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Going sugar-free is hard enough. Going sugar-free and doing it with ease, now that is something we are all interested in learning how to do. In today’s blog post, we are going to be sharing the best sugar-free foods to consume when you are reducing your sugar consumption, along with the superfood trio to keep all of your cavings at bay. Whether you’re ditching sugar completely, or looking to eat a more well rounded diet in general, these tips will help you adopt and maintain a healthier lifestyle! 

So you’re looking to give up sugar? One would think that it would be as simple as ditching the candy, skipping dessert and scrapping the sugar laden beverages. Unfortunately, food scientists have discovered that our brains light up when we taste sugar and crave it shortly after when its effect have worn off. Scientists have named the trio of salt, sugar and fat “the bliss point,” as our brains dopamine, or reward centre, lights up when we consume food containing all three. We crave foods designed around the  artifically created “bliss point” more and more, and in larger amounts. Overtime, we become accustomed to the amount of sugar, salt and fat in certain foods, and require larger or more potent amounts of those food groups to create the same stimulus in our brain. Scary right? Well, the easiest way to avoid bliss point foods that unleash our ravenous hunger, is to make your meals yourself.

Cooking from scratch is the simplest, cheapest and easiest way to control every ingredient that goes into your body. You become hyper-aware of the amount of sugar in the meals you are consuming as you have to physically add the sugar a teaspoon at a time and can visually see the amount adding overall. If you’re not a chef or someone who likes spending time in the kitchen, do not fear, meals can be as simple as a few ingredients and can be ready in minutes. Please read on, friends! 

Now that we’ve talked about the importance of making meals from scratch, let’s discuss the components you’ll want to include in each meal. Fat, fibre and protein are the main ingredients in your sugar-free meal template. Protein can be a combination of animal or vegetable fats from beef, fish, chicken, tofu or tempeh. Fats can come from sources such as avocado, nuts/seeds, fatty fish or proteins, plant-based oils or nut/seed butters. Fibre on the other hand, is essentially fruits, vegetables, grains and legumes. Fibre is found in within the plants or in the outer casing of complex carbohydrates like wild rice, quinoa, lentils and beans. Plants in particular are a rich source of vitamins, minerals, fibre and water. This combination makes these foods naturally lower in calories and extremey filling when consumed in high volumes. The combination of fruits and vegetables are endless and infinite - everyday you have the opportunity to eat a new salad, roasted vegetables and fibrous offering. The lowest sugar fruits are berries, peaches, apples, melon, oranges and grapefruit. If your goal is to reduce your overall sugar intake, stick to the lowest sugar fruits, berries and peaches. 

On the vegetable side of things, starchy vegetables have the ability to convert into sugar faster than complex carbohydrates. Limit the number of white potatoes, and white foods in general such as flour, sugar, bread and so on. That being said, if you want to keep the sugar scale on the low side, consume colourful fibrous vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, brussel sprouts, peppers, celery, sweet potatoes and carrots. The complex carbohydrates like quinoa, brown rice, couscous, lentils and beans, are a fibrous rich offering coupled with hearty carbohydrates that will fill up your stomach and keep you full for hours! 

Now that we’ve covered the perfect trio, there are some foods that you will want to keep an eye on if you are choosing to buy store-bought products. Items like peanut butter, spaghetti sauce, ketchup, yoghurt, granola bars, salad dressings, cereal, crackers, bread, jams and soup are all funnels for sugar. Companies are continuing to utilize consumer’s “bliss point” to craft products that are addicting and cravable. Be mindful when shopping for the ingredients listed above, read the ingredient list and choose the lower sugar option. If you can’t find a low sugar option, that might be your cue to make it yourself! 

At the end of the day, the more of your meals that you make, the healthier they will likely be. Read your labels, pair your protein, fat and fibre and to the best of your ability, skip any foods with the ingredient sugar, listed first. You’ll be well on your way to living a sugarfree lifestyle in no time! 

-By Lindsay Mustard. Lindsay is a 
Holistic Nutritionist, firefighter-in-training and recipe-wizard with a burning passion for health and fitness. In her nutrition practice, Lindsay works with clients to craft a unique plan that is tailored to their specific health goals using a natural, whole food and supplement approach.