Sweet Tooth? My Tips For Cutting Down On Sugar

I've always had a sweet tooth but recently I'd found it really becoming a problem. I'd start the day off with something sugary and the end it the same way too, snacking on cakes, biscuits and sweets in the time inbetween. Since cutting out gluten and dairy from my diet a few years ago I've become much more interested in the ingredients of the foods I eat and the abundance of unnecessary sugar in everything from raw chicken to packaged fruit really made me think. Like milk, sugar is one of the things that wouldn't naturally be in our diet and I've got the fillings to prove it. 
I've managed to cut out a huge amount of sugar from my diet and I thought I'd share my tips for anyone wanting to do the same as I know how difficult it can be.

Don't try to go cold turkey
Completely removing something from your life that has become part of a routine can be really hard (think of a bad breakup, the end of a series on Netflix or when Tesco stopped selling your favourite cheese) so cutting down is much easier than cutting out. Slowly reducing the amount of sugary foods you eat is a much easier way of doing things than trying to shun it completely and then thinking about it all day.

Remove the temptation
It's easier said than done but if you stop buying things that are packed with sugar, then you won't have them in your house and you won't eat them because they're simply not there. If you run out of the cereal or biscuits that you usually buy, the next time you go shopping choose another food instead like Nakd bars which taste sweet but wont make holes in your teeth quite as fast.

Reward yourself
I can now go for days without sugar but when I do eat it I only do after 8pm. If you set a time of day in the late afternoon or evening after which you'll allow yourself something sweet, then getting through the day with healthier snacks will be much easier. You'll know that later you'll get a reward for your hard sugar-fighting work. As time goes on you won't even notice that "sugar o'clock" has come along and you can set your goals in days rather than hours.

Replace the addiction
Cravings for a sweet taste can be really easily curbed by snacking on things like fruit and especially dried fruit which can be very sweet naturally. Yes, fruit does contain natural sugars but it also has so many vitamins, minerals and nutrients, plus fresh fruit is full of water too which we could all do with a bit more of. I've always been a fruit lover but I now eat it by the bucket load which is far better than filling up on chocolate, Haribo and toffee slices throughout the day.

Cook from scratch
Cooking from scratch enables you to have pastries and baked foods in your house so you don't have to miss out on the things you like. I don't eat honey but Maple syrup has been a brilliant find for me in my quest to cut down on sugar consumption. It's all natural and is about a third sweeter than white sugar so can be used in baking to give a sweet and yummy taste while also helping to keep things moist. I substitute it for white and brown sugar in almost everything by using the volume of the sugar needed and reducing it by a third. You might need to adjust the dry ingredients to make up for the extra liquid, but for things like flapjacks (which I love and could eat all day) it just serves to make them more moist. 
Muesli is also a great sugar free food to make as it can be eaten at any time of day with any type of milk. I throw dried fruits, chopped nuts and seeds into a bowl then add about twice as much oats and a really good glug of maple syrup. I then mix everything together and spread out on a silicone baking tray before baking quickly at about 180° until it's all toasted and lovely. Its brilliant straight out the oven but can be kept in a sealed container and enjoyed for days.

Instead of eating sugar morning, noon and night, and I feel like I control the sugar instead of it controlling me. My body (and my teeth) are thanking me for it! The only times I particularly do choose something sugary over sugar-free is with things like fruit squash, as I'm not keen on the taste of artificial sweeteners and they're just another chemical I don't need.

If you have any other sugar fighting tips I'd love to hear them!

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