I have always been on the adventurous side and one of the unexpected joys of my weight loss was (and still is) trying new foods. It was not too long along ago that I followed a strict diet of pizza, beer, rotisserie chickens, and cookie cake (ask my college roommates). First to go – sugars. The US Department of Agriculture calculated that Americans consume two to three times the amount of sugar suggested by the USDA Food Guide Pyramid. By cutting out soft drinks I quickly (and easily) lost ten pounds. I still allow myself a diet soft drink every now and then but replacing soda with water was a tremendous change. I was born with a massive sweet tooth and finding sugar free substitutes was critical for my success in this journey. You can find a sugar free substitute for just about any food on the market today; you just have to know where to look. A few of my favorites….
Smuckers Sugar Free Jelly is an absolute staple at my house. Fantastic on a piece of toast, in a sandwich with almond butter, paired with fat-free cream cheese on a whole wheat tortilla, or even a teaspoon of it added to plain oatmeal. The uses are endless – be creative and you literally will have trouble differentiating it from its full-sugared counterpart.
Popsicles are a part of every American childhood. These continue to be a favorite snack of mine, especially the no sugar added Creamsicles and Fudgesicles. Again, you’ll have trouble telling the difference and you can enjoy with zero regret. They even contribute a bit of protein to your daily-recommended value.
Jell-o and Pudding are great snacks to have on hand as they can quickly satisfy the sweet-tooth craving with zero sugar added to the bloodstream. Another staple in my fridge, good any time of day.
Milk is crucial in providing calcium, protein, and a variety of other nutrients – unfortunately it is often loaded with sugar. An eight-ounce serving of fat-free skim milk packs in a staggering twelve grams of sugar. I use almond milk as an alternative as it contains zero sugar. Now, that being said, it is not a taste that all enjoy as much as I do and it can be pricey. It is, however, a healthy and sugar-free alternative to the regular low fat/fat free options on the market.
There are many health initiatives throughout the city of Chicago – get involved with your communities and churches and do what you can to better yourselves and those around you. Feel good, live longer, be happier – and do it all today.