Sugar, soooo sweet and delicious. It’s what makes people love a nice chocolate bar, vanilla frosted cupcakes, soda, a bowl of spaghetti. Wait, what?!?! I’m all for treats but sometimes sugar can be sooooo sneaky (okay, I know it’s those clever manufacturers) that it’s in food items that seem like a healthier choice. To up your food savvy, take a look at some of your standard fare for meals and snacks to make a healthier swap.
Here are some ways to tell if a food item has unnecessary sugar:
- If the food is not supposed to be “sweet” but has sugar on the ingredient list, ie, pasta sauce, peanut butter, bread, whole grain cereal, salad dressing, soup. Don’t be fooled either…sugar comes in many forms such as cane juice, maple syrup, agave, coconut sugar, brown rice syrup, anything ending in “ose”… to your health, it is all sugar.
- It’s low-fat or labeled a “diet” food – they have to make it taste good somehow, so manufacturers often up the sugar.
- A good rule of thumb is that if sugar is in the first three ingredients, and/or it has multiple types of sugar listed, keep searching.
So all you food savvy Flourishers, take back control of your sugar intake! Pick one item from your fridge or pantry that falls in the “sneaky” category and find a healthier alternative this week, either by purchasing a healthier item, or going the simple homemade route. Here are two suggestions to get you started:
- Pasta sauce – there are now many alternatives to choose from if you want to purchase a sauce with out any added sugar, but this is the perfect time of year to try a simple diy alternative. Sautee up some onions and garlic in oil, toss in fresh cherry tomatoes and let them get all nice and carmelized. Season with fresh basil and toss with your favorite whole wheat pasta.
- Yogurt – if your yogurt is any color but white, time to find a new yogurt. Purchase plain yogurt and sweeten yourself with any flavored jam you like. And because you are now in control, you can start tweaking how much jam you add, working towards reducing the amount to a healthier level.