If you are planning on reducing your sugar intake you will want to cut back on offenders such as cake, donuts, pastries and chocolate. But there is more involved than cutting back on obvious sources of sugar. There are many hidden sources of sugar that you should be aware of too.
Cooking From Scratch
Cooking from scratch allows you more freedom to control what is going into your food. Use the opportunity to keep added sugars out of meals that call for sugar, or to at least reduce the sugar content of a recipe, in favour of other seasonings and flavour enhancers.
Wholesome homemade meals will help you to avoid reaching for sugar-laden ready meals down the freezer aisle. Even so-called “healthy” or “light” meals use considerable amounts of sugar to improve the taste and hook you into buying more.
Many breakfast cereals are sugar bandits, cloaked in a sneaky disguise to mislead parents into buying brands they think are healthy, but that are nothing more than sugar pills. Get into the habit of reading the label of breakfast cereals and buying plain brands of cereal or oatmeal rather than ones that are artificially flavoured.
Usually, the cereals with the least amount of ingredients have lower levels of added sugars. Add fresh or dried fruit if you cannot stand the taste of plain cereal first thing in the morning.
Choosing Beans and Grains
Beans, grains and other pulses deliver a good source of fibre, protein and other essential vitamins and minerals. But if you are buying packaged or canned varieties of beans and grains, do not be surprised if there are several grams of sugar per serving.
Buy dried beans and cook up your own healthy batch of beans, choose plain couscous and avoid boxed varieties of flavoured rice. Cook your own rice and add your own seasonings and ingredients.
Choosing Fruits and Vegetables
Canned fruits and vegetables are convenient, but they are also packed full of salt and sugar. If possible, choose fresh fruit and vegetables, rather than canned varieties that are packed in syrup. Frozen fruit and vegetables work just as well as fresh, as they are usually frozen at their peak soon after they have been harvested.
Of course, you will not be able to eliminate sugar entirely from your diet. Sugar is hidden in bread, sauces, condiments, and other sources where you would not expect to find it, but by cutting out hidden as well as obvious sources of sugar, cooking from scratch more often and choosing fresh, rather than convenience foods, you will be able to considerably cut your sugar intake. Eating a diet that is lower in sugar can lead to a healthier lifestyle.