Ask Living It Up – November 2014

799px-Glaspalast_München_1891_062 - Secret Correspondence - public domain - Carl von Bergen
Dear Living It Up,

Sugar is everywhere and in everything. What can I do to make sure that my family and I are not getting too much added sugar.

Sweet But Low

Dear Sweet But Low,

Avoiding too much sugar can actually be tasty and easy. The first step is to relax and to breathe.

You certainly want to incorporate the right types and amounts of sugar into your diet. Look carefully at your diet and what your family is eating. Look for the biggest opportunities to cut back on sugar without making yourself or your family miserable. Cut back on sodas first and reduce the serving size. Don’t go for the huge servings at fast food restaurants and service stations.

Next, focus on getting rid of all sugary sodas and diet drinks. Start by switching from sodas to fruit flavored waters. If you want to save money and keep plastic bottles out of the ocean, all you have to do is pour yourself a glass of water, add ice and a teaspoon of lemon or apple juice. You can also do this with carbonated bottle water.

Cut down on prepared and packaged foods. Plan simple one pan or skillet meals that you can make in 20 minutes or less. Cut down on pastries and baked goods. Use yogurt and fresh fruit for dessert. Bake with your children and make lower sugar baked goods using alternative sweeteners or fruit and nuts. Start switching to a Mediterranean diet – low sodium soups, whole wheat pasta, vegetables, fish, chicken, olive oil, and nuts.

Move away from sugary boxed cereals. Switch to oatmeal with fruit or milk. Don’t add brown sugar. Buy unsweetened granola and cereal mixes. Avoid hot cocoa mixes that have sugar added. A small amount of real maple syrup on pancakes or oatmeal in the morning can be a real treat.

The important thing is live in balance. Reducing added sugar should not be another source of stress, anxiety or strife in your household. Educate you family members and ask them what they think you can do as individuals and as a family.

Living It Up