Submitted by Yvette F.

Sugar is everywhere.  I thought I was aware of what I was eating, but a new friend with food allergies has forced me to check every single label. So, there I was standing in the supermarket, picking up item after item and putting them back on the shelf.  What did I discover? There are so many products with ingredients added, additives that would never be in a product if it was made from scratch. And, the main culprit these products have in common? None other than simple sugars. Here are some ways you can cut back on all the hidden sugars in some common foods.

Drop the soft drinks. All of them.  Let’s consider the amount of sugar in a few items using the sugar cube measure: a can of coke has ten sugar cubes; Red Bull 6.5; Snapple ice tea 14 cubes; Starbucks frappe can have over 12 cubes of sugar.  One way that I have managed to cut back on soft drinks is I learned to love water (by flavoring it with interesting ingredients like lemon, cucumber slices, crushed mint leaves) and now I drink iced tea without added sugar.

Plan ahead and learn to cook.  Having a meal plan for the week and cooking all your meals ahead of time will help you save money and get a grip on what you are eating.  I am learning to cook simple things and I have noticed that by having something prepared, I am less likely to just grab something … anything!  Instead, I am having healthier foods on more of a regular basis.

Snack smart.  100 calorie packs are a great idea, but most people don’t just eat one. Rather, it is not unusual to find people eating more than one thinking, “Oh it’s just 100 calories.”  Instead, try making your own 100 calorie snacks using dried fruit and nut mixes, fruit, or vegetables with hummus, guacamole or salsa.

I challenge you to try this for a week and see if you can feel the difference.

What do you do to stay healthy? We invite you to share your ideas in the box below.