Instead of toilet roll and dried pasta, more recently we seem to have been raiding the shelves for flour and yeast in an under cover Great British Bake Off.
I’m not going to lie, I’ve had a little dabble myself too but one thing that really struck a chord is just how much sugar is in everything.
Now, first things first there’s nothing wrong with having SOME sugar.
However it’s important to understand that diets high in sugar will likely be high in calories too.
When it comes to the sugar in our diet we should aim to get most of this from ‘starchy’ rather than ‘sugary’ sources as our bodies brake down the starchy carbohydrates less quickly providing us with a much slower release of energy.
This itself prevents large sugar spikes and the onset of cravings causing us to consume even further calories later in the day as we fight to stay awake and maintain concentration at our desks.
The most common culprits for increasing our sugar consumption are table sugar (adding this to our food/drinks ourselves), preserves, soft drinks, flavoured waters and fruit juices. Not to mention the sweets, chocolates, biscuits and cakes that make their way into our cupboards too. Other sources to watch out for are condiments such as ketchup and BBQ sauce for example and low fat products as these have often been laced with sugar alternatives to keep the taste.
Let’s get things straight, it is the added sugars that we are trying to avoid here. Naturally occurring sugars often carry their own nutritional benefits such as vitamins and minerals, take fruit and vegetables for example both essential parts of our diet. Not to mention a vital source of fibre to help keep us regular and keep our cholesterol levels under control.
However it is the sugars added to our drinks, the sweets, cakes and ready meals that are the ones we need to look to cut out or at least restrict/control.
Our top tips for avoiding the consumption of unnecessary sugar include...
Reduce the amount of sugar you add to drinks such as teas and coffees, consider alternatives such as sweeteners to bridge the gap. These should eventually be limited too.
Limit adding sugar to breakfast cereals, consider fruits such as berries, plums and banana (preferably not dried fruits).
Avoid sugary fizzy drinks, energy drinks and fruit juices from concentrate, even pure fruit juices and smoothies can contain large amounts of sugar if you’re not careful.
Watch out for low fat products such as ready meals, yoghurts, cheeses and table sauces to name just a few many of these will have hidden sugars to keep them palatable as discussed but admittedly could be the lesser of the two evils.
Increase protein intake to help you feel fuller for longer and prevent cravings creeping in, try adding in protein based snacks such as boiled eggs, chicken thighs or a handful of nuts.
In the meantime, by all means enjoy your time in the kitchen baking your grandma’s old favourites but why not also use the time to experiment with some healthier recipes and alternatives that mean you can enjoy the same great tasting treats without the hike in calories and putting your health and fitness goals on hold.
Want to learn more or just need a hand with your nutrition then don't hesitate to contact us and see how we can do; firstname.lastname@example.org