meal needn’t take hours, there is nothing wrong with using pre-chopped vegetables, or boiling frozen veg. A healthy and delicious stir fry can be made using pre-bagged stir fry vegetables and frozen prawns with a splash of soy sauce, this would only take a matter of minutes and not a takeaway menu in sight!
4. Producing for the masses
No one understands the importance of cooking in large quantities than someone who has many mouths to feed. Cooking large batches of meals such as bolognaise, stews and curries. Split all of the leftovers into portions sizes before popping in the freezer for whenever you need them. Once again, this will stop the temptation of any unhealthy convenience foods making an appearance when a frozen home-cooked meal is one simple defrost away.
5. Be cautious of fruit juices
Only one cup (150ml) of fruit juice counts towards 1 of your 5-A-Day. Anymore than this quantity will not count and simply contribute excessively to your sugar intake. Try to stick to squash with no added sugar or fruit flavoured water. You could also make your fruit juice stretch a little further by watering it down with some fizzy water.
6. Keep snacks handy
Becoming hungry in between meals calls for a snack that will give you the boost you need and sustain your energy levels until the next meal. Crisps, chocolate and cake will see a spike in blood sugar and a surge of energy, followed briskly by a swift plummet in both, leaving mood and energy on the floor. Snacks without the sugar surge can be quick and require no effort such as a piece of fruit, or some vegetable sticks with hummus. Alternatively you could make things a little more tempting by creating healthy energy bars that include ingredients such as nut butters, seeds, oats and dried fruit. We have a range of delicious snack ideas, check them out by click here.
7. Make breakfast count
Starting the day off well from the off will often dictate the day ahead. So make it a good one by avoiding cereals with high levels of sugar. Instead opt for a low sugar option such as, porridge topped with fresh berries and plain nuts, Greek yoghurt with fresh fruit or poached eggs with mushrooms and tomato. Filling up on protein will keep you full until lunchtime and help to keep any cravings at bay.
High sugar intake means we become accustomed to the taste, but by making some simple changes, the transition isn’t as difficult as it may first appear.