You can make healthier food choices for yourself and your family. Take the leap this month to celebrate National Nutrition Month, and try to decrease the amount of added sugar in your diet.
March is National Nutrition Month and now is the time to go back to the basics of healthy eating. “Put Your Best Fork Forward” is the theme for National Nutrition Month 2017 and reminds us that we each have the tools to help us make healthier food choices. One way make to put your best fork forward this month is to reduce the amount of added sugar you consume. Added sugars have not only been linked to higher dental cavities but also type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and obesity.
Here are some tips to reduce the amount of added sugars you and your family consume:
- Check food labels and avoid foods with added sweeteners. Instead, fill your grocery cart with naturally sweet foods like fruits and vegetables (think bell peppers, carrots, and sugar snap peas).
- Avoid high sugar beverages and drink beverages like milk and water instead.
- Cook from scratch. Try making your own granola or homemade baked goods. By cooking from scratch you are more in control of the ingredients and amount of added sugar. For example, try chocolate avocado frosting on your favorite cupcakes or brownies for a low sugar recipe that uses a healthy fat (recipe below).
- Ditch the sweetened yogurt— a common source of added sugars. Eat plain yogurt flavored with naturally sweet fruit. You can also try mixing half flavored yogurt with plain, unsweetened yogurt. This will allow for you and your family to adjust your taste buds, eventually using less sweetened varieties.
- Develop a healthy relationship with food instead of focusing on completely removing sugar. Save the sweet treats for special occasions!
Chocolate Avocado Frosting
- 2 very ripe avocados
- ¼ cup chopped baking chocolate (around 65% cacao)
- ¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- ¼ cup agave
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- ¼ cup almond milk/soy milk
- pinch of salt
Melt the baking chocolate in the microwave (careful not to burn it). Let it cool slightly. In a food processor mix all ingredients together. Taste and adjust. Let chill in the fridge for at least 15 or so minutes.
This article was written by Jaqueline Neid- Avila, RDN, CD, Nutrition Faculty