Sweet news! You can likely enjoy some added sugar and still follow a better nutrition program. The World Health Organization’s recommendation for daily added sugar intake is max six teaspoons. Reminder: “added” means any sweetness that doesn’t occur naturally in food and includes ingredients like high fructose corn syrup and honey. But just like spending your hard-earned dollars, learning to budget your added sugar allowance in a way that is best for your body is key. You will do better to choose better quality (closer to whole food form, non-GMO, no artificial ingredients) and spread those teaspoons out across nutrition pit stops.
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The first step to reducing daily added sugar consumption is finding out how much we are eating and where the added sugar is in our diet. Use the Better Sugar Evaluation to assess your current intake, and see how it’s impacting your health goals.
Next is mapping out your better added sugar budget. Whether you’re aiming for one teaspoon or six, sprinkle added sugar in at opportune times to avoid a spike and crash – the symptoms of which we have all likely experienced after overdoing it on junk food and desserts: crankiness, bloating and fatigue. It’s important to note that there is no need for added sugars in the diet. They don’t serve any physiological purpose so the less you eat the better.
We’re all unique in our relationships with sugar, whether it triggers cravings, GI troubles or it totally works in our diets in moderation. With your Better Sugar Evaluation results in mind, here are some ways to spend your better sugar budget better!
Away from your coffee! This might sound crazy, but sugar and coffee are not a match made in heaven. Caffeine can inhibit your body’s ability to process sugar and can trigger your blood sugar to shoot up even more as it may decrease the cell’s responsiveness to insulin. Teaspoon one is best served as a mid-morning snack about an hour after your morning coffee – like a Halvah Energy Ball or a teaspoon of jam on whole grain toast.
Alongside cinnamon. Sprinkling some of this warming spice on the added sugar snack or meal can help lower the amount of sugar in the blood after you haven’t eaten in a while – like in the morning after a night’s rest! Try a bowl of overnight oats with 1 teaspoon maple syrup, Califia Farms Unsweetened Almond Milk, fresh blueberries, pumpkin seeds and a generous sprinkle of cinnamon.
Alongside fiber, protein, and healthy fats. This dream team of nutrients all help to steady your energy levels and slow the absorption of sugar into the bloodstream. Try my Turmeric Spiced Baked Falafel for lunch, which has a creamy dressing vegan dressing made with just one teaspoon of added sugar – a great alternative to the sugar-laden bottled salad dressing that could max out your six teaspoons in just one serving!
After a tough workout. Some better quality added sugar can be used to restock the glycogen stores your body needs for enhanced athletic performance. If you work out in the afternoon, focus on foods that have a low glycemic index, and eat them at least two hours before hitting the gym like nut butter on whole wheat crackers. Just pay attention to labels to make sure you’re not getting more than one teaspoon.
With a rainbow of colors! At dinnertime, enjoy that teaspoon with a plethora of textures, colors, and flavors to up the satisfaction and satiety factor. I love the Evergreen Autumn Roasted Greens and Sweet Potato recipe since it is filled with so many different veggies and the spicy vinaigrette is perfectly balanced with just one teaspoon of maple syrup.
With a cup of herbal tea or hot water and lemon. Tea can help you slow down and savor a sweet flavor after dinner, such as a square of dark chocolate or EatingEvolved Caramel and Sea Salt Coconut Butter Cups – ½ package to stay within the limits. Sometimes tea with a drizzle of honey is enough to satisfy the sugar craving and give you the taste transition you want after a savory meal.
Want to skip the added sugar altogether, or minimize your teaspoons with more no added sugar meals or snacks? Check out the Better Don’t Pour Added Sugar on Me Menu for a week’s worth recipes!