One of the biggest pitfalls with healthy eating is one word, sugar. Unfortunately, we're addicted to sugar. It's not your fault though. Now that foods are artificially processed, added sugars are showing up in everything (BBQ sauce was a sobering one for me). Wherever you end up on the snack attack wagon, use these three tips guide you. Tip #1: Avoid muffins, cakes, milk chocolate, and anything else with sugar listed in the top 5 ingredients.
Tip #2: Grab a healthier snack like edamame, apples, or blueberries and keep the portions small.
Tip #3: Avoid smoothies unless you plan on sharing it with five people. The average sugar in a 16 oz smoothie is between 30-50 grams!
Sugar addiction is similar to a drug addition. The more you have it, the more you crave it. The more you crave it, it takes more to satisfy you. Once you reach this point your addition is full blown and the next high is never good enough. The cycle starts all over again but this time it's worse. You see the similarity? As much as we may think we're okay in the sugar category, we may already be addicted. Not convinced? Do the journal assignment. Journal your foods over the next several day and track the sugar grams. If you're over 21 grams per day, you're eating too much sugar. In fact, the American Heart Association just released daily sugar intake recommendations and the guidelines are sobering: 20 grams a day for adult women, 35 grams for adult men, and 12 grams for children.
In Mindless Eating, Why We Eat More Than We Think by Dr. Brian Wansink, we are visually stimulated by tempting foods. In other words if we see an unhealthy food we automatically want it, even if we're not hungry. The fact that it's accessible is what trips us up. So be forewarned the next time you eat out or stop at convenience store for a quick snack. When it comes to snacking it's pretty easy to make bad choices - those are typically the ones at your fingertips. You'll have to look hard for healthy fare. One option is to ask where the yogurt, fruit or veggie packs are located. Another trick is to grab a bottled water and some protein like boiled eggs or a snack pack of nuts. Don't linger too long though; too much time can cause you to slip up. You can make healthy choices everyday! Take control, avoid a weight loss plateau, and feel better! Tomorrow is too late, start today!
What are your struggles with eating better in general?
Check out this fantastic article over at WebMD on sugar shockers. You'll never look at food labels the same again!