For the past couple of years I have been a big advocate for the Sugar Free lifestyle. At the start of 2013 I lost 5kg just by dropping sugar (fructose). Then, I headed over to the big ol’ U S of A to work at a Summer Camp, ate whatever was provided, indulged in a shitload of FroYo and Peanut Butter Cups and put on a whopping 9 kgs!
(unable to trace source - if this photo is yours please let me know)
Now, I’ve finally got myself back on track and have ditched the sweet stuff once again. While it can be really difficult at times to make food choices that don’t include sugar, I find the benefits are totally worth it. Without sugar, I am less hungry, have more energy, my skin clears up and I feel less heavy. I am the first to admit that I fall off the bandwagon at times and occasionally slip up by drinking a coke or having a piece of chocolate, but the way I feel after eating these items is enough to remind me why I’ve made this choice and I simply pick myself back up and continue to avoid the sweet stuff once again.
I’ve found that the biggest key to successfully quitting sugar (I still eat fruit occasionally, and allow some packaged foods that are under 3g sugar/100g) is to be prepared! As soon as I forget to pre-make and freeze meals or healthy lunches I start to consider sugary options. To counteract this I simply bulk prepare meals and lunches. I’m not one of those crazy meal planners who spend their Sunday’s cooking everything for the week ahead (though I wish I were). I’m just careful to keep an eye on what’s in my fridge and freezer and if I see that my healthy resources are dwindling I will make double of my next meal and freeze a few batches that are available for the next time I don’t have time to cook.
I also prepare by keeping a range of sugar free snacks in my pantry/fridge at all times. Nuts, cheese sticks (check the sugar content on these, some actually contain loads of added sugar), chickpeas (I like to roast these covered in Garam Masala – yum!), eggs, rice crackers, etc. Having items that are easy to grab on the go are perfect!
Being prepared doesn’t have to take up all your time! You can easily stay on top of all of this by committing just 30 minutes to an hour each day/night. For example, I will often spend half an hour on Friday to create a rough plan of meals I will eat the following week and a grocery list of the ingredients needed, on Sunday I take an hour to go food shopping, on Monday night as I cook dinner I make a double batch so that the leftovers can double as lunches, on the Tuesday afternoon I spend half hour whipping up some sort of snack for the week and then on Wednesday night I prepare some more lunches that can be frozen and whipped out whenever needed. Breaking your tasks up over the week makes meal prep seem like a much smaller task and really utilising your freezer means that you don’t need to cook as often.
How do YOU handle meal prep? I’d love to hear from everyone and anyone in the comments!