Today’s post is about an interesting challenge a dear friend of mine has to take upon-more unwillingly than willing! Her doctor suggested she goes sugar free for 30 days and she was in complete panic. I have been off refined sugar for two years now and this has become a part of my life. I can never think of making anything with refined sugar and I love the creativity involved in recreating my meals and breakfasts without sugar. I was so excited when she told me she had to go sugar free because I felt this was new lease of life for her! I wanted her to embrace this sugar free challenge and really enjoy the sugar detox process and possibly come out giving sugar up forever! (I am allowed to be optimistic!) I asked her to do two things, list out all the meals she has which has sugar in it as well all her questions regarding how to tackle going sugar free.
These are her questions regarding sugar free challenge for 30 days. I have tried to answer them with helpful suggestions and ideas and have decided this will be a series of posts. Part I will be dealing with the breakfast related questions. Part II will be all further queries from my friend, Part III will be questions arising from the past two posts as well as suggestions or ideas that I think about as well. We can then decide if we need to add to these series!
How do you make Breakfast Sugar free and More Interesting?
My friend listed she eats granola for breakfast or oats with milk and sugar. Sometimes she makes overnight oats and she adds maple syrup or honey to it. She also has orange juice.
Overnight oats is an excellent healthy breakfast idea, especially if you use yogurt with live bacteria culture which will ensure healing for your gut as well. Add a heap of chia seeds to your overnight oats to ensure an added source of protein and soluble fibre. Overnight oats lasts for a few days in a fridge so make a big batch on one one night and then you have enough for a breakfast every week day. Try adding some vegetables into it like grated carrot or beetroot or courgette. You can also try my recipe for Beetroot Overnight Oats which is a quick and fun way to add more vegetables into your breakfast.
For a sweetener avoid using maple syrup and honey because they are as good as refined sugar. Hence should be avoided as much as possible and used as an occasional treat. You can read more about it in my article on How to go Sugar free. Instead add fruits like grated apple, ripe bananas, chopped pineapple or mango and if you really feel you need it sweeter add some chopped dates. Dates have a better fibre content and mineral content. It is one of my favourite sweeteners and you can read about its benefits in my article on 4 Healthy Natural sugar Alternatives. Add one or two dates per serving and you should be good to go! Cinnamon also lends sweetness as well as flavour and you can add cinnamon powder into your breakfast bowl as well.
Orange Juice again is pure sugars and the fructose will directly get converted into fat by your liver. In fact the amount of sugar in orange juice or any pure fruit juice is as much as that of a regular soda. Your body cannot discern between natural or processed sugars and natural sugars from fruit juice like OJ and you end up consuming useless calories and no nutrients. It is better to have a few segments of oranges instead of the juice because the fruit as a whole has fibre and the process of chewing will actually make you fuller and more satisfied. I prefer making a Green juice or a Beetroot Pomegranate juice for breakfast. If you do not have time to make your own juice, find the nearest cold pressed juice centre and grab a juice for yourself. Make sure you choose a juice which has more vegetables or greens than fruit. Coconut water is another option.
If you want to eat granola for breakfast my first suggestion would be to make your own. Granola can be quite unhealthy as it is made with a lot of plant based oils and sugars. I have a recipe for Beetroot granola as well as Squash Turmeric Granola which you can make in a big batch and store for a longer time. However I can understand that you may be too busy to make your own granola, the next step is buying granolas. Most store bought supermarket granolas or cereals are packed with sugar, even if it says brown sugar its not better. Look for brands which use dates as a sweetener and coconut oil or cold pressed rapeseed oil as the fat or which are Raw or Paleo granola. This will ensure it is without refined sugars. I have written a review on my favourite sugar free healthy granola brands in the UK which you can read here. Alternatively find similar brands are available in your country. These healthy granola brands are very expensive though, hence I prefer making a big batch at home instead. Finally granola still has a higher amount of sugar and fat then regular cereal. Eat it once or twice a week and load the bowl with nuts, seeds, yogurt and fruit as well.
I remember trying to find any cereal without added sugar in the supermarket and realised that even something like Wheatabix has sugar in it. The best nutrient dense, cheap option is oat meal. Steel cut oats is healthier as its less processed but jumbo oats is good enough for a busy day. The quick oats is too processed so preferably avoid it as well. Try adding chia seeds and dried fruit into your porridge or oatmeal. Avoid adding any sugar and instead sweeten it with fresh and dried fruits. I like to add bananas and organic goji berries into my porridge. My recipe for Carrot Turmeric porridge is a warming and delicious recipe which again can be made in a big batch and stored in the fridge to last a few days.
Chia Pudding, Nicecream and Smoothie Bowls:
Finally a few other simple to make breakfast ideas are Chia puddings or Chia parfaits. Soak chia seeds overnight in a smoothie or vegetable juice or milk and have it the next day with nuts or sugar free granola or fresh fruit. A simple recipe is my Blueberry Chia Pudding which will give you an idea how to make a simple chia pudding. Nicecreams are ice creams made from frozen fruit and are fun way of eating ice cream for breakfast. My recipe for a Nicecream Breakfast Parfait will give you an idea about how to have it as a breakfast. Another fun frozen breakfast idea is my recipe for Yogurt Breakfast Popsicles which are perfect for hot summers day!
Finally smoothie bowls are a great way of having vegetables in your breakfast. It can also be very nutrient dense if you add nuts and chia seeds into it. It is also portable, you can drink it on way to your work and keeps well for 3-4 days in the fridge. Try my Tropical Green Smoothie Bowl or my Beetroot Smoothie Bowl to get inspiration.
30 Day Sugar free Challenge Begins Today!
For this sugar free challenge for breakfast I would suggest you go out and buy a range of nuts like almonds, walnuts, cashew nuts and brazil nuts. Seeds like pumpkin seeds, Sunflower seeds and Chia seeds. Dried fruit like dates, figs, prunes and organic goji berries. Put them in nice glass jars and keep them ready so that they can inspire to stay healthy and make the challenge of eating sugar free easier. Find a store or an online shop which can deliver organic apples and pears, bananas and any other fruit in season as well as organic greens, beetroot and carrots. Nature has bestowed us with some wonderful healthy candy and all we need to do it take a little effort in the beginning to make these positive changes. Soon enough it will become a routine or habit.
I also suggest you join Instagram and follow some accounts of healthy bloggers or health food enthusiasts. They will constantly inspire you to create new sugar free healthy breakfast recipes. Follow my account if you are not already as I share a new breakfast creation every week. You can then follow those I follow or my friends or ask me for suggestions, there are some wonderfully talented and creative people out there all on the same sugar free journey!
I hope I have convinced you that going sugar free for breakfast is a fun ride filled with new and healthy experiences! Let me know if you are inspired by this article, learnt something new or have any queries or suggestions in the comments below!