Tips for Going Sugar-Free
- High Quality Protein helps to balance blood sugar. It keeps our blood sugar more stable so we don’t experience a rollercoaster of sugar highs and lows throughout the day. Sources of high quality protein include meat, chicken, fish, eggs, legumes (lentils, chickpeas, beans, tofu, tempeh), protein powders (whey, pea, rice), and lesser amounts are found in whole grains (quinoa, millet, buckwheat, amaranth, brown rice, oats), dairy products, nuts and seeds. Include a protein food with each meal and snack to prevent sugar cravings experienced with blood sugar imbalance.
- Good fats slow digestion and the release of sugar into our bloodstream. Fats are satiating, which stop us feeling hungry for much longer than carbohydrates. Healthy fats include avocado, olives, nuts (almonds, walnuts, Brazil nuts, macadamias, hazelnuts, pistachios, cashews, pecans), seeds (sunflower, pumpkin, chia, flax, sesame), eggs, meat, oily fish (salmon, mackerel, sardines, anchovies), full fat dairy products, and oils (coconut, olive, flax, avocado, macadamia). Incorporate 2 tablespoons into your meals and 1 tablespoon into your snacks to notice the difference.
- Natural Sugar Alternatives are perfect for satisfying your sweet tooth without the negative effects of refined sugar. Not only are natural alternatives not bad for you, they also contain some vitamins and minerals which are beneficial for the body. Natural sweeteners include honey, molasses, maple syrup, dates, coconut sugar and stevia. Replace all of the white sugar that you add to your food, with these healthy alternatives. I do not recommend agave syrup, rice malt syrup/rice syrup or sugar alcohols (xylitol, malitol, sorbitol, erythritol) – check out my blog ~ Sugar Cravings and Natural Sweeteners.
- Swap Fizzy Drinks with sugar-free beverages, but not the artificially sweetened ones! Try adding lemon, orange, lime, mint or berries to add some excitement to your water. If you really miss the fizz, you can use carbonated/soda water as a base and add flavours to taste. Make a healthy virgin mojito with ½ lime cut into wedges, 2 leaves of fresh mint, ½ teaspoon coconut sugar, cubes of ice, 100ml coconut water and 100ml sparkling water. Squeeze the lime wedges into the glass, add the wedges with the juice. Add the other ingredients, mix and serve.
- Sugar Free Breakfasts are the perfect start to the day, as your blood sugar will be more balanced for the entire day. Here are some sugar-free breakfast ideas: smoothie/protein shake, smoothie/acai bowl, fruit salad with Greek or coconut yoghurt with nuts, homemade muesli (oats, dried fruit, nuts, seeds and coconut – raw or toasted with coconut oil, cinnamon and honey) with fresh fruit and Greek or coconut yoghurt, homemade porridge with cinnamon and honey, or an omelette served with spinach, tomatoes and mushrooms – add salmon, bacon or organic sausage to make it more filling.
- Sugar Free Snacks will help you get through your busy day without experiencing slumps of low blood sugar. The perfect snack contains a small amount of all 3 macronutrients, carbohydrate, protein and fat, to keep our energy levels even. Here are some healthy snack ideas: fruit with nuts, chia pudding (chia seeds soaked overnight in almond/coconut milk with berries), vegetable sticks (carrot, celery, cucumber, capsicum, green beans) with hummus or peanut butter, or bliss balls/protein balls – check out my recipe ~ Salted Caramel Protein Balls.
- Construct a Healthy Meal (Lunch or Dinner). With all of the health foods and conflicting information out there, the simple art of creating a healthy meal is still complicated for so many people. Step 1: choose a protein, step 2: choose a carb, step 3: choose a fat and step 4: add loads of veggies (vegetables should comprise half of your meal). This ensures that you have a balance of protein, carbs and fat in all of your meals. For a detailed breakdown of how to construct a nutritious and delicious meal, check out my blog ~ Healthy Meal and Snack Ideas.
- Bitter and Sour foods are known to reduce sugar cravings and our desire for sweet foods. These foods with a bitter and sour flavour also happen to be really good for us and keep our liver healthy. Bitter foods include rocket (most green and raw vegetables), green tea, molasses, cacao powder/nibs and bitter herbs. Sour foods include lemons, limes, grapefruit, kiwifruit, apple cider vinegar and fermented foods e.g. sauerkraut, pickles, kombucha and kefir (coconut kefir, water kefir and milk kefir). Not to mention fermented foods are also a superfood for our digestive system.
- Fibre slows down digestion and the breakdown of foods, therefore, the rate at which sugar is released into our bloodstream upon digestion. Fibre keeps us fuller for longer, have you noticed that wholegrain bread is more filling than white bread? Fibre is found in all plant foods, eat more raw fruit (with skins), raw vegetables, salads, whole grains, oats, bran, brown rice, quinoa, buckwheat, legumes (lentils, chickpeas, beans), nuts and seeds. Tips: legumes bulk up meat dishes and greatly increase the fibre content. Always choose whole grain over white, heavier and denser is better.
- Resistant Starch is a type of fibre, along with soluble fibre and insoluble fibre. Although, resistant starch is in a class of its own, possessing qualities that are not found in the more well-known types of fibre. It feeds the good bacteria (probiotics) in our gut, acting as an effective prebiotic (food for probiotics). Resistant starch is found in high-carbohydrate foods, however, there’s a catch, you have to eat them cold. It is found in cooked and cooled potatoes (potato salad), cooked and cooled rice (sushi) and green bananas (add to a smoothie). Check out my blog ~ Resistant Starch… the New Fibre?
- Cinnamon is known for balancing blood sugar and reducing insulin. Sprinkle cinnamon on hot drinks, add to smoothies, use in porridge, cereal and bliss balls. Here is an amazing Gingerbread Bliss Ball recipe: 2 cups walnuts, 3 cups almond meal, 8 pitted Medjool dates, ½ cup melted coconut oil, 2 teaspoons coconut flour, 2 teaspoons vanilla extract, 1 teaspoon cardamom, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, ½ teaspoon ground ginger and 2 pinches pink Himalayan salt. Process everything until a sticky dough forms, roll into balls, toss through desiccated coconut and store in the fridge.
- Become an Energiser Bunny naturally without relying on sugar-laden pick-me-ups! Here are my favourite 3 natural energy boosters: Cacao contains a natural stimulant called theobromine, the darker the chocolate, the higher the theobromine content. Green tea contains a small amount of caffeine, however, it also contains a natural relaxant called theanine to counteract the caffeine that is present. It is less stimulating than coffee but still gives us a small boost. Coconut oil contains medium-chain-fats which are converted immediately to energy upon consumption and not stored as fat. Check out my blog ~ How to Be an Energiser Bunny.
- Smoothies, you are only limited by your imagination! Here are my favourite combos… Green Smoothie: 1 frozen banana, baby spinach, vanilla protein powder and about 1.5 cups of water. Berry Protein Smoothie: 1 cup frozen mixed berries, 1 teaspoon chia seeds + 1 teaspoon flaxseeds soaked in ½ cup water in the fridge overnight, 1 tablespoon acai powder, plain/vanilla protein powder and 1 cup almond or coconut milk. Chocolate Protein Shake: ½ frozen banana, 1 tablespoon cacao powder, a sprinkle of cinnamon, chocolate protein powder and 1 cup almond or coconut milk.
Liv teaches our short course – Eating for Better Health.