Move over fat, sodium, and gluten, there’s a new (supposed) villain to our diets – sugar. So how do we guard against dietary enemy number one?
First, let’s clarify the real villain. What’s dangerous is consuming too much added sugar. Not all sugar is bad. Yes, it seems like a bold statement, but it’s true. Our brains need some sugar to function. Some foods naturally contain sugar. Sugar may add the right texture to items, and can even be used to preserve foods.
Sugar seems to be everywhere and in everything. Cutting out all sugar is incredibly challenging, it will hinder food choices, and who are we kidding; sweetened items can taste oh so good! So how do we limit our sugar intake?
• Look at both the nutrition fact panel and the ingredient listing. So a product has 10 grams of sugar, where is that sugar coming from? Look for products that are sweetened naturally with honey, dates, or fruit. If there’s added sugar aim for sources that are lower on the glycemic index and sustainably sourced, like coconut sugar.
• Make your own versions of foods that commonly have added sugar. For example, try making a smoothie bowl instead of ice cream. Packaged energy bars and candy bars are also notorious for added sugars, so try making your own bars. The recipes below from Manitoba Harvest Hemp Foods are delicious, easy to make, and nutritious.
Cold Brew Mocha Frappe
1 cup strong cold brewed coffee
1 cup almond milk
4 tbsp. Manitoba Harvest Hemp Protein Smoothie – Chocolate
4-6 medjool dates
1 cup ice
2-4 tbsp. dairy-free whipped cream (optional)
Directions: Place all ingredients in a blender and pulse until smooth and creamy. Add more ice to make it thicker. Pour into glasses and top with a dollop of dairy-free whipped cream.
Vanilla Chai Power Bars
¾ cup nut or seed butter
¼ tsp. sea salt
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 ½ cup rolled oats
¼ cup Hemp Hearts (plus a bit extra for sprinkling on top)
4 tbsp. Manitoba Harvest Hemp Protein Smoothie – Vanilla Chai
1/3 cup maple syrup
¼ cup chopped raw almonds
¼ cup dark chocolate chips or carob chips (optional)
Directions: Line an 8” x 8” pan with parchment paper, or grease it with coconut oil. Add the nut/seed butter, sea salt, cinnamon, oats, Hemp Hearts, Vanilla Chai Hemp Protein Smoothie and maple syrup to a food processor. Process until mixture is well combined and forms a soft dough.
Evenly press the mixture into the pan, and top with chopped almonds and extra Hemp Hearts. IF using chocolate or carob chips, melt and drizzle on top of the bars. Refrigerate the bars for 20 minutes, or until set. Cut into bars and store any extras in an airtight container in the fridge or freezer.
For more usage suggestions and recipes on how to make your own lower-sugar alternatives, visit www.manitobaharvest.com