Sugar. It’s everywhere, and it’s the new evil if all the headlines are to be believed. I’d never really given it much thought until BB was born and I suddenly found myself thinking about what was in the food I was giving her, but even then I’ve been fairly laid back about it – especially given what used to be ok before the sugar police took over.
I distinctly remember big slabs of sticky toffee pudding at school dinners, jam sandwiches in my lunch box and cream-filled biscuits accompanying morning milk. You wouldn’t get any of those in schools now.
But it’s really only since I’ve been writing about food and drink brands for The Grocer magazine that I’ve realised how much hidden sugar there is in things – like supposedly healthy fruit juice with more sugar than a can of coke. With the new year underway I’ve decided to try and make a concerted effort to cut down on the amount of sugar we’re eating as a family, but without cutting out the fun.
We’re doing it with these 5 easy ways to eat less sugar:
1. Bake with inulin. Regular followers will know we LOVE making cakes, but the trouble is sugar is one of the main ingredients. Inulin powder is dietary fibre derived from chicory root which you can use as a substitute for sugar – and it actually works! You can get it from health food shops and online, and I’ve even seen it on eBay.
2. Eat berries. At the moment the only fruit I’m eating is berries. Strawberries, blueberries and raspberries all contain less sugar than grapes, bananas or mangoes. I’m not suggesting you never eat these fruits again, or cut them out of a child’s diet completely, but if you make yourself aware of the sugar content of different fruits you can opt for the lower sugar ones.
3. Try Change4Life’s new Sugar Smart app. This is a brand new and free app which scans the barcode of a product and tells you how much sugar it contains. It also gives you guidelines on how much sugar children of a certain age should be eating in a day, so you can work out whether a particular product is ‘good’ or not. Here’s a little vlog of BB and I trying it out.
4. Swap colourful vegetables for green vegetables. Like berries, veg like broccoli, courgette and cabbage all have less sugar than the more colourful ones like carrots, sweetcorn and red peppers. Knowing what contains what will help you cut your sugar intake.
5. Snack on foods containing fat and protein, not sugar. Foods containing good fat like avocados and foods high in protein like nuts will keep your blood sugar levels stable and keep you feeling fuller for longer, instead of the peaks and crashes you get with high-sugar snacks like a bar of chocolate.
The trouble is a bar of chocolate is my absolute favourite afternoon snack. A Wispa would be my number one choice, closely followed by a raisin & biscuit Yorkie. Must. Try. To. Resist.
I was asked to trial Change4Life’s Sugar Smart app in return for a shopping voucher. As always all opinions are my own and based on my own honest experience. To find out more about the campaign and for recipes and vouchers click here
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