Today is Day 22 of my August of No Fun (which isn’t an accurate name, but is easier to say than “my August of no restaurants/coffee shops/sugar/spending pointless amounts of money on food since I’m fully capable of cooking”). Can you believe it? I meant to update on it earlier, but this month has been going by surprisingly fast, all things considered.
As you may remember, my husband and I challenged ourselves to spend August not eating sugar and only eating food from home. There are obviously a few exceptions that we gave ourselves (because what is life if not unpredictable?):
1. We would be able to eat sugar or go to a restaurant if we were invited and we both thought it was ok. So, we were able to eat cookies his parents brought for dinner, the delicious carrot cake my mom made for my Grandpa’s birthday, and we will have both eaten at a restaurant once.
2. We agreed to invest in a Nespresso machine, so we could make delicious espresso drinks at home, since that’s what I drink most often. Since it didn’t get delivered until the 10th, there were a few desperate days where we hit up the local Starbucks to save ourselves from caffeine headaches.
3. Finally, we also agreed that September would not be a free-for-all where we could binge on the Halloween candy already in stores or eat fast food until we would explode. The whole point of this experiment is to build lifelong habits, not to detox and then start old bad habits again.
Now that we’re almost done with this month, and I know that living this way doesn’t have to be horrible, I wanted to share some things that have worked for me to make this easier. I am also going to share some of my favorite (sugarless) snacks!
Tips and tricks to successfully kick your sugar habit:
1. Meal plan, meal plan, meal plan!
The best way to avoid eating unhealthy things is to plan out your meals ahead of time. This means more work ahead of time, and being prepared. I plan a week’s worth of meals over the weekend, and plan to make meals that will yield leftovers on nights where I work the next day. That way, lunches and dinners are planned out in advance. For breakfast, I either have cereal or fruit, or this weekend I made some delicious rhubarb oat muffins!
2. Applesauce is your friend.
It didn’t take long into this month for me to realize that I was missing cookies. I don’t eat cookies very often under normal conditions, but all those cookie recipes on Pinterest started to look really good. I have found some awesome substitutions for sugar in baking, and my favorite is unsweetened applesauce! It keeps baked goods moist, and they are still sort of sweet, but in a good way. I did try to make cookies with applesauce, and they kind of turned into biscuits, so that’s something I will have to keep working on.
3. You will have bad days, and that’s ok!
Both times I have tried to quit sugar, I have had days with such horrible headaches that it almost didn’t seem worth it. But, just like any other struggle, it will pass! If you can go into it knowing that not every day is going to be amazing, you’re closer to success. There will be days where seeing a delicious treat in someone’s cart at the grocery store will make you either want to scream, cry or eat it all, but failing is not worth it at all.
Top 10 favorite (sugarless) snacks:
1. Cut up veggies and hummus
2. Tortilla chips and salsa
3. Cereal (be super careful here, most aren’t sugarless)
4. Popcorn! There are brands that are already popped and have minimal ingredients
5. Rice cake with either almond butter or laughing cow cheese
6. String cheese (easy to transport! Delicious!)
8. Fake ice cream made by blending frozen bananas with milk and various flavors from cocoa powder, peanut butter or extracts.
9. Crackers with cheese
10. Plain Greek Yogurt with almond butter and homemade sugarless jam mixed in.
I hope these tips and tricks help anyone out there trying to kick bad eating habits, but especially those not eating sugar. Do you have any tips? Any questions for me? Let me know in the comments!