Fustini's Oils and Vinegars

Stay on Your Low-Sugar Track with These High-Flavor Recipes

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People make New Year’s resolutions for all sorts of reasons. Whether it’s to improve your physical health, learn a new skill, eliminate a bad habit or overall become a better version of yourself, the start of a new year can be a great opportunity to take a step forward in achieving what you know you’re capable of. 

Whether reducing your sugar intake is part of a New Years’ resolution you made or just a practice you want to get into more, starting a low-sugar focus can take some intentionality. Yet whether you’ve quit cold turkey or are just trying to add some limitations, lowering your sugar intake doesn’t have to be something you dread. In fact, it can be an exciting way to discover new recipes and flavors to try. 

Even if you don’t think your sugar consumption has been an issue for you, there are always more dishes and menus to explore as you eat and live healthily. Here we share why limiting your sugar intake can be a helpful thing to try and why it can have such an effect on our health. Then, we’ll head to the kitchen as we share some top recipes for all meals that are low on sugar but full of flavor. 

The Dangers of Too Much Sugar 

Take a look at most processed and packaged ingredients in your fridge or freezer and chances are, there’s some added sugar in it. You can find it in your peanut butter spread or chunky marinara sauce you pour over pasta. Although dietary guidelines suggest having no more than 10% of your calories from added sugars, adults tend to have more like 17% per day. But what’s the issue? 

Turns out that this elevated amount of added sugar can have some interesting effects on our overall health. From causing weight gain to increasing your risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes, this sometimes hidden ingredient can lead to some troublesome effects. Beyond your physical health, consuming too much sugar can also affect your mental health as well. 

Why Try Going Low-Sugar? 

With such an influence in your overall mental and physical health, going low-sugar can be a valuable lifestyle change or diet to try out. A low-sugar diet involves limiting how much added and artificial sugars you consume. In addition to added sugar in processed foods, it also encourages you to be intentional about the amount of natural sugars you consume through foods like fruits and some vegetables. 

Going low-sugar can also help to counteract or alleviate symptoms and conditions brought on by a high-sugar diet. Choosing a low-sugar diet can be a lot easier than a complete no-sugar diet where you’re much more limited in the fruits and vegetables you can eat and maybe missing out on key vitamins and nutrients found in those whole foods. A low-sugar diet can be easier to manage in the long-run and can be transformed into a regular part of your lifestyle. You can enjoy some of the great benefits of limiting your sugar intake while still enjoying the joy that food and cooking can bring. 

Ways to Avoid Sugar 

With added sugar found in so many products off the grocery store shelves, it can seem daunting to develop a meal plan that reduces or eliminates that artificial sweetening. But with the right recipes and ingredients, whipping up a quick low-sugar breakfast or tasty side dish may not be as challenging as you might think.

Overall, you’ll want to watch out for foods with a particularly high glycemic index, which can cause your blood sugar rates to vary greatly. 

Here are just a few ways you can cut down on added sugar without even much effort. 

  • Make your own dressings. One of the biggest sources of artificial sweeteners is in salad dressings like ranch or Italian. Using Extra Virgin Olive Oil and Balsamic VInegar can be an easy and delicious substitute for your salad topping. 
  • Sweeten your oatmeal or yogurt with fresh fruit rather than artificial flavoring or sugars. 
  • Reach for a handful of trail mix rather than candy. 
  • Flavor your own water using fresh fruits or fruity balsamic vinegars. 
  • When making a trip to the grocery store or ordering online, restrict your search to the perimeter of the store and produce aisles rather than browsing through the aisles where more processed food is found. 

Low-Sugar, High-Flavor Recipes 

While it might take a little bit of planning and focus, choosing low-sugar options can be just as flavorful and delicious, if not more so. Foods included in a low-sugar diet focus on foods that have a low glycemic index to keep your blood sugar levels steady. Foods that are high in fiber, protein and healthy fats are keys to keep in mind. 

When you make an effort to reduce your artificial sugar intake, you can be rewarded with finding fresh and delicious natural flavors you may not have considered before. Check out these fun and flavor-rich recipes for each meal of the day. 

Breakfast 

When choosing low-sugar options, particularly for breakfast, foods that are rich in protein can help you start the day off right and to stay full. 

Overnight blueberry oatmeal - with the fresh blueberries in this make-ahead recipe, you won’t even need to add any sugar or sweeteners. 

Fried Egg Asparagus - start your morning with a pack of protein with a side of fresh green asparagus. 

Green Eggs and Ham - brighten up your morning meal with a tomatillo salsa over protein-rich eggs.

Lunch & Dinner 

In a low-sugar diet, veggies, proteins and healthy fats are the name of the game. Veggies that are particularly high in fiber are especially great options to add some extra flavor while keeping sugar levels low. Try out these versatile and heart-healthy options for lunch or dinner. 

Salads topped with a flavorful vinaigrette - one of the best ways to get your veggie fix is in a salad. From assorted greens to mix-in veggies, these fiber-rich dishes will ensure you get the vitamins and nutrients you need. Top your salad with a homemade dressing without any added sweeteners or preservatives. 

Jamaican Fish Curry - turn up the heat with natural flavors and sweeteners in this vibrant seafood dish.

Lettuce Wraps with Ginger-Honey Rice - add some flavor and sweetness to your dish naturally with a splash of Ginger Honey balsamic, which contains no added sugars.  

Angie’s Tuna Spread - Pack in some protein with this blend of healthy fats and wholesome tuna. 

Grilled Stuffed Peppers - blend some veggies with homemade hummus for a sugar-free meal. 

Cilantro Mint Pistachio Couscous - scoop in some heart-healthy grains in this flavorful dish. 

More Flavor, Less Sugar 

If you’re committed to reducing your added sugar intake, you don’t have to sacrifice on great flavor. Choosing options that don’t have as much or any added sugar or artificial sweeteners can still have the potential for enticing flavors. With the amount of flavor and versatility with recipes like these, you won’t even miss those foods with added sugar. And with less sugar, you can look and feel your best. 

 

 

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