It’s amazing how much sugar we consume on a daily basis. Most of us don’t even realize all the places that sugar can hide, which is one reason it’s so important to learn how to reduce your sugar intake.
Americans on average eat more than 150 lbs of sugar per year.
That’s a lot.
Now, I know that most of us are not going around dumping sugar on top of all our food, but sadly, food companies are adding it to nearly everything. You can find loads of sugar in places that are not so obvious, like pasta sauce, bread, frozen foods, salad dressings, alternative milk, and condiments.
While it can be quite tricky to avoid all sugar, it is very possible to reduce the amount of sugar you’re eating without entirely eliminating it.
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How To Reduce Your Sugar Intake.
1. Read Your Labels
Scan your labels for everything packaged that you buy. You will find that some brands have more sugar than others. Notice that spaghetti sauce, ketchup, canned fruit, juices, applesauce, yogurt, etc. all can have a high amount of added sugar.
2. Only Have Sugar At Dessert
Consider making sugar something that you only consume when you have dessert. This makes a lot of sense but will take some effort to put into practice. If you know, though, that you only have it at dessert time, it will help minimize the squabbles from the kids. It’s a great thing for them to learn anyways.
The easiest thing to do when it comes to drinks is to only drink water. Drinking diet soda keeps your appetite for sugar alive and actually makes it harder to go without. If you like to have juice with your breakfast or other times, dilute it with water gradually until it is at 50%. Something nice to do is use seltzer water like LaCroix to dilute it. My kids love to drink their juice this way.
It’s best to buy 100% juice, but keep in mind that a glass of juice has a lot of sugar, even though it is natural sugar.
This may be a tough one, but learn to drink your coffee without sweeteners as well. I realized that I was going back for multiple cups of coffee just because I wanted the sugar hit. I thought I wouldn’t be able to drink my coffee without sugar, but I’ve been drinking my coffee with just cream for over 9 months now. I really don’t miss the sugar anymore, either.
Avoid eating sweetened Cereals, instant oatmeal, and yogurts. Instead, eat eggs, toast, breakfast sausage, or potatoes. These things are not quite as fast as opening a box of cereal, but you can always make breakfast casseroles ahead of time and eat it all week, or have breakfast burritos by preparing the fillings on the weekend. I can make scrambled eggs in the time it takes for the toast to pop up, so they’re really not that much work.
If you really need the convenience, buy cereals like Cheerios, Corn Flakes, and Rice Krispies. They are pretty low in sugar and you won’t need to add any on top. They taste pretty sweet on their own to me. Quick oats are very fast to make in the microwave, too. Try sweetening your oatmeal with applesauce, frozen fruit, or a small amount of honey.
It can be tempting to grab a muffin or candy bar at snack time, but those grams of sugar add up really fast. There are so many other healthy snacks to grab that have no sugar. Keep a stash of these in your desk drawer or purse to help with your temptation. Having something always on hand will keep you from reaching out for a tempting sugary snack when hunger hits. Try out some of these:
- Hummus and Veggies
- Fruit Cups
- Rice Cakes w/ Nut Butter
- 120 Healthy Snacks For Kids (not just for kids)
6. Make Your Own Desserts
If you make your own desserts, you’ll be able to control how much sugar you include. I make smoothies for my kids without adding any sweeteners (freeze some overripe bananas just for smoothies). I try to make a big batch, then freeze the extra in these fun popsicle molds. We also have traditional ones like these.
If you make baked goods, try reducing the sugar by 50%. I’ve never had a recipe turn out poorly by doing this.
7. The Last, But Most Important Way to Reduce Your Sugar Intake
Quit buying it!
I know that sounds obvious, but really it’s not. Frequently I’ll get a craving for something while I’m at the store and I’ll throw it in my cart. Once it’s home I feel obligated to eat it (bummer), which is really not what I need to be doing. If you spend your grocery dollars on whole foods instead of packaged foods you’ll be well on your way to reducing the amount of sugar you and your family eat.
So, make a commitment, at least for awhile, not to purchase any products that have added sugar.
Healthy Snacks For Kids
Get over 120 Easy Healthy Snacks For Kids. Keep these snacks handy so you'll always have something healthy and quick to grab.