Avoiding Hidden Sugars | Veggiecation© a Culinary-Nutrition Education Program About Vegetables
Wednesday, 11 November 2015 18:37

Avoiding Hidden Sugars

We all love a sweet treat but sugar can be harmful to our well-being. It can damage our heart, cause excessive weight gain and impair our ability to think properly.  Even if you watch the amount of desserts and candy you eat, sugar is everywhere! It sneaks it’s sugary way into foods you won’t believe! High levels of sugar can be found in things like BBQ sauce, bottled salad dressings, pasta sauces, flavored yogurts and even bread. So how do we reduce the amount of sugar we are eating and still satisfy our craving for our favorite foods?


1. Read the label

- We've talk about Navigating the Nutrition Label (link) in previous blogs. Most people stop reading once they reach the calorie count, but the next number you should look out for is sugar. It is surprising how much sugar can be in the foods you eat on a daily basis. Paying attention to and lowering your sugar intake will have the following positive effects on your health:

- improved ability to concentrate
- lowered risk of obesity
- fewer blood sugar spikes
- maintain a healthy weight
- reduce your risk of certain cancers

2. Know the measurement

- 4 grams of sugar = 1 teaspoon of sugar

Measure it out and get ready to be amazed at the quantity of sugar found in some of the foods you can buy. Two slices of bread can have as much as 6 grams or 1.5 teaspoons of sugar!

3. Make foods from scratch

- Cooking at home is a great way to control the amount sugar you and your family are eating. Not only is it healthier to make foods from scratch, it is also more economical.

Here are three simple recipes and tips that will help you cut out excess sugars!

1. Creating your own salad dressing is easy! If you love a Italian Dressing all you need is a few ingredients:

* 3 Tbsp olive oil

* 1 Tbsp red wine vinegar

* ½ tsp dried oregano

* 1 small clove of garlic, minced (or ½ tsp garlic powder)

* 1/8 tsp red pepper flakes (optional)

* Salt to taste

Combine all of the ingredients and you have a low sugar dip or dressing!

Tip for dressing: If using a clove of garlic, make sure to blend the ingredients in a blender so that the garlic is completely broken down! Otherwise, a whisk will do.

2. Make your own flavored yogurt!  Try buying plain yogurt and blend your own flavor into it. Use things like frozen bananas, peaches, pineapples and berries.  A little cinnamon and vanilla extract will give you lots of yummy flavor too! Not sweet enough, try blending in a little bit of honey or pure maple syrup. 

3. A simple tomato sauce is always so satisfying! Home cooked tomato sauce is super easy and delicious! (see image above!)

* 2 large cans of tomatoes

* 3 Tbsp of olive oil

* 1 small yellow onion, chopped

* 3 cloves of garlic

* Salt to taste

Combine these ingredients in large saucepan to make a light and crave-able pasta without all of the added sugar.  Start by heating your oil over medium flame and add the onions and garlic.  Allow to simmer from 3 – 4 minutes.  Then add tomatoes and stir well. Cook over a medium-low flame for at least 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Salt to taste. There are so many variations of home made tomato sauce, find the one that fits your taste and enjoy Sunday dinners that much more!

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