I don’t know about you, but once it starts to feel like summer, I naturally want to lighten up my meals. If you’re interested in making some healthy changes, a great place to start is by cutting out added sugar. Atkins has always recommended that you eliminate added sugar for meals and snacks. Unlike natural sugar, which is found in food like fruits, added sugar is used to boost flavor and sweetness. Added sugars include table sugar, high-fructose corn syrup, honey and numerous other caloric sweeteners, both manufactured and natural. Obviously, added sugars significantly raise both the carb count and the calories in obvious sources such as cookies, candy, ice cream, but also foods such as barbecue sauce, ketchup, low-fat salad dressings and breakfast cereal. According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), Americans consume on average 154 pounds of added sugars a year, and excess sugar consumption leads to obesity, diabetes, heart disease and more.
But, this is not all about sweet nothings. Now that you know the facts, here are some tips for cutting the added sugar, just in time for summer. The potential benefits? Weight loss, more energy, confidence and better health.
Start with your kitchen. Ditch the chips, candy, cookies and more. They all contain added sugars. Watch out for the pasta and barbecue sauces and low-fat salad dressing. You can easily make delicious low-sugar versions of your own. Visit Atkins low-carb recipes for some great ideas.
Bulk up on veggies. This is the time of the year to take advantage of fresh vegetables in season. You can add them to omelets and fresh salads or throw them on the grill as the perfect accompaniment to grilled poultry, steak or seafood. Slice thin strips or spiralize zucchini or summer squash as a low-carb pasta alternative or to add to salads or soups. You can also sauté quickly with olive oil and dash of salt, pepper and crushed red pepper and serve as a delicious side dish. Keep cut-up carrots and bell peppers and hummus as snacks, and start your evening meals off with a platter of vegetables to dip in vinaigrette to keep your hunger in check and start your evening off on a healthy and delicious note.
Go with the fruit. Fresh flavors in the summer beg for fresh fruit. Who needs a cookie from a package when you can have a small bowl of berries with a dollop of whipped cream? And you can never go wrong with a few slices of cheese paired with berries, pears or apples.
Drink up. Hydration is key during the warmer months or if you increase your level of exercise as a result. Keep a water bottle with you at all times. You can add slices of limes or lemons or even a sprig of mint to add some fresh flavor. yHH
Once you start making these small changes to cut added sugar, you may be very pleased with the results!