One of the biggest things in lowering the amount of sugar in your diet is cooking more. Before coming to college, my mom made almost all of my meals and my skills in the kitchen included pouring cereal, following the instructions on a mac and cheese box, and not burning grilled cheese about 60% of the time. The longer I’ve lived outside the dorms, the more I’ve learned to cook- and this past week especially it’s become really enjoyable! However, my repertoire of recipes is not that big, but I’ve learned a lot about how to find them!
Pinterest is great, but the healthy recipes are surrounded by brownies, cookies, bars, lots and lots of desserts… I’ve been avoiding Pinterest lately. Two great websites I’ve come to really enjoy are Yummly and Foodgawker. When you create an account on Yummly, it asks you a few questions like what kind of food you like, food restrictions, and any food allergies you may have. You can even tell it that you’re looking for recipes for one! It then pulls from hundreds of websites and gives you recipes from all over the Internet. You can search for something in particular, like a smoothie or pasta, or you can browse what’s popular and in season. Once you start saving recipes, it will start recommending ones it thinks you’ll like. Foodgawker is essentially Pinterest, but only with food. No distractions of cute outfits you can’t afford- focus strictly on dinner!
As far as breakfast recipes, I looked for things that could be made quickly and made in advanced, so you can wake up (maybe microwave a bit) and go. One is for a healthier imitation of an Egg McMuffin http://www.theyummylife.com/Egg_McMuffin another for oatmeal, sugar free muffins http://greenlitebites.com/2009/03/banana-oatmeal-cups-with-chocolate-chips/, just use blueberries instead of chocolate chips to skip the sugar.
For lunch, I’m typically reheating leftovers from dinner the night before. If I’m in class all day, I’ll bring a turkey sandwich, some carrot sticks, and an orange with me. I’ve learned that when I get really hungry I really crave unhealthy, sugary snacks, so I like to be prepared. If you have any great lunch recipes, please share!
A great recipe for dinner I’ve made twice since I’ve started my sugar-free challenge is honey chicken stir-fry. Now I know honey counts as sugar, but it has been my little cheat the past ten days. It’s healthier than sugar for a variety of reasons. According to Ask Alice, a column written by the health department at Columbia, honey is not naturally processed, has added vitamins and minerals that aid in digestion, and may even have antioxidants that can improve your health. Honey is also denser and sweeter tasting than sugar, so people often use a lot less. When making this recipe, rather than cooking chicken in a fry pan, like the recipe suggests, I bake it in the oven, which keeps it really moist. Shoutout to my roommate Hannah for teaching me this awesome trick! Cover the chicken with soy sauce and put it in the oven for 7 minutes at 425, flip and cook for another 7 minutes and add it to the stir-fried vegetables. I also completely skipped the step with cornstarch, and it’s still delicious! http://www.tasteofhome.com/recipes/honey-chicken-stir-fry
The final thing I want to share with you are recipes I’ve used to satisfying my sweet tooth. This smoothie tastes just like a sweet tart http://www.cooks.com/recipe/q24rn94t/strawberry-banana-smoothie.html. I use honey instead of sugar and use ¼ cup Greek yogurt and ½ cup milk. It’ll make a lot, so be sure to have a cup handy to save the leftovers! The other treat I really like is one of my own creation. I take a whole wheat tortilla and spread it with peanut butter and put sliced banana and strawberries on one half. I fold it over and cook it on the stove for about 2 minutes on each side so the inside gets melted and warm. I use a pizza cutter to cut it into three triangles and it’s ready to go!
I hope you found something you’d like to try, or at least find something delicious on Yummly or Foodgawker. If you have healthy recipes you’d like to share, please do! Have fun and happy cooking!