Steer clear of “added” sugar

HealthySweets_0116 Sugar is one of the biggest threats to our health, and our New Year’s resolutions. In fact, the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, released on Jan. 7, recommend that people consume less than 10 percent of calories per day from added sugar. 1 That’s significant, and rightly so. Added sugar is empty calories which can lead to obesity. Added sugar includes white sugar, high fructose corn syrup and other sweeteners that are “added” by food manufacturers.

So, what’s the body to do when that craving hits?

I’m guilty of visiting my friend’s candy jar at work. I find myself walking in her direction around 3:00 every day because I need to satisfy that urge. And after dinner I’m always wanting that chocolate-chip cookie, or two. Fortunately, there are healthier alternatives to curb your sweet tooth.

At the Genesis PURE™ corporate office, we are busy making healthier choices as we participate in Fit Club, and you can too! Fit Club is a nine-week program with challenges, tips and more to help you jump-start your New Year. We know how hard it is to stick with those resolutions. Don’t go it alone.

We want to sweet-talk you into something healthier.

Do your body good by replacing sugary junk food with healthier alternatives. The following are delicious options that are sugar free or include natural sugars, not “added”.

Frozen Fruit.  I like to eat frozen blueberries right from the bag. They’re delicious. Or, you may wish to thaw them and top with fat-free whipped topping or granola. Frozen bananas are great, too. Peel and once frozen, roll in melted dark chocolate and add a crunchy topping like nuts or granola. Bananas are a great source of vitamin C and B6, as well as fiber and potassium. Or, try frozen grapes that are packed with antioxidants.

Fresh Fruit. Can’t get simpler than this. Any piece of fresh fruit should offer enough natural sugar to fill those cravings. Plus, you get added nutrients and fiber!
Popcorn. Pop a small bag of natural popcorn and top with one tablespoon of melted peanut butter and a dusting of cocoa powder. Crunchy and the perfect amount of sweetness!

Yogurt. Top one cup of Greek yogurt (plain or vanilla) with your choice of toppings: crumbled graham crackers or granola, nuts, and fruit.

Dark Chocolate. The 70 percent cacao kind lacks all the added fat and sugar of classic milk chocolate, and can actually be a healthy treat when eaten in moderation. Plus, it’s high in healthy antioxidants.

Rice Cakes. Spread on some almond or peanut butter, or hummus. Enjoy.

Peanut Butter and Chocolate Pretzels. If you’re looking for something sweet and salty, this is it. Melt one square of dark chocolate and one teaspoon natural peanut butter. Dip pretzel rods in this and enjoy.

Cottage Cheese. Cottage cheese offers plenty of protein. Add some plain fruit and drizzle honey over it for a little more sweetness.

Trail Mix. Mix up a variety of heart-healthy nuts, some dried fruit and some dark chocolate pieces. This is a great anytime snack.

Sweet Potato. Do you want something sweet that’s also hot? Bake up a sweet potato. These make great fries, too.

Chewing Gum. Keep a pack or two in your purse, briefcase or pocket. Sugar-free gum is always a great go-to when you don’t have a snack handy.

How do you control your added sugar? And, what do you eat when you crave something sweet? Share with us in the comments below. And be sure to check out our Fit Club page, and join the community.

1http://health.gov/dietaryguidelines/2015/guidelines/chapter-1/key-recommendations/

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