ICYMI, sugar is not good for you! That’s why finding ways to reduce sugar intake in the day is so important for your health and wellbeing. If you consume excess sugar, you run the risk of increasing disease, wreaking havoc on your blood sugar levels, and feeling drained and cranky shortly after.
Plus, you’ll likely feel hungry after whatever sugary food you ate and might end up eating more calories than you’d like, which can lead to weight gain and inflammation over time. Ugh.
The good news? You can easily lower sugar intake in the day by making a few simple swaps and keeping your diet clean and nutritious. Here are a few tips to follow to ditch the sweets and load up on wholesome eats, instead.
1. Quit the sweet drinks
Sure, a green juice with leafy greens, avocado, and some nut butter might be hearty and filling, as it’s packed with protein, nutrients, and good fats, but drinking tons of fruity juices will leave you with gram after gram of sugar and very little nutrition to hold you over. The same goes for sugary drinks in general, like sugary cocktails and sodas. Use lower-calorie and low-sugar mixers for drinks, like soda water.
In general, stick with water (you can sweeten with fresh fruit or use herbs and citrus) or use sweetener alternatives to sweeten beverages, like monk fruit, stevia, and erythritol, all of which don’t affect blood sugar levels.
2. Be careful of processed foods
Read labels! Lots of processed foods, condiments, baked goods, and snack bars have a ton of sugar and carbohydrates, which can lead to inflammation and weight gain. Make sure to find products with low total sugar and with low or no added sugars if possible. FitJoy protein bars taste indulgent, like a desert, but only have 5g of sugar a bar, with no artificial sweeteners. Plus, the net carb count is low, too, with just 6g net carbs.
3. Indulge in treats wisely
Craving a donut? Well, swap it out for some nice cream with sprinkles! (That’s ice cream made of banana, or you can get a low-calorie, low-sugar, healthy alternative.) Want some OJ? Add a splash of it to sparkling water rather than drinking a full glass.
You can still have sugar and not feel deprived, but find the right swaps for healthier picks that are naturally sweetened and lower in sugar than something highly processed and packed with the bad stuff.
When you do want something sweet, go for fresh fruit with whip cream or a square or two of dark chocolate. Snack on a sweet protein bar, like FItJoy’s, which taste like dessert but actually have tons of nutrition to fill you up and satisfy the craving.
4. Split splurges with a buddy
For your favorite goodies, enjoy in moderation and split with a pal. If you are dining out and love the chocolate lava cake from the dessert menu, order it for the table and split with a friend or two. Three bites—that’s all you need! That way, you’re reducing sugar intake while still enjoying food. Because that's one of the beauties of life, right?
Isadora Baum is a freelance writer, certified health coach, and author of 5-Minute Energy. She can't resist a good sample, a margarita, a new HIIT class, or an easy laugh. She writes for various magazines, such as Men's Health, Women's Health, SELF, LIVESTRONG, POPSUGAR, Allure, Health, Cooking Light, and more. Learn more about her on her website: isadorabaum.com.