If you are getting started on reducing your sugar intake, PLEASE remember to be gentle with yourself and know that it is a marathon, not a sprint. You have been conditioned from childhood to LOVE sugar. This is whole other topic that I could write about for days, but for now, I will give you 3 things you can do today to start eliminating sugar from your diet.
1. Educate yourself on where sugar is hidden, what it is added to, and the sneaky ways food companies are adding it to your food. Your first step needs to be reading the food label. Go to the sugar content and get an idea of how much sugar is in the item you are wanting to eat. Then go to the ingredient list and look for the source of sugar. Is it organic cane sugar (my favorite option), aspartame, sucralose, stevia, there are a million other names for it. It may say sugar free, but if it is a sweet food, know that they are hiding it in there somewhere and it is most likely a word that you cannot pronounce. The problem with this is that food additives have been linked to a number of health issues so it is best to steer clear of them all together (or at least reduced your intake).
2. Start to replace your sugar cravings with food that have natural sugar rather than foods that are manmade. Think about replacing your after-dinner ice cream with homemade banana ice cream instead (unsweetened almond milk with frozen bananas mixed in a blender- so easy, so good!). There is still sugar in there, but it is natural sugar and not as damaging to the body or mind. Instead of a mid afternoon snack that consists of candy eat an apple instead. My favorite trick is to curb my sweet tooth after dinner is a spoonful of peanut butter. As you start to reduce your sugar intake, your cravings will slowly calm down. I am telling you this from experience.
3. Cut down on processed and packaged foods. This includes salad dressing, spaghetti sauces, soups, pizza crusts… yes, sugar is hiding in all these things. Read the label. It is scary. Instead, start replacing your meals with real food. Think fresh vegetables, lean protein sources, clean, healthy fats. The more you can weed out the unnecessary sugar in your daily meals, the better you will feel and the less addicted you will be.
Remember, this is a process. You will not be perfect as sugar is everywhere, but if you can educate yourself and start to reduce it slowly you will feel better in the long run.