Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Working to Lower Our Sugar Intake Around Here

 Lately I started thinking about how I was feeling about sugar and realized that I seem to have gotten addicted to it again. I found that I was once before when for health reasons I went off of it for a time (and that wasn't easy!) And lately I have been feeling the same way. My body just has a horrible craving for sugary treats. And it wasn't like I had been going without. I hadn't. We had been having more of that stuff around here than normal. This isn't good!

    Sweets of any kind are best eaten in moderation but refined sugar doesn't really have much redeeming value at all. It is hard on our teeth, hard on our pancreas and pituitary gland, pulls minerals from the body during digestion, is addictive, stresses the liver and doesn't fill you up but just makes you want to eat more.

  We do need some "sugars" (that doesn't mean we need processed sugar) for our bodies. God made the sugar in fruit, honey and all that for a reason. It does give us needed energy (though to much sugar- especially refined- can just make us overweight, diabetic and sluggish.) and helps our thyroid to function properly.

  So my goal is to cut back pretty heavily (though it won't be completely) on refined sugars in our house and then truly work to have common sense with how much of an other sorts of sweets we eat too.

 There were several things that caused this to become an issue lately....

  • Jonathan as a growing teen loves to eat (pretty normal), that means he would like snacks on a regular basis. When I don't come up with a good snack solution (and he isn't fond of popcorn) then he quickly offers to make cookies. I like cookies too (but don't get so excited about making them) and so he has done a fair amount of baking lately. He does not cut down on the sugar as much or substitute natural sweeteners as often as I would do. My solution: Work at coming up with more healthy snacks so he doesn't feel the need for baking. Also write up a cookie cookbook for the kids with properly adjusted recipes.
  • Ken had extra candy from a business booth lately (he gives it out) and the boys came home with a bag of it. It was Snickers and Twix (so chocolate!) and we have enjoyed it but it isn't so good for us. Solution: Dole it out a little more slowly and then it will be gone so that is good.
  • We have been having more company lately. With company we often feel the need for dessert so either we make some or they offer to bring some. Solution: Don't feel like we need dessert every time. Show some self discipline and don't feel like I need to eat it just because it is there. Make a healthier dessert.
Does anybody have any good suggestions for non-sugary and good for you snacks?

Here is a list of some of my ideas but I would really love to hear yours as well!
  • Popcorn (easy and cheap)
  • Cheese slices
  • Apples and peanut butter
  • Other fruit -this week we did enjoy some blueberries we had frozen this summer as a snack.
  • Carrot sticks.
  • Chips and Salsa (I am happy to have found some organic corn chips on clearance this week so we will look forward to this snack)
  • Crackers and humus or liver pate. I really to get busy and make crackers again. Hummus too. The liver pate I have never actually tried but I have heard good things about it and that it is actually a yummy spread for crackers.
What are your thoughts on Sugar?


Amy and Mark said...

This is perfectly timed for our family as we are doing the same thing! Thank you for the good snack ideas - there are some that we have put in our rotation and some I will look to add. We are currently hooked on string cheese as our main 3 pm snack (when we all three used to want a sugary snack) We also brought all of our produce home from the grocery and washed, cut it up, and put it into containers. Now I can just grab a handful from different containers and have a snack such as cucumber, peppers, and broccoli. When it is easy it seems to happen so much more often than if I was having to cut up fresh fruit and veggies every day. Best wishes for your family - thank you for encouraging all of us to live better!

Nola said...

I don't eat sugar at all since it really, really affects me. We rarely have it in our house. The kids do get it sometimes out places. We make sugar free cookies and muffins and things sometimes. I like recipes that call for bananas and raisins or dates for cookies for the sweetener and recipes that call for apple juice and apple sauce for cakes. However they are only sweet if you're not used to sugar. There are also sugar free (fruit sweetened) jam spreads you can put on these things but they are expensive.

I sometimes make hummus and freeze it. It freezes well so you can make a big batch and portion it out and then take out that smaller amount when needed.

What about homemade trail mix? We do a lot of fruit slices and veggie sticks/pieces for snacks.

Also there are pancakes...there are so many kinds from flour based to grain free kinds...I like ones made from sweet potato and my kids eat them cold and plain for snacks. Again they usually freeze well and could be quickly toasted to warm them up.

Sometimes if we are in a hurry we just do bread, nut butter and sugar free jam or even without the jam you can use sliced apple or banana. But we try to avoid eating huge amounts of bread since the kids could eat it all day.

What about "ants on a log" with celery?

What about homemade "Lara" bars (sometimes also called ball cookies if they are shaped into a ball). Basically nuts and dates/raisins blended in a food processor. There are many recipes online for different flavours.

Nola said...

Also, what about smoothies for a snack? Our favourite is blend the water with spinach in the blender. Then add frozen banana, then blend, then add frozen fruit (blueberries is sweetest raspberries is tartest) and then adjust as needed. You can also add in an avocado. There are so many recipes out there for these. They can also be frozen into popsicles.

Also hard boiled eggs and if uncracked will keep a few days in the fridge.

Nola said...

Each time I post then I come up with another idea...sorry...

Tatziki (yogurt based dip)
Baba Ganouj (eggplant based dip...sounds gross but we like it)

Sometimes there are many recipes for these kinds of dips so play around with it and fix it to your own tastes.

Nola said...

I thought of another idea after lunch!

We have had fruit salad a few times in the past as a company dessert. Its fancy (can be made even fancier if served in nice bowls or with plain yogurt, but we don't usually serve it with yogurt). Its not as frugal, but you can use what is in season and frozen berries work well if you make it a few hours in advance so they thaw. They do dye the juice but that is fine. Also canned pineapple is fairly cheap to add. I have only ever had lots of compliments on serving it. A lot of people are trying to watch their sugar intake or their weight and so they appreciate being served a dessert that they don't mind eating instead of feeling that they have to eat the sweets since you made them for them. Kids love it too. I've also served sliced watermelon in the summer. You can even make it look more fancy (tons of ideas online). Its also cheap in season and there's a lot of it for just a few dollars. Like I said I always have had people really happy that I am serving fruit instead of sugar.

Abbi said...

Thanks so much for all the ideas and the encouragement!!!

Amy and Mark said...

Nola - Thank you for all of your wonderful ideas!! We are taking notes here! :) God Bless!

Nola said...

I'm glad my ideas were helpful. Here is my favourite sugar free cookie recipe. If you look around there are many versions of this sort of thing but this is my favourite.

Banana Cookies

-3 mashed bananas- previously frozen works fine or use fresh overripe ones.
-2 cups rolled oats
-1/4 cup ground flax seed (optional and I only add sometimes)
-1 tsp vanilla extract
-1/3 cup of a combination of olive oil and apple sauce, or just olive oil. I fill the 1/3 cup half way with olive oil and the rest apple sauce
-1/2 cup chopped nuts or 1/4 cup sesame seeds (I use sesame seeds)
-1 cup raisins
-1 egg

Mix it all together and let stand for 15 minutes to let moisture soak up. Put spoonfuls on greased sheet and flatten with fork. You may need to sort of clump it back together so its not all crumbly. Bake at 350 F for 20-25 min on greased sheet (I use a stoneware one and I don't grease it). Makes 2 1/2 dozen. These freeze well and taste yummy just thawed slightly out of the freezer or totally thawed.

Nola said...

Oh and if you are using frozen banana, obviously you have to thaw it first and it should be over ripe ones that you freeze to begin with.

Mrs. Chrissy T said...

Great ideas!


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