Time to cross another one off my list – Eat fresh vegetables or fruits once a day for 30 days (April 26th-May 26th). Check.
I was inspired to start this goal after watching a documentary called Fed Up on Netflix. I always knew that I had a sweet tooth and that I should eat less junk food. However, what I did not know was how much sugar is hidden in ordinary foods like yogurt and pasta sauce.
I did a week long challenge in which I limited my added sugar intake to 6 teaspoons or less per day, which is the amount of sugar recommended by the American Heart Association for women. My average was about 2 to 3 teaspoons of sugar per day during my first week. I tried to find foods that had the least amount of sugar. The 2 to 3 teaspoons I did eat each day came from things like whole wheat bread (2 grams per slice), plain Greek yogurt (3 grams for 1/2 cup), and granola (3 grams for 1/4 cup).
The first few days of limiting my added sugar was hard. I found myself craving sweets. However, eating some fresh fruit did satisfy my craving. I noticed that after I cut down on sugar, my energy level was a lot better than it has been. Fruits and vegetables started tasting really good. Here are some awesome new recipes that we tried.
Tacos with homemade tortillas. I had no idea how AMAZING homemade tortillas could be. So delicious, and no sugar!
Whole grain pasta with homemade pasta sauce
I used to not like the taste of whole grain pasta, but my taste buds have changed because now I enjoy it. And homemade pasta sauce with fresh tomatoes, zucchini, and garlic…there is no comparison to the store bought stuff.
Wow, this was yummy. It made a wonderful, light summer dinner.
So good. The feta cheese totally makes this recipe.
This was my favorite new dish that we tried. The flavor was AMAZING.
I can say that this week long sugar challenge definitely changed my eating habits. I started eating fresh fruits and vegetables every day. I started actually reading nutrition labels, and felt shocked at what I found. My favorite drink from Starbuck’s (tall cafe mocha) has 28 grams of sugar in it. This one drink has more sugar in it that the AHA recommends for an entire day. The pasta sauce I usually buy has 9 grams of sugar per serving. The yogurt cups I buy have 32 grams of sugar per serving. 32 grams! 8 teaspoons of sugar in a small cup of yogurt?! Mind. Blowing.
I have been trying to maintain my healthy eating. I think about my food choices during the day. I eat fresh fruits or vegetables every day. I switched from adding 2 teaspoons of sugar to my tea/coffee every morning to 1 teaspoon of honey. If I do have something sweet like ice cream or cookies, I try to savor it rather than eating a huge amount. I plan out our meals weekly so that we are prepared with fresh, healthy ingredients to cook with.
I aim to stay at 6 teaspoons of sugar per day. There are some days where I am under this, and there are some days when I go over. But on average, I would say that I am eating significantly less sugar and way more fruits/veggies. I feel a whole lot better, too.