OMG… Are you as addicted to sugar as I am? Seriously, chocolate calls to me from the pantry like the ring in Lord of the Rings… “Precious!!!”. It’s no wonder that it is a problem for this century. Sugar is EVERYWHERE! As soon as you walk into the grocery store, you’re greeted with baked goods. As you leave the store, buy yourself some candy, a sugary beverage and top it off with some gossip from a tabloid magazine. If you have children, watch out because every holiday will literally bring buckets of candy and sugar to your house! I have a candy counter year round! However, it’s not just the candy, baked good items and sodas that contain sugar. Even if you’re trying to be healthy and avoid those sugary sweets, you have to be diligent and check the labels of regular food items. Cereals, sauces, jelly, peanut butter and ketchup can all contain a sizeable amount of sugar!
So, what’s a person to do? How do we avoid all of this sugar? Do we just succumb to our cravings and eat all of this sugary stuff? Why is sugar so bad for us anyway? Unfortunately, the majority of the population is addicted to sugar and does consume far too much of the white, ever so delicious, substance. It’s no wonder why obesity and other health issues, such as type 2 diabetes, continue to rise. Sugar can also increase your risk for heart disease, kidney disease, and high blood pressure. It can also aggravate ADHD symptoms, which is another alarming and rising epidemic in this century! What’s worse, is that many of these diseases, which used to be associated with older adults, are now affecting our children!
So, is there hope? Yes…unfortunately, it comes down to that hard parenting thing and self discipline of yourself! For the most part, you are the gatekeeper of products that come into your house. There are exceptions. Your children will get candy from relatives, school and birthday parties, churches, the bank, etc. You have to be the one to occasionally tell your kids “No, we’ve already had too much sugar today” and then watch them throw a fit. Hopefully, with time, they will come to expect your response and just quit asking!
Tips on Limiting Sugar
- Don’t bring it into the house! You can’t eat it if it’s not there!
- Buy more whole foods. Processed foods tend to contain more sugar, high fructose corn syrup and added ingredients that are generally unhealthy.
- Cut down on sugary drinks. They are loaded with sugar and generally just empty calories. Cutting out these drinks is a quick way to start losing a few pounds!
- Grocery shop online. By shopping online, you are more likely to stick to your grocery list and less likely to impulse buy things that may tempt you as you walk through a store.
- Have a shopping buddy. Having someone who is also invested in your health, and their own health, may help you avoid purchasing unhealthy items.
- Do NOT shop with your children. I love spending time with my kids and I do enjoy their company when I shop (sometimes). However, children are particularly bad about asking their parents to buy them things and parents are not always good about telling them “No” (ahem… I will admit that I am guilty of this from time to time).
- Have a healthy substitution for your cravings. Having a healthy go-to snack that will satisfy your sweet tooth is one way to get over your cravings. Some of our favorite healthy snacks are yogurt parfait, apple with peanut butter, celery with peanut butter and raisins, a few chocolate covered almonds and trail mix.
- Be a part of the solution. When it comes to parties or holidays, give out treats that can be taken as snacks to school. Goldfish, apples, Cuties, cheese sticks, raisins or yogurt raisins are a few good options.
So, am I telling you to get rid of sugar all together? No. I’d probably be the first one on the black market trying to get some to make a birthday cake… LOL! I am telling you that everyone in the 21st century could definitely benefit from cutting back on sugar. We have basically made sugar one of our main food groups and it has been detrimental to our health. Thankfully, many companies have begun to recognize this and are making healthier products. It’s up to us, the consumers and the parents, to do the rest and check the labels and push ourselves further to be healthier.