sugary food

“Sugary food appears to be our friend, but is it really the enemy?”

Name something that tastes good, makes you feel like you’re on a high and maybe even on top of the world. Added sugar! Then the quick reality happens when you come crashing down as your blood glucose levels drop following a serge from the sugar you consumed. 

I remember when I set out on my journey to give up added sugar, along with a slew of other unhealthy food, it was no easy feat. Sugar was in so many foods in my pantry from cereals to frozen treats to soda pop to granola treats to BBQ sauce (which I love) to frozen fries to the dip for our pretzels. It was everywhere! I almost had a breakdown at first because it felt like I could not eat anything anymore. Clearly, I soon found out that this was a lie. 

Although there is sugar in almost every processed meal, snack, and drink, there is a variety of food you can find at the stores that are just as tasty and include no added sugar. Here are a few of the replacements that I have come up with over the past few months. 

1. Sugary cereal for homemade/store-bought sugar-free granola:

Sugary food replacement #1

This was a difficult one for me because I love a nice bowl of cinnamon toast crunch, or raisin bran crunch… sadly, I could no longer consume them because of the insane amount of added sugar they contain. Making homemade granola or even buying a sugar-free mixture from the farmer’s market is what saved my bowl of cereal needs.

2. Soda pop for sparkling water mixed with fresh-squeezed fruit juice of your choice:

sugary food
Sugary food replacement #2

My husband and I fell in LOVE with this fresh pineapple juice and sparkling water mixture as a soda alternative when we had cravings stir up. It has the freshest taste and you still get the fix (without all the sugar) of a soda. Talk about a guilt-free (and sugar-free) fizzy drink you and your family can enjoy at a gathering, cookout, or a weeknight family dinner.

3. Homemade BBQ sauce for a sugary food alternative:

Sugary food replacement #3

This substitute was not as bad as we originally thought as the taste is almost identical, minus the sweetness of added sugar. There are a handful of options for making your own BBQ sauce (and any other sauce of your choice) from home, and this is the healthiest way to ensure you know what is going into it. 

4. Frozen fries for homemade sweet potato fries:

sugary food
Sugary food replacement #4

5. Replace sugary juices with healthy smoothies:

Photo by Alexis Holt; sugary food replacement #5

This has been the yummiest replacement that my husband and I have made. We went from drinking 2-3 cups of cran-grape juice per day, to juicing and making smoothies out of all kinds of fruits, including various berries. 

All you need is a blender, ice cubes, frozen fruit, and a liquid of your choice (preferably sugar-free) and you’re all set. More of my favorite smoothie recipes that we use throughout the week will be on the plant-based recipes page.

In conclusion, added sugar is everywhere you turn and the only way to truly negate it from your diet is to be intentional about your food choices. There is nothing wrong with the natural sugars that occur in various fruits, these are actually good for you and your body’s glucose levels. 

I would not say that sugar is ‘evil’ in its essence, however, too much and too often it can be detrimental to your holistic health goals. Make small changes each and every day, and you will be surprised at how much your life changes in just three months.

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