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Day 9: Bye, Bye, Sugar, how to stay on track

posted on Monday, 8th September 2014 | find under 
Healthy-eating expert and UK Vogue's contributing editor Calgary Avansino offers her tips and suggestions for how to remove sugar from your diet.

Hidden sugar
Sugar is prominent in a huge amount of what we eat and spotting it isn’t always easy. You'll find sugar in cereal, fruit drinks, canned fruit, dried fruit, granola, fruit-flavoured yoghurt, snack bars, ready-made sauces, breads, milk, pasta sauces, fish fingers, canned salmon, soups and salad dressings. 
Anything that is labelled ‘low-fat’ or ‘diet’ is also most likely to contain added sugar - the sweet flavour goes some way to make up for the fat that is extracted. Too much fruit, especially those high in fructose, such as bananas, watermelon, pineapple, mango and grapes, should also be avoided too.
Calgary's tips
  • Read the label. Brands are good at hiding sugar, so look out for glucose, fructose, maltose, rice syrup, high-fructose corn syrup, dehydrated cane juice, golden syrup, Lactitol and treacle.
  • Avoid ready meals and packaged food with an ingredients list that you can’t pronounce. Most food that’s advertised on TV is usually processed too.
  • Have a bag full of healthy snacks that will quell those moments of hunger. It’s okay to need a pick-me-up, as long as it is one that fills you with energy and goodness. Think chopped carrot sticks, raw almonds, sliced apple and gluten-free crackers.  
  • If you keep good food in your fridge and cupboards, you will only ever eat good food. Don’t bring temptation into your house, especially if you don’t want to be arguing with your children about what they want to eat. By only having good food available, you will eliminate the battle.
  • Keep a sugar diary. It doesn’t have to be scientific or precise, but at the end of the day or the week, you will have an honest and comprehensive view of just how much sugar you are really taking in. Write down the obvious sugary indulgences and when you eat them, but also record all the hidden sugars you find.
  • Think long-term. The changes you make to your diet are not just for the here and now while wanting a beach-perfect body. They need to be changes you decide to make in your lifestyle for the long-term.
  • Healthy doesn’t have to be complicated. Start off buying a few more vegetables every week when you shop and if you eat meat, why not have a meat-free Monday where you only eat vegetarian food.  
  • Remember that it’s not about eating less, but about eating well & often and making good food decisions.
  • Moving your body is essential; even if it is just a quick walk on your lunch break, 20 squats while watching TV, or a stretch before bed.

Sugar-free meal ideas
  • Lentil salad with grilled halloumi cheese.
  • Frittata made with organic eggs, spinach, feta cheese and sun-dried tomatoes, accompanied by a beautiful heirloom tomato salad simply dressed with olive oil, salt and pepper.
  • Brown rice bowl with lots of chopped veggies mixed through, including peppers, cucumbers and beans, with some hummus on the side, which I add in as I go.
  • Vegetarian tamale and a chopped kale and olive salad with citrus vinaigrette.
  • Gluten-free buckwheat blueberry pancakes with the kids. They are delicious and you would never know they are gluten-free. You can have all sorts on the side, including kiwi and persimmon.
  • Kamut pasta with broccoli, sundried tomatoes and a bit of chilli. This is also tasty with steamed asparagus and Swiss chard on the side.
  • Black bean stew with avocado and asparagus.
  • Spinach and white bean soup (made at the weekend and frozen) with a cabbage slaw salad.
  • Kale salad with almonds, avocado and creamy tahini dressing.
  • Roasted vegetables (such as courgette, fennel, onion, peppers, carrots) served on top of polenta with Parmesan shavings to finish it off.
Don't forget to do your Hiitgirl workout today. You can workout at home with our online video, then it's time to move onto the day 10 challenge.
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