The Best Way to Cut Out Added Sugar? Prepare Your Own Food

Preparing your own food can be a great way to cut down on added salt and sugars. As we exposed in a previous article, there can be hidden sugars in common foods and condiments such as ketchup, salad dressing and canned fruit. Most people buy these packaged foods out of convenience, but there are easy replacements that you can prepare that will be both tastier and healthier for you and your family. The first three recipes are my go-to recipes because they are easy to prepare with a few ingredients in a reasonable amount of time for busy households.

Easy Vinaigrette Remember you want 3 parts oil to 1 part vinegar or acid ratio. ¾ cup olive oil (try to use extra virgin) ¼ cup vinegar (you can use regular white vinegar or red wine vinegar) 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard Salt and pepper to taste Add to a covered container and shake vigorously or use an immersion blender if you have one. If you are wanting more homemade dressings that are a little more complicated than your simple oil and vinegar dressing, check out 8 Healthy Salad Dressing Recipes You Should Make at Home Homemade Pasta Sauce 1 32 oz can of crushed tomatoes (no salt added, check your labels) 4 cloves garlic, minced 4 tbsp olive oil (high-quality extra virgin is best) Seasonings such as parsley, basil, oregano Salt and pepper to taste Heat olive oil in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Add minced garlic and stir until fragrant, but do not let burn. Turn down the heat to medium and add tomatoes. Simmer the sauce for about 10 minutes (you may have to turn the heat lower). I added fresh parsley and basil.

Easy Coffee Creamer Half and Half Stevia Replace your overly sugary, preservative filled coffee creamer with just two simple ingredients. You can use cream, half and half or your favorite non-dairy milk (the top thick part of canned coconut milk is great too). Stevia is a sugar substitute that is actually much sweeter than sugar and has less calories so you can use less! The following recipes come from the Forest Feast Cookbook by Erin Gleeson and may be a little more complicated for the novice cook, meaning they require equipment such as a blender or food processor and ingredients that you may not already have in your kitchen. We also included some easy desserts that include lots of fruits for natural sweetness and healthy fats such as nuts and coconut oil. Sesame-Soy Dressing ¾ cup olive oil ¼ cup rice vinegar 2 teaspoons sesame oil 2 teaspoons soy sauce ½ teaspoons garlic powder 1 tablespoon sesame seeds 1 chopped scallion Place all ingredients in jar and shake well. Keep leftovers refrigerated; good for 5-7 days.

“Carefree Chocolate Sauce” Eating Clean by Annie Valpone Drizzle over fruit, such as strawberries, pineapple slices, or bananas 1/3 cup coconut oil 6 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder 2 ½ tablespoons pure maple syrup ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract Pinch of sea salt In a small saucepan, melt the oil over low heat. Remove from the heat and whisk in the cocoa powder, maple syrup, vanilla and salt. Whisk until the mixture is smooth. Serve immediately. Store in a seal container up to 2 days. If the sauce hardens, place the sealed container in a bowl of warm water and let sit for 5 minutes, stirring often, until its smooth and silky Mango and Coconut Cream Parfait Eating Clean by Annie Valpone 1 large ripe mango, peeled, pitted and diced 2 tablespoons melted coconut oil 2 medium navel oranges, peeled, seeded and segmented ¼ cup slivered raw almonds 2 tablespoons unsweetened coconut flakes ¼ cup raw chopped almonds 2 teaspoons finely chopped mind Puree the mango and coconut oil in a blender or food processor. Divide oranges between two serving bowls and then top with the mango mixture. Place the bowls in the refrigerator for 30 minutes. While the parfaits are chilling, toast the almonds in a skillet on stove top for 2 minutes. Remove from heat and toast coconut flakes in same pan, about 2 minutes. To serve the parfaits, top each bowl with half of the toasted almonds, toasted coconut flakes, walnuts, mint and additional grapefruit segments if desired. Serve immediately. Beaming Raw Pecan Walnut Plum Crumble Eating Clean by Annie Valpone ¾ cup pitted Medjool dates ½ cup raw pecans ½ cup raw walnuts ¼ teaspoon pure vanilla extract Pinch of ground cinnamon 5 plums, pitted, diced or slice 2 tablespoons raw honey Combine the dates, pecans, walnuts, vanilla, cinnamon, and salt in a food processor; pulse until crumbs form. Transfer the mixture to a small bowl; if using immediately, set aside. (you can make crumble a day in advanced and store in a sealed container in refrigerator) Place the plums in a medium bowl, drizzle with the honey, and then divide them among four bowls. Spoon the crumb mixture on top. Top with extra cinnamon if desired.

Peanut Butter Avocado Shake Forest Feast ½ ripe avocado 1 ¼ cup milk (regular or almond) 2 frozen bananas (peel and cut into chunks before freezing) 2 tablespoons peanut butter 3 ice cubes Combine all ingredients in a blender until smooth Serves 2

We hope you enjoyed this compilation of simple recipes to help cut out some added sugar. Remember that added sugar can contribute to inflammation and one of the easiest ways to monitor your sugar intake is to prepare your own food!

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