Jam on your morning toast, a dessert at the end of your meal, a sweet snack to fight afternoon fatigue . . . Your daily sugar intake can add up quickly!
The more foods we eat with added sugar, the more we crave them and seek them out in our diet. Fortunately, you can slowly wean yourself off added sugar! Here are five ways to satisfy your sweet tooth without going overboard.
1. Go homemade
Commercial desserts are often very high in sugar. A good way to gently reduce your sugar intake is to swap traditional store-bought cookies for homemade ones. Plus, you can easily leave out one-third to one-half of the sugar when making your favourite cookie, muffin, or cake recipe without compromising on taste. Fruit purées and compotes (e.g., dates, apples, bananas) can also replace sugar, in part or in whole, in your homemade baked goods. If you’re a fan of sweet puddings and cream-based desserts, try lighter variations that use cow’s milk, soy milk, or silken tofu instead.
2. Fall in love with fruit
Fruits are versatile, tasty, and, above all, naturally sweet! Eat them fresh or try them in salads, as a compote, dehydrated in the oven, or frozen. Get creative and choose fruits that are in season. For instance, think spiced baked apples in the fall and citrus fruit salads in the winter. If you’re an ice cream lover, why not whip up some nice cream? This frozen dessert can be prepared in just five minutes. Start by puréeing some frozen bananas in the blender. From this creamy base, you can make all kinds of colourful variations: mix in berries, mango slices, peanut or almond butter, cocoa powder, nuts, and more. Refreshing in summer, delicious year-round!
3. Make yogurt bowls
When you sweeten your own yogurt, you know exactly how much sugar you’re getting. Opt for plain yogurt and add your favourite toppings, like a drizzle of honey or maple syrup, fresh fruit, or compote, at home. You can also use natural flavourings such as vanilla, almond, or maple extract. Not quite ready to give up your favourite flavoured yogurt? Simply dilute it with an equal amount of plain, unsweetened yogurt.
4. Add a pinch of spice
Do you put sugar in your tea or coffee? Instead, try adding warm spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, or cardamom. You could even sprinkle some on your yogurt, fruit, or homemade desserts to boost their flavour without using sugar.
5. Listen to your hunger cues
The next time you feel like eating, ask yourself if you’re truly hungry or if you’re simply looking for an energy boost. Take a moment to listen to your hunger and fullness cues before you grab a sweet. If you’re not hungry but still want to snack, try a warm, comforting beverage like herbal tea to quell your craving.
GOOD TO KNOW
The excess consumption of added sugar is associated with an increased risk of several diseases and health problems, including chronic inflammation, obesity, and type 2 diabetes, which are all risk factors for cardiovascular disease and neurocognitive disorders. When it comes to sugar, moderation is best!
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