Want to reduce your sugar intake? Follow these ten simple steps: Swap it, don’t stop it.
Swap two chocolate coated biscuits for one slice of toasted raisin bread for your morning snack and you’ll be consuming 30g less added sugar – not to mention 1500 less kilojoules! Raisin bread is a good sweet alternative to biscuits or cakes with a lot less added sugar.
Choose berries, not biscuits
Instead of banana bread, muffins or raiding the office cookie jar at morning tea, snack on a punnet of berries. When in season they’re naturally and deliciously sweet with plenty of fibre and antioxidants.
Check the ingredients of your favourite salad dressing
Salads are healthy and low in sugar – unless you add a commercial salad dressing! Commercial coleslaw dressing has 26% added sugar while a standard commercial French dressing is around 11% sugar. If you go for the lower fat dressings, they’re often even higher in added sugar. A fat free French dressing for example can be 50% higher in sugar than the regular fat variety. Making your own salad dressing with any combination of olive oil, vinegar, pepper, mustard, garlic or herbs is a much better, no added sugar option.
Quit the cordial
Some people believe cordial is a lower sugar option compared to soft drinks. However, if made up according to directions, cordial has just as much sugar as your favourite bubbly beverage. Halve the sugar by only adding half the cordial (or even better – stick with plain water).
Rethink your cereal
Instead of choosing pre-sweetened cereals for breakfast, buy a plain wholegrain cereal and add a teaspoon of honey. Honey has a stronger sweetening power than standard sugar so you’ll get a nice sweet taste with a lower total intake of sugars.
Salty sauces can be sugary
If you love smothering your dinner with sauces, you may be getting a lot of added sugar that you’re just not aware of. Regular bottled tomato sauce has 25% added sugar while BBQ sauce is nearly 50% added sugar! Drowning your meat or chips in these sauces means the sugar will quickly add up. Instead, try using mustard or prepare your own caramelised onions. To do this, cook sliced onions slowly in a pan with a bit of olive oil and balsamic vinegar. You’ll get a sweet taste from the natural sugars in the onion as it starts to caramelise, without having to add any sugar at all.
Steer clear of over-processed ‘health’ bars
Instead of snacking on a muesli bar where the ingredients are bound together with lots of added sugar from ingredients like glucose syrup, mix together your own natural muesli with natural yoghurt. Instead of nearly 2 teaspoons of added sugar from the bar, the only sugars you’ll get will be the natural ones from any dried fruit incorporated into the muesli and the lactose from the yoghurt.
Say no to soda
You already know soft drinks are high in sugar but did you know that just one 375ml can contain a whopping 10 teaspoons of added sugar? If you really feel like something bubbly, try mineral or soda water with a squeeze of lemon, lime or orange juice. Refreshing with zilch added sugar!
Do away with sports drink
Think twice about whether you really need a sports drink when exercising. Sports drinks generally come in 600ml bottles and provide 10 teaspoons of sugar per bottle. While this may help if you are doing endurance exercise and need the extra energy, for most people, water is fine to maintain hydration during exercise.
Snack on protein-packed yoghurt
For an afternoon pick me up, go for a no added sugar yoghurt such as Vaalia No Added Sugar probiotic yoghurt. The protein will keep you satisfied until dinner time while you enjoy a sweet hit from the natural sugars in the milk and fruit