By now, many of us understand the benefits of cutting down on sugar! It could help you lose weight, prevent health issues like diabetes and heart disease, and even benefit your immune system. It’s all well and good knowing that sugar is bad for you but cutting down can be easier said than done! This month is Sugar Free February, so at The Insurance Emporium, we thought we’d share our top tips for how to cut down on sugar!
First thing’s first, you’re going to need to be clear on exactly what you’re giving up. After all, many foods such as fruit and milk contain naturally occurring sugars, and these aren’t bad for you. The sugars you’ll want to avoid are known as free sugars or added sugars, the type you’re likely to find in many soft drinks. To make things even more complicated, just because sugar is naturally occurring doesn’t mean it’s good for you, either. Take honey, for example. Although it’s natural, the high sugar content isn’t necessarily healthy, and it’s probably one to avoid for Sugar Free February.
Drop the ready meals
Ready meals are an easy alternative to cooking, but they can also be packed with sugar! When you cook for yourself, you have a much better idea of what’s going into your food. It can be more rewarding too, and help you cut down on other unhealthy ingredients like salt and saturated fat. If you don’t have time to cook every night, make sure you…
… Check the ingredients
If you’re going to eat ready meals, make sure you check the ingredients before you buy. Not all ready meals are created equal! Some may rely less on salt, saturated fat and sugar for their flavours than others. It can be surprising just how many different foods may contain added sugars: soups, bread and processed meats, to name a few! The NHS recommends consuming no more than 5% of your daily calories as sugar – around 30g – so check the ingredients of your food to ensure you’re not going over this amount.
If you decide to cook more often, using whole foods and fresh ingredients can help to reduce your sugar intake! Again, if you’re using anything pre-prepared, check the ingredients to make sure they don’t contain too much added sugar. Cooking from scratch with fresh ingredients is a great way to reduce your sugar intake, as you’ll know exactly what is going into each meal.
Many of us are prone to snacking through the day, whether that’s at work, on the drive home, or in front of the television! There’s nothing necessarily wrong with this behaviour, but you can easily cut down on the sugar by choosing the right kinds of snacks! Nuts, like almonds, pistachios and peanuts are packed with protein, fibre and good fats. Houmous tastes great, especially when paired with carrot sticks for a healthy treat. Cheese can also be a great source of calcium and protein, when eaten in moderation!
You’ll have no doubt heard about the sugar tax on drinks in Britain. Supermarkets now charge more for full sugar versions of popular soft drinks which could contain around 35g of sugar in a 330ml can! Even fruit juices, which might seem healthy, can be laden with sugar, while missing the healthy fibre found in the fruits they’re made from. Switching to sugar-free alternatives or better yet, water, can keep you healthier while saving you money!
It’s not all doom and gloom! Instead of treating Sugar Free February as a time to avoid sugar, why not look at it as a month of trying new foods? If you’ve got a sweet tooth, lots of fruits contain healthier naturally occurring sugars, as well as fibre, and many of us could do with eating more fruit to reach our five-a-day! Yoghurts are another healthy source of sugar, but if you’re used to eating the flavoured variety, try switching to plain yoghurts. Although they contain sugar, it’s naturally occurring in the milk.
Although it’s a lofty goal, completely giving up on added sugar is probably not going to happen after Sugar Free February. Instead, try and make healthy long-term changes to your diet and lifestyle which you’ll be able to keep up for the long haul. Try cooking at home more often and making wiser snacking decisions, while coming to terms with the fact that the occasional dessert isn’t necessarily as bad as you might think.
We hope this blog helps you keep up with your Sugar Free February! While giving up on sugar is often a healthy choice, we’d always recommend checking with your doctor before making any large dietary changes. At The Insurance Emporium, we provide a range of specialist insurance products to help protect the things you love. From cats to caravans and horses to holes in one, take a look at our product pages to see if we have the right insurance for you!
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