480 words, approx 3 minutes to read.
Reducing your sugar intake can be hard. But Co-op assistant diet and health manager Aoife McKernan shares clever swaps, useful tips and small changes that will help you moderate your sugar consumption, while still enjoying delicious food at every meal.
Why is it important for us to be aware of how much sugar we are eating?
‘Too much sugar is bad for our health. If you eat too much of it, it can lead to obesity and tooth decay, along with other health issues. Being aware of how much you’re eating is important, to make sure you’re keeping on top of your consumption. NHS guidelines suggest no more than 30g per day for adults, which is about seven teaspoons – not a lot when a can of Coca-Cola contains nine!’
What are some easy ways to eat less sugar?
‘It doesn’t have to be difficult! You could try topping your cereal with fruit instead of sugar, switch up your snacking to include savoury options, such as rice cakes or plain popcorn, and swapping your fizzy drinks for water flavoured with lemon, lime or mint.’
How can I choose lower-sugar products?
‘Sugar can definitely sneak in without you realising. Hot drinks, packaged sauces, breakfast cereals and yogurts can all contain more sugar than we need. Check the labels of products to compare sugar levels, and look out for products with the green traffic light, as that means it’s low in sugar.’
What are some lower-sugar breakfast ideas?
‘Switching to a lower-sugar breakfast cereal is a great start. Go for porridge or wheat biscuits and get creative with the toppings: grated apple, prunes and berries are all tasty alternatives to honey.’
What about tasty lower-sugar lunches for eating during work?
‘If you’re making a lunchtime pasta bake, try using canned tomatoes to make your own sauce instead of a ready-made one, which may contain added sugar. Take unsalted nuts or oatcakes to snack on, but if you haven’t got time to make lunch, look out for products labelled with a green traffic light.’
There are lots of lower-sugar lunch ideas on the Co-op recipe site. Flourless spinach and egg muffins are a great option, as is Moroccan-spiced soup and our veggie scrap Buddha bowl. To keep hunger pangs at bay, try tortilla chips with red pepper houmous or roasted spiced chickpeas.
Plenty of people crave something sweet after dinner. What are some ways to stay away from sugar-laden dessert?
‘It’s important to treat yourself occasionally – giving up sugar altogether is unrealistic. Try swapping milk or white chocolate for a couple of squares of dark for a sweet hit, or give unsweetened yogurt and fruit a go for a simple, but delicious, lower-sugar pudding.’
Are there any alcoholic drinks that are particularly high in sugar?
‘Cocktails can be tricky, as they often contain sugary mixers. If you want to cut back but still enjoy a tipple, opt for spirits like rum, gin or vodka mixed with diet tonic and diet soft drinks.’
Co-op Assistant Diet and Health Manager
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