5 Tips to Decreasing Your Sugar Intake
We all love our sweets. You all know about my passion for pie, so you know that I have a thing for desserts. But I’ve been thinking about trying to decrease how much sugar I eat to feel good in my body and live a better life.
I recently saw that the American Heart Association recommends that no more than half of your daily calories come from added sugars, which is around 6 teaspoons or 100 calories for women, and 9 teaspoons or 150 calories for men.
But I know I am eating more than that. So, my goal this summer is to cut that down. Here are a few tips that I am going to use to get started. I am sharing them with you in case you want to join me on this sugar-free journey.
Play Up Protein
Begin each day with lean protein. According to Anne Alexander, author of The Sugar Smart Diet, research shows that if you eat a protein-rich breakfast by 10AM it is more difficult for sugar cravings to take hold later. Choose lean proteins like Greek yogurt, peanut butter, eggs and low-fat cheeses that produce less of the hunger-stimulating hormone ghrelin and more PPY, the hormone that signals fullness.
Skip Sugar, Not Meals
Missing breakfast or lunch may feel like you’re cutting calories, but what it really does is fire up sugar cravings! Going hungry can lower blood sugar levels causing you to over eat the rest of the day and make you more likely to reach for a sweet boost. Stay steady by eating five times a day—three meals and two snacks with nourishing whole foods like lean meats, nuts and veggies. You’ll feel full, balance your blood sugar and curb cravings!
Hydrate to the Fullest
Dehydration can spike sugar and junk food cravings and may be linked to fatigue, anxiety, poor concentration and that horrible mid-day slump that has you sleep walking to the kitchen cabinets. The Institute of Medicine recommends 91oz. for women and 125oz. for men, but don’t let that high number alarm you—at least 20% can be from food so snacking on fruits and veggies counts toward your water intake.
Get Sweet on Veggies
Give your taste buds some sugary satisfaction by adding sweet vegetables to your diet. Roasted sweet potatoes, beets and carrots are all healthy options that also feel a little indulgent. Check out some recipes from my new book, DEBBIE MACOMBER'S TABLE, my mothers Borscht recipe is perfect for a taste of natural sweetness, mixed with the feeling of eating comfort food without the guilt!
Find new rewards for yourself when you feel like that sugar fix. Choose experiences that give you the same pleasure you feel from your favorite dessert and make sure they last about 15-20 minutes—this will get you through that sugar episode. Aim for activities you can start instantly when a craving strikes—rock out to your favorite songs, call a friend, give yourself a mani/pedi, research your dream trip or play with your pet. My favorite distraction is knitting!