Sugar Free Challenge – Week in Review
in Bite-sized, Blogs, Deliciously Wholesome, Nutrition & Diet
Our sugar free week ended about a week ago. Overall, I thought it was fine. It didn’t require a lot of thinking on my part (a little, but not a lot) and I didn’t care too much. I did feel good but not significantly better than normal. Well, except that the baby also started sleeping through the night and I had a ton more energy, but I’m not sure it had anything to do with the no-sugar diet. By the end of the week, I did feel a little deprived and was glad for it to be over, but that was probably because I didn’t have buy any “treat” foods that didn’t have sugar in them and so didn’t eat anything I would consider a “treat” for a week. I know, I am spoiled. I mean, there are plenty of people who are eating beans and rice for every meal and are thrilled just to have them, and I am complaining about voluntarily not eating a treat for a whole week. Uh, yeah, I feel pretty silly.
One thing I did learn was that when I wanted something sweet, it was usually because either (a) I needed to drink more water or (b) I really just wanted to stop and relax for a bit. The first day, we did admittedly eat a couple packaged items that had some sugar in them (bread and turkey bacon), but that was because I had been sick in bed over the weekend and didn’t get a chance to mix up some bread dough and give away the turkey bacon (it was nasty stuff, anyway). Other things I learned were that it wasn’t so difficult for me not to eat sugar or refined grains, but it was almost impossible for my three-year-old. He usually spends one day a week at his grandparents’ house with his cousins, and keeping him from eating something they were eating (and he usually can have) was, in my opinion, pretty cruel, so he had some multi-grain cheerios and probably a couple other things with added sugar. And we had dinner out one night, during which he ate an entire bowl of white macaroni and cheese. But it’s his favorite thing to order, we go out maybe 4 or 5 times a year, and there wasn’t anything better on the kid’s menu anyway. And, besides, this whole thing wasn’t about being legalistic and overly dogmatic but was about being mindful about the sugar in our diets and trying to eliminate it when possible. I still call it a success.
When I was planning our menus for the week, I didn’t have much trouble with dinner, had to tweak a couple things for lunch but was challenged to be a little more creative with breakfast. I wasn’t all that surprised, but having sugar-free breakfasts is something I’m going to try to do more consistently. It’s the one meal eaten on a completely empty stomach and thus probably the one in which eliminating sugar would be the most helpful in feeling better throughout the day, especially for my kids.
Finally, I wanted to share a few of our breakfasts, lunches and snacks from the week for any of you who are interested in reducing the amount of sugar you eat.
Breakfasts: scrambled eggs or omelets with spinach and cheese; peanut butter toast and milk; cheese grits; oatmeal with peanut butter and raisins
Lunches: peanut butter and banana sandwiches; whole wheat pasta with homemade or jarred sugar-free marinara sauce; grilled cheese sandwiches; fruit, nuts
Snacks: mozzarella cheese sticks; cheddar cheese; mixed nuts; peanuts; plain (whole milk) yogurt; applesauce (made of apples only, no extra sugar or even “apple juice concentrate”); fresh fruit; dried unsweetened fruit (raisins, mangoes, prunes); homemade flax crackers; tortilla chips
Any other suggestions for easy but sugar-free foods (but no artificial sweeteners), especially for breakfast, lunch, snacks or “treats”?