I am not going to join the chorus of voices talking about the evils of sugar – that fact is that too much sugar is unhealthy. It is also Halloween and bowls of sugary treats are popping up everywhere, so chances are all of us will be eating too much sugar this week. I want to focus on what can be done to help mitigate the all of the sugary goodness we are ingesting.
Things I have learned about surviving a sugar onslaught:
1. Eat often – ideally whole foods rich in fibre & protein
Sugar can cause a spike in our blood glucose (sugar) and put our bodies on a crazy blood glucose roller coaster that makes us crave another sugary hit. Eating whole foods often through out the day will do 2 things: our bodies will be better able to level out after a sugar hit; and, if we are full it is easier resist all of those tempting treats.
- Fibre: slows the rate of glucose absorption, lessening the post-treat spike in blood glucose; and, it takes a long time to digest so we feel full for longer.
- Protein: primes our bodies for sugar metabolism and keeps us feeling satiated longer.
The obvious sources of sugar in our diets are from sugary treats and sodas. The less obvious ones tend to are the sugars in: ‘healthy’ packaged foods i.e. flavored instant oatmeal, yogurt based drinks, granola, etc.; sweetened nut butters; fruit – dried fruit snacks, purees, cups, etc.; condiments – especially ketchup; and, juices – even the unsweetened ones.
3. Exercise with the kids
Exercise maybe the greatest panacea. Have a leaf fight, go for a walk, dance in your living room, play tag, play ball what ever it takes to get moving. In addition to the great family bonding, exercise will: burn off extra energy in a positive way; reduce stress levels; improve sleep; and, help stabilize sugar battered metabolisms and minds.
Great Halloween week food choices & ideas
- Raw veggies of all kinds (green beans are my favourite) are great for meals & snacks. Add a handful of raw veggies to a dinner plate, leave cut up veggies out for random snacking, put them in lunches, etc. Add some hummus protein = perfect….If you are really pressed for time buy an already made veggie tray.
- Salads – just skip the sweet sugary dressings & sugary toppings (e.g. candied nuts, grapes, dried sweetened cranberries, etc.). Add a good source of protein (e.g. cheese, meat, fish, raw nuts, beans or eggs) to create a balanced meal.
- Oatmeal is quick & easy breakfast or lunch choice that is loaded with soluble fiber. Try adding a chopped up apple or other fruit and some nuts or a spoonful of nut butter…I often add in some cinnamon and ginger.
- Scrambled eggs/tofu for breakfast, lunch or dinner – try them in a whole grain wrap with some cheese and peppers.
- Soups, stews or chillies– easy to make and great for leftovers & lunches. This is one of my favourites - Lentil Soup
- Quinoa with a ready-made veggie pasta sauce is a standard super fast go to in my house
- Pick veggies over fruits – especially tropical fruits which tend to be very high in sugars…but having said that fruit is always a better choice than processed foods.