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Learning to Say “When!”

Most of us know roughly which foods we should be eating more of, and which we should be eating less of, but that second category is just so darn tasty. Quitting cold turkey works for many people, but it can be impractical, especially if you’re not easily able to prepare almost all of the food you eat yourself. Plus, when we’re tired, treats look especially good. And few treats are as tempting as sugar.

Here are some tips for taming the sugar beast:

Reduction. This can be risky but is worth trying. Do you put an embarrassing number of sugar packets in our coffee or tea? Try using just one less, and see if you can stick with it for a week or two. Then try taking another away.

Different Sweeteners. Try a different sweetener, such as fruit juice, unrefined sugar, or honey. The taste difference may help, too, by adding some additional interest — in the same way that adding some spices to foods can help you use less salt.

Brush your teeth immediately after a meal. This helps curb the temptation to keep noshing, especially by dragging out the “desserts” phase of a meal. Keep a toothbrush at work to help reduce the temptation to graze around the office.

Avoid processed food. Many processed, packaged foods have added sugar — especially “low-fat foods.”

Think a little bigger about “sugar.” Some people treat all carbs as evil, and that’s definitely not true — just give some thought to what you’re getting out of those carbs. One good place to start is fiber content. When possible, choose carbohydrate sources with more fiber, like whole grain breads, whole fruits, and vegetables. Some vegetables in particular, like carrots, are pretty sweet!

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