Our vigilance to control sugar consumption should not start with the Thanksgiving holiday; it is Halloween that ushers in a season of temptation for many people. It begins innocently enough. The candy in the bowl at the office and in our cabinets at home triggers our sweet tooth--and then we indulge. Consequently, we suffer from both weight gain and a difficult habit to break.
Our bodies can easily metabolize sugars that occur naturally in foods such as grains, beans, vegetables and fruit, but not the white sugars that are added to many foods that we consume. We cannot immediately burn off this type and quantity of sugar, so it is stored as fat. That’s how we gain unwanted weight. We have been led to believe that it is the fat in our food that puts fat on our body, however, it is really the sugar that is the culprit.
Moreover, sugar has a roller coaster effect on our blood sugar levels that contributes to its addictive effect. When sugar enters your bloodstream, you experience a boost of energy (or worse, hyperactivity). Then, once the blood sugar level drops, you can feel tired, depressed or have difficulty concentrating. The quickest and easiest way to counteract these effects is to consume more sugar, which can lead to a craving every day, making it difficult to control the habit.
What can you do? Here’s what I advise:
- Eat substantial meals. Part of what fuels our need for snacking is that we are not giving ourselves enough nutrients three times a day. Make sure your breakfast contains protein like yogurt, eggs, fish, or nuts with some kind of whole grain. Your lunch and dinner should include a hefty amount of vegetables and a fist-size of protein. Consequently, your actual hunger and your desire for empty-calorie foods should decrease in between meals.
- Reduce sugar cravings by adding naturally-sweet foods to your diet every day. The taste buds become less demanding for sweetness when they know they’re getting their daily fix. So what are naturally sweet foods? Fruit, certainly, and root vegetables like yams, squash and beets. These foods will help to crowd out the unhealthy sugar, providing a satisfying alternative. See a good recipe below.
- Eat nutritious snacks. Think outside of the cookie package for a nutritious and filling sweet alternative. For example, reheat a cooked yam and top it with almond butter, or add nuts and raisins to plain yogurt or applesauce. Try almost-thawed frozen mangos, pineapples and peaches, or a smoothie with the same frozen ingredients plus a banana, milk and spinach leaves. For a complete list of my favorite snacks, click here: http://recipeforahealthylife.com/blog/2012/10/my-favorite-snacks .
Roasted Root Vegetables
Yield: 8 servings
4 Medium Beets
2 Big carrots
10 Cloves of garlic
1 package of Brussel Sprouts
2 Tbsp. Olive Oil
Salt and/or any fresh seasoning like rosemary
Preheat oven to 425 degrees
Peel beets, yams, carrots, parsnips, onions and chop into 2-inch pieces
Cut brussel sprouts in half; peel skin off garlic cloves.
Lightly coat vegetables with oil and salt and transfer them to a baking dish.
Bake uncovered for about 20-30 minutes or until a knife pierces through a soft texture.