For New Years we decided to cut out any processed sugar from our diets. It has been about two weeks so we wanted to give everyone an update on how we are doing and some go to snacks and treats we have been enjoying. To begin with, we are healthy eaters in general and try and make good decisions in terms of what food we buy and what sweets we allow ourselves to eat. But, after doing some research and a few trips to the grocery store, we were both shocked by what we would normally deem healthy, actually have a lot of sugar.
The item we were most shocked by was Greek yogurt. We occasionally have this for breakfast or as a mid-afternoon snack. But we hadn’t actually realized how much sugar is hiding in most Greek yogurts, mainly the flavored ones. They can have more sugar than a bowl of ice cream. We used to eat these for breakfast, which is to say we were basically going over our sugar limit first thing in the morning. Here is a website that we looked at that gave us better insight into what is in Greek yogurt and which brands/types are better for you. Instead of buying flavored Greek yogurt we now stick to plain and add fruit or a dash of honey to sweeten it naturally.
Another food that we swapped with a healthier alternative is cereal. We switched to granola or muesli. Cereal again has a lot of sugar, but is worse at hiding it, as it was usually the second ingredient listed on the cereals we like (even the ones that claim to be healthier). We have been trying to buy granola that doesn’t have too many ingredients and is sweetened with agave, maple syrup, or honey. These are the ones we are currently enjoying.
Lunch and dinner haven’t been much of a problem for us as we typically cook our own meals and use whole and natural ingredients. The one thing we switched was what bread we were buying to make sandwiches since some brands do contain processed sugar. We try and look for bread that is made with 100% whole wheat and that doesn’t contain any processed sugar (high fructose corn syrup, sugar). We’ve been eating the Ezekiel sprouted grain bread and have been enjoying the more natural taste it has. Here is another website that was helpful when choosing which bread to buy.
The hardest part of this challenge was our love for an after dinner sweet treat. We haven’t exactly cut it out completely, but we have had fun in the kitchen experimenting with adding unrefined sugar (agave, maple syrup, honey, coconut sugar) to different cookie recipes. At the beginning of the new year, we gathered up any cookies, chocolate, and crackers that had a lot of sugar or used processed sugar and put them away in the closet. We haven’t dipped into the bag yet, and by making our own treats we have been able to satisfy out sweet tooth without breaking our resolution. It’s surprising that after doing this for a while, we’ve really stopped craving some of the processed snacks we used to enjoy.
You can check out my Pinterest board Sweets and Treats for some recipe ideas (not all of them use unrefined sugar so just be wary! We’ve been trying to sub in unrefined sugar) Our favorite has been these peanut butter and coconut cookies from My Happy Place.
Check back as the month goes on for more updates and possibly some recipes using unrefined sugar. We encourage you all to try out some recipes subbing out processed sugar for unprocessed, and to look carefully at the ingredient lists on your favorite foods– you never know what you might find. These past few weeks have really made us more critical in what we buy and snack on. We will continue to update you as we learn more!