No Added Sugar Challenge!
Oh heyyyyyyy! Who's ready to smash this challenge with me?! No Added Sugar. Let's go.
Is this your first time? Maybe you've done this before?
Here's my promise: if you actually cut all added sugars (and don't eat a bunch of pizza and fries which btw are basically sugar in your body), you will see results, either fat loss, inches lost, pounds lost, better energy, clearer skin, better mood, sleep. Really everything in life improves without sugar!
At first quitting sugar can be challenging. Your body will crave it! Sugar acts on the reward center of the brain, hitting the same neuroreceptors that drugs, sex and shopping hit. The problem is that it becomes addictive.
Have you ever felt like you couldn't stop eating sugar? Have you craved it? These are signs you are "addicted" in a sense.
You need carbs. But guess what? You don't need sugar.
This week will challenge you both physically and mentally. If you have habits such as a morning muffin and coffee everyday, you will have to modify the routine. Try a LaraBar (one without chocolate chips since theirs have sugar) and a coffee.
I also love to have a high-protein breakfast like this protein pancake topped with a little peanut butter, banana slices, plain Greek yogurt and a dash of cinnamon. Tastes like a decadent treat. Check out my basic recipe here.
Crave ice cream every night? Munch on sweet strawberries and a piece of Lily's dark chocolate to help. Or Greek yogurt with a sprinkle of cinnamon, blueberries & cacao nibs.
You have to re-train your taste buds so be patient. By week two, tomatoes will taste super sweet to you. :)
Focus on eating lots of lean protein - eggs, egg whites, chicken, turkey, salmon, shrimp, high quality protein powders, healthy fats like avocado, walnuts, almond or cashew butter, complex carbs like quinoa, sweet potato, brown rice, barley, lentils. And veggies. Eat all the veggies!
This helps your blood sugar stay even throughout the day, minimizes cravings and satiates you.
Most crackers contain added sugar so read your ingredient list. Two brands I love are Mary's Gone Crackers and Flackers. Both are higher in healthy fats (if you're one of my clients, these are perfect for a low day.)
Make a little tuna salad with some non-fat Greek yogurt, capers, fresh lemon juice and parsley. Drip crackers or cucumbers in it for a tasty lunch.
When you need a sweet treat, use fruit. I keep fresh berries, freeze-dried apple and banana slices and unsweetened dried mango in my pantry for the first week. Fruit actually has a lot of sugar so be careful to not overdo it. Also, you can have a date for a sweet treat, but again don't eat 10 dates every day on your no added sugar challenge. :)
A great snack is sliced apples and/or freeze-dried apples dipped in non-fat Greek yogurt with a little cinnamon mixed in!
I also love these Noka packs which provide quick fuel on the go and natural sweetness.
Watch out for added sugar everywhere:
- coffee shops - dairy milks are safe, unfortunately most non-diary milks have added sugar - so ask to see the carton, the barista won't mind. It's your body. Be aware of what you're putting in it.
- condiments - mayo, ketchup, relish - if these are at a restaurant, they have sugar - unless you've bought a sugar free version for yourself, stay away
- salad dressings - at restaurants - that "lime vinaigrette" probably has a touch of sugar or honey. ask for olive oil and vinegar/lemon. at home - Primal Kitchens brand makes great dressings
Most importantly, HAVE FUN with this challenge. This isn't about driving yourself insane trying to be perfect. If you accidentally (or intentionally) eat some sugar, shake it off like T. Swift does, and get back at it.
Attempting to eat no added sugars will help you learn so much about the food you are eating and how the food industry manipulates us (even healthy food companies add sugar to their foods but use more healthy sounding versions of sugar.)
Focus on what you CAN eat and use it as an opportunity to nourish your body with the best food possible because you are WORTH it.
You will feel amazing eating this way!