Post # 1
I’m looking to reduce the sugar in our family’s diet, and I know it’s gonna be hard. Mostly because we have a picky two year old (typical, I know he’ll eventually grow out of it), a growing ten year old boy, and my SO is a junk food junkie, and resists ‘healthy’ foods at every turn. We’re on a budget, like so many other families these days, and let’s face it, healthier foods tend to be more expensive than junk food, unfortunately. Sigh.
So, my question to you ladies is what are some relatively painless ways to switch to less sugary foods? What fruits and veggies have the lowest sugar content? And which ones should we try to limit/avoid?
I know the obvious stuff, like cutting sodas, sugary juices and drinks, etc, and drinking more water. I don’t forsee cutting the junk food out as the biggest obstacle. Replacing them with healthier, fullfilling options seems to be the more daunting of tasks.
Help?? Please?? Thanks! 🙂
Post # 3
I actually disagree with the comment that healthy foods cost more than junk food – but, that’s a topic for a different thread.
I think if the junk is in the house it will be eaten. You can start by weaning your family off junk food – meaning, have it less available.
The junk will always be consumed first. But, if there isn’t junk to eat, they’ll HAVE to start finding other things they like to eat.
It’s hard at first – mostly because sugar is addictive and hard to kick.
I wouldn’t be so concerned with figuring out which fruits/vegetables have lower sugar content as I would just getting them in the house. I’d just start trying tons of different things and see what your family gravitates to… Veggies typically have lower sugar than fruit, so the more veggies you can do (carrots, celery, broccoli, cauliflower, etc.) the better off you’ll be. I’d try to stay away from potatoes (because they are so starchy), but everything else is great!
A good reference is the glycemic index chart where it gives each food a rating (lots available online if you google glycemic index chart).
Edit: I’ll also say, I’m not a mom – but I can imagine the increased challenge of getting your kids to change their eating habits… but, it’s possible and you can do it!
Post # 4
One of the other things you should watch out for is fruit juices as well. I know it sounds a little counterintuitive because everyone looks at juice as “healthy,” but lots of them have added sugar and drinking ones without added sugar adds up pretty quickly.
Whole fruits are much better (regardless of the type), and watermelon is actually a negative calorie food! I LOVE watermelon and I eat tons of it! Let me know if you want some more tips…Fiance is more knowledgeable about diet and nutrition that I ever hope to be 😀
Post # 5
MarksDailyApple.com is a great resource (Primal nutrition, cutting out sugar is key in this!), check out this page from it for some step-by-step ways to get started and stick with it. Good for you for making this choice!!
Post # 6
It sounds like you already have a pretty good game plan (cutting out junk food), and I agree with PP about watching out for sugary fruit juices. I would say: veggies, veggies, veggies! And there are a lot of alternatives out there for healthier versions of junkier foods – healthy chicken tenders that you can easily make at home, etc. One thing I recently discovered that I am obsessed with is a bit of Greek yogurt with unsweetened cocoa powder. Fairly low in sugar, but it gets a flavor punch from the cocoa!
Anyway, my Fiance and I are trying to lead a fairly Primal lifestyle, so PM me if have other questions! 🙂
Post # 7
@littlemissmango: Yes!!! I was writing my response while you posted, so I didn’t see it 🙂 yay other paleos
Post # 8
I have hypoglycemia and I try to watch my sugar as best as I can. I find that another thing that really helps out is watching carbs–> those turn to sugar too.
It’s better to have whole grain for sure as it takes longer for your body to break that down into sugar, whereas having a plate of white bread or pasta will make your body act like you just ate a candy bar!
Post # 9
Agreed on the juice. SO many juices out there have added sugar and are barely 10% real juice. We have started checking labels carefully and only buy 100% juice now.
May I ask why you are cutting sugar in particular? Has someone recently been diagnosed with diabetes?
Trying to change to a healthier diet vs trying to cut sugar bc of diabetes are two different things.
And I agree, out of sight, out of mind. Don’t buy junk food then they will not eat it!
Instead by trail mixes, DIY a chex mix in lieu of buying chips.
Buy a bunch of different fruits until you find one your family likes. Think apple slices with peanut butter dip for the kids.
And start first with you and your husband. Lead by example.
There’s no need to cut out ALL “junk food”.
You can do pizza, just don’t do the greasy pepperoni from your local pizzeria.
Make your own pizza at home with whole wheat dough, a slight amount of EVOO, some ham slices and pineapple. Or just mushrooms and spinach.
Post # 10
Also, I suggest cutting the PB out and using Almond Butter instead!
Post # 11
I was on a diet program which cuts sugar and white flour out of your diet. The main thing that they told us was when reading the ingredients make sure that whatever sugar/fructose/brown sugar etc. was listed as the 5th ingredient or beyond. And go for whole wheat instead of white/enriched/bleached flour.
Post # 12
I have a hard time cutting out sweets because I have the biggest sweettooth and I love to bake. Depending on your religion, Lent is coming up and that could be a way to say hey.. “we’re giving up soda and candy for the next two months as a family” and then just never reintroduce it into the house except for special occassions.
my best thoughts….
Learn to read labels on things you buy and go shopping alone whenever possible and when you can go for an hour or so so that you can take time to read labels without distractions.
Avoid as many “prepacked” foods as possible. If you want cookies, bake ones and cut a bit of the sugar and add in some healthier options like oats and peanut butter (natual pb, like skippy has less sugar & fat than the reduced fat and traditional brand).
Introduce veggies in fun, unexpected ways like in pasta dishes or in quiche. Or, with a sprinkle of cheese. Also, sometimes people don’t like them cooked a certain way so try to figure that out and then when someone wants a snack you can offer a veggie and dip or maybe a cracker and cheese instead of a cookie.
As for cutting out chips and such… consider buying tortillas and baking them for your own version that you can season how ever with some cooking spray and spices. Also, popcorn makes a great snack that has no added sugar if you make it on the stove and not from a micro pack.
Best of luck!
Post # 13
I am going to just give random advice- whatever I can think of. I am a long time recovering sugar head. Big time.
Learn to buy plain yogurt and add fruit, honey, or maple syrup. Avoid “yoplait” and such that claims to be good for you. If you can’t afford the organic, go for Dannon- they make a plain with decent ingredients. Make smoothies. Add a very ripe bananna and blueberries, buy them organic and frozen. Watch for the sales. Frozen berries are a great option. I buy bananas and spinach, you can’t even tell the spinach is in there and both are affordable- even organic spinach. Learn to eat oat meal that you put the same fruit, honey, or real maple on. (At least these are healthy sugars.) If you need sugar for some things, get the RAW sugar.
Only buy whole wheat- some of them taste good, especially whole wheat grainy breads- so it isn’t so “wheaty.” Slowly learn more recipies. One of my favorites is making my own thai peanut sauce. Buy peanut butter like the “Smuckers Natural with Honey,” (has some sugar, go with just peanut -peanut butter if you want and add honey), lite coconut milk, and some curry and garlic and soy sauce and apple cider vinegar- with stir fry veggies and brown rice- this meal is SO good- add chicken if you want- with this meal I have been able to get people who don’t eat veggies to love them.
Also, roasting veggies is fantastic. Just google it. It makes them sweet and delicious. Just toss them with olive oil and salt and pepper, or balsamic if that is your taste. Learning to bring out their natural sugars and brown them will change them for the better.
I also learned that when I am craving sugar it is usually just hunger. I used to just go for the sugar, but I am trying to avoid refined sugar completely now. Just try to not have any, but use honey or maple if you really need something (I put honey in my chai). When you take fat and oil and sugar out, you have to learn to use spices to make up for those tastes that are lost. Also, eggs are affordable, even organic ones. I make lots of things with eggs! I would cut soda and look to tea. Tea is SO comforting, something I used to turn to sugar for.
Try junk food alternatives like popcorn instead of chips- so at least you/ your family is getting some fiber from it. I also learned to make a healthy apple crisp or banana bread with honey- so that at least I am getting some fruit with my sweet attack. Good luck!
Post # 14
The site/blog: everydaypaleo.com is also a great resource for feeding a family and healthy options that are kid-friendly. She also addresses some challenges of keeping things healthy for her kids – I think it could be a great resource for you!
Post # 15
Sorry for the late reply, just got home from the part time j-o-b.
Thanks, everyone for all the great advice and tips! I’m saving this to my favorites, so I can reference it quickly!
And @Gerbera:, I wanted to start with cutting sugar for two main reasons. It seems to be my family’s weakness as far as our eating habits go, and my mother was recently diagnosed with type II diabetes, and as I’m at risk for developing it as well, I figured why not take a proactive step, just in case. Either way, cutting sugar will be good for all of us in the long run.
Thanks again, ladies, and keep ’em comin’!
Post # 16
We try to focus on eating “whole” foods, meaning foods that haven’t been processed. It’s hard, and unrealistic, to do this 100% of the time, but if you are making and effort to do so, you probably will. If you are eating whole, unprocessed or minimally processed foods, your’re going to get the most nutrients and the least added sugar. Yes, fruit NATURALLY has a lot of sugar in it, but it’s natural.
Once you start feeding your body the nutrients it needs, you stop craving things like sugar drinks and snacks.
Also agree with whoever said just don’t even bring it in the house! Whenever I bake, I keep a couple of cookies here for us but send the rest to work with my husband 🙂