Question: How can I reduce the sugar in my family's diet?
Karen Prior responds: We all know that sugar is considered to be "empty calories." While it sure can make foods taste good, it adds no nutritional value to the foods we eat. Sugar is used by the body for energy, but too much sugar can cause health problems and weight gain.
The first step to reducing your family’s sugar consumptions is to reduce the amount of added sugar you consume.
• Read labels. If sugar (under any name) is listed as one of the first two ingredients, then avoid or dramatically limit consumption of that food item. Sugar can hide in ingredient lists as syrup, honey, corn sweetener, corn syrup, fruit juice concentrate, high-fructose corn syrup, evaporated cane juice and a whole host of words ending in "-ose." Also watch out for "fat-free" snacks, since sugar is usually substituted for fat to make the foods taste good.
• Buy 100% fruit juice instead of fruit-flavored beverages. Dilute them with water. Many nutrition experts recommend limiting juice to 8 ounces per day.
• Buy a small package of cookies rather than the economy size. When they are gone, that is it until the next shopping trip! When you do buy cookies and sweets, opt for those made with natural ingredients rather than processed ingredients. Processed ingredients and processed flours are converted to sugar in the body almost as quickly as plain sugar.
• Try stocking the house with healthier snacks like choices like popcorn, whole grain crackers, fresh fruit, berries, veggies to dip and cheese sticks.
• Mix sugar-packed breakfast cereals half and half with healthier cereals.
• Use fresh fruit to sweeten plain yogurt, rather than buying flavored and sweetened yogurt.
• Reduce sugar in recipes when baking. You can often reduce sugar by two-thirds without missing it.
© Karen Prior.
Karen Prior’s impressive breadth of knowledge in the therapeutic uses of yoga, nutrition and prenatal fitness is backed by solid credentials: she is a registered yoga teacher with the Yoga Alliance, a member of the International Association of Yoga Therapists, a clinical nutritionist and a retired La Leche League leader. Karen runs a Registered Yoga School, where she offers specialized training in prenatal yoga and yoga for children through her programs MamasteYoga and Let'sPlayYoga. Karen lives in Texas with her husband and young daughter.
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