How to quit sugar and still satisfy your sweet tooth at home
There comes a time when you realise that a big part of your diet revolves around sugar. Whether you pop a teaspoon of sugar into your morning coffee, sprinkle sugar on your Weetbix or munch on muesli bars and other sugar laden treats.
With that realisation comes a hard truth that maybe the sugar in your diet is the reason you’re unable to shed those kilos and may be why you feel so lethargic mid-afternoon. Here, you can find out how to cut out the refined sugar in the household and still satisfy your pesky sweet tooth.
Watch insightful documentaries
The first step I recommend to taking control of your sugar addiction is do some visual learning. A great documentary to start with is “That Sugar Film” on Stan. This documentary is life changing as it not only follows someone’s attempts to eliminate refined sugar from their diet, but it also shows just how many foods have sugar hidden within them (like “healthy” yoghurts or even baked beans – who knew?!) Another great one is BBC’s, “The Truth about Sugar” on Youtube.
Rid your pantry and fridge of sugary foods
Feeling inspired from those helpful documentaries you’ve just watched? Find out what sugary foods are hiding in your cupboard.
- Pile everything onto your kitchen bench
- Start reading labels.
- Aim to have as little processed food as possible.
Anything with sugar in it has to go – give it to your sugar-loving friends, or donate it to charities (processed sugary foods tend to last longer than fresh). You’ll be shocked by the amount of sugar contained in otherwise “savoury” foods and condiments – such as tomato sauce.
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Restock your pantry with healthy alternatives
There are a number of easy ways to replace those sweet foods you crave. Coles and Woolworths have great health food sections, packed with nutritional snacks – just make sure you’re still checking their sugar content. Some treats may contain dried fruits, but these will be fine as it is refined sugar you are eliminating. Remember that natural sugar is okay! Natural sugar is essential as it provides nutrients that the body needs. Here are some examples of healthy alternatives that you can replace common household sugary snacks with;
- Processed cereal – porridge or sugar free cereals (The Freedom Foods brand is really good)
- Cereal toppings like full-cream milk or sugar – honey, fresh/frozen fruit, nut milks, or chia seeds
- Sweet spreads such as jam or Nutella – natural peanut butters or even homemade hummus
- Milk chocolate snacks – dark sugar-free chocolate (found in the health food aisles) or fresh fruit
- Biscuits, cakes and pastries – homemade sugar-free treats (listed below)
- Desserts such as ice-cream – coconut yogurt, honey, cinnamon and frozen berries (delicious)
- Sugary alcoholic drinks – vodka, fresh lime and soda water or sugar-free brands (Dan Murphy’s has a good selection of these)
Check out these homemade sugar-free recipes
Either do your own research for sugar free recipes (Google is a lifesaver) or check out these delicious recipes I recommend to make at home.
- These bliss balls are to die for! They contain dates, cinnamon and natural peanut butter and you’d have no idea they had 0 refined sugar
- Peanut bars with a cacao topping that tastes just like chocolate! Sugar free yet scrumptious and you can’t go wrong
- These black bean brownies are heavenly, so don’t let their name turn you off! Who knew black beans would make a delicious alternative?
- Sugar-free oat cookies are a satisfying treat and they’re perfect too if you’ve got a family to feed as the kids won’t even realise there’s no sugar
- Granola bars are a great treat to make and keep in the pantry for those busy, on the go days.
- This caramel slice is perfect for that after dinner craving.
Push through the sugar withdrawals
It is vital that you push through the initial tiredness and headaches (if you even get any that is). Within days, your body will adjust to the lack of refined sugar and your energy levels will soar. You will become used to the healthy “sweet” treats that you have on hand for those after-dinner cravings.
Know how to deal with trigger times – those times when you need a sweet ‘pick me up’, like after dinner. Distract yourself with other things to keep yourself busy. Even mundane tasks like housework can take your mind off eating something sugary. Blast some loud music in your kitchen as you do your after-dinner dishes and mop the floor. If there is still daylight, do some gardening until it is too dark to do so.
Follow sugar-free pages on Instagram to feel inspired
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Instagram is always a tricky one when it comes to dieting as people love to share what they’re eating. Whether it’s your friends sharing photos of their extravagant desserts, or a recipe page showing you how to bake brownies, it’s always hard to avoid. I highly recommend that you follow pages that can distract you from seeing the ‘bad’ sugary foods and inspire you to follow your sugar-free lifestyle.
- That Sugar Movement share plenty of food photos, and tips on how to help combat the sugar cravings
- Sugar By Half is a page that encourages healthy living and discusses sugar-related diseases
- I Quit Sugar shares amazing, mouth watering photos of treats as well as dishing out nutritional advice from experts.
Avoid the cravings and temptations
To stop yourself from hunting for sweet snacks in your fridge and pantry, ensure that you have NOTHING to find. No secret stashes of old Easter eggs in the back of your wardrobe, no Tim Tams in the pantry just in case friends visit – nothing! If you live with others, ask them to respect what you are trying to do. It won’t be long before your flatmate can leave a 200g bar of chocolate in the fridge and you won’t even notice it as you’ll be reaching for a satisfying bliss ball.
Add workouts to your lifestyle. The more you work out, the better you’ll feel and you will desire sugary food less and less. Join an evening pilates or yoga class; take on Zumba after work; or join a gym so that you have the flexibility to exercise whenever you like. Soon enough your new way of life will become a habit and you won’t want to ruin your newfound energy with sugary foods.
Seek nutritional advice if it’s not working
Everyone is different so it’s a good idea to find what works best for your body. If you’re still struggling with the sugar-free diet, talk to the experts. Book an appointment with a professional nutritionist to discuss cutting out the sugar. If you do have other health issues, you will need to seek advice from your doctor.