15. Get your chocolate in small doses. Dip fresh strawberries into nonfat chocolate sauce, scatter chocolate sprinkles over your plain yogurt, or eat a mini-piece of dark chocolate — freeze it so it lasts longer in your mouth. Think rich and decadent but in tiny portions.
16. Choose the right breakfast cereal. Many of them are loaded with sugar. You want one with less than 8 grams sugar per serving or, preferably, unsweetened altogether (steel-cut oatmeal anyone?). Use diced fruit to sweeten your cereal.
17. Don’t skip meals. Too busy to eat? When you go without breakfast, lunch, or dinner, your blood sugar levels drop, propelling you toward high-sugar (often convenience) foods to quell your cravings.
18. Seek out substitutes. With Equal, Splenda, Nutrasweet, and the natural sweetener stevia now easily available, you can still get the sweetness of sugar without the calories.
19. Don’t add sugar to foods. Many everyday recipes — including those for vegetables, soups, casseroles, and sauces — call for sugar to add sweetness. In most cases, it’s just not needed. So if you’re making biscuits, for instance, you probably can skip the sugar. Likewise, make your own barbecue sauce with fresh ingredients, which will cut out the extra sugar in the ketchup.
20. Watch out for mixed alcohol drinks. Have you ever stopped to think about the sugar quotient of a cosmopolitan? How about a margarita or mai tai? Drink mixes and many alcoholic beverages are absolutely thick with sugar. Stick with beer, wine, or if you prefer spirits, mix only with unsweetened seltzer or drink it straight. Of course, seltzer water with lime will also do just fine.
21. Go for a walk when you crave sweetness. Studies find that athletes’ preference for sweetened foods declines after exercise. Instead, they prefer salty foods.
22. Go fat-free if you must have sweets. Studies find that many sweet foods, such as doughnuts, muffins, ice cream, and so on, are also high in fat, more than doubling the calorie load. When you do indulge in sweets, go fat-free so you get the calories from the taste you want — but not from the fat.
23. If you’re having a hard time cutting back on sodas or juices, try having a glass of iced water or soda water every other time you reach for a drink.