Sneaky sugar sources
You might think that when it comes to eating sugar, you’re doing a pretty good job. If you resist baked goods, sodas, candy, and chips, kudos, you’ve taken a big step in the right direction.
Yet there are sneaky sources of sugar hiding everywhere, especially in packaged foods—including the ones you might think are “healthy.” With the help of nutritionists, here are some strategies for retaining flavor while shedding the white stuff. And keep an eye out for the seven signs of high blood sugar.
Make your own breakfast cereal
Most packaged breakfast cereals, granolas, and oatmeals contain lots of calories, carbohydrates, and plain sugar. That morning sugar can cause a spike that will lead to an energy crash at the office a few hours later. You’ll end up hungry again, in search of more sugar, explains Autumn Ehsaei, a dietician and nutritionist in North Carolina.
Here’s a fix. Make your own cereal, she says. “Instead of a packet of sweetened oatmeal, make your own plain oatmeal and flavor it yourself,” she says. You can start with pure, rolled oats or unsweetened instant oatmeal mix.
If you can’t resist that sugary favorite, she says, “consider buying one that is maybe sweeter, and combine it with another that has little to no added sugars. You will still feel satisfied by the sweetness, but it’s less than you would normally eat,” Ehsaei explains.
Get a healthy, no sugar-added box of oats and you use it in numerous healthy ways in your meals. (And bonus! Eating oatmeal in the morning helps you burn calories all day long.)
Flavor your water
Infusing water or seltzer with flavors from fruit, herbs, and veggies—think cucumbers, lemons, watermelon, grapefruit, mint—enhances the flavor without adding sugar, and you even get a little nutritional lift. “If you want a flavored beverage, use just a splash of whatever it is you like with plain tea, sparkling water, or regular water. You’ll still have taste, but minimize the added sugars,” explains Ehsaei.
If you need inspiration, try one of these fruit-infused water recipes for a refreshing, sweet treat in the day.