As a nation, we have a problem when it comes to sugars and fats. But do you need to prepare your home so that it is fat and sugar free to stop you exceeding the daily recommendations? And is it as simple as clearing out the cupboards, or do you have to make a bit more of a conscious effort?
Dietitian Gaynor Bussell believes that “as a population we do consume too much saturated fats, which isn’t a good fat to have.” NHS guidelines suggest men should restrict intake of the bad fats to 30g a day, with it 20g for women. On top of this, recent government guidelines have suggested that we cut our daily intake of sugar, with too much linked to tooth decay, diabetes and obesity.
But how can we cut down on foods that, although we know are bad for us, we sometimes just crave?
Clear out your cupboards
Find yourself tempted by the packet of biscuits in the cupboard? Don’t replace them next time you run out! After all, you can only eat them if they are there. “If you can, don’t have biscuits and cakes in the house if you’re not intending to eat them,” said Gaynor Bussell. By filling your cupboards and fridge with healthier food instead, you’re not going to fall into the same unhealthy habit the next time you go to grab a quick snack. Also, if you put the healthier options at eye-level in your cupboards or fridge, when you go hunting for a snack you’ll come across these first
Make healthy swaps
If you still feel that you want to have something to snack on with a cup of tea, why not make a healthy swap instead. “I say to my diabetic clients that there’s no need to have biscuits and things in the house as a snack,” said Bussell. She suggests exchanging the staple snacks with a fruit scone or a slice of malt bread, which are both lower in fat and have a lower glycemic index as well. If it’s crisps that you snack on, try salted or sweet popcorn, as these are better for you – just make sure to get a small packet!
Take note of servings
Bussell did say that there’s no food that should be completely banned – instead, you just have to be aware of the suggested serving size. It may be surprising, but fruit juice contains nearly as much sugar as the same sized serving of Coca Cola. “You are only supposed to have 150ml per day per person of fruit juice, so if you do buy a big litre carton it will take some time to get through it if it’s just you drinking it,” explains Bussell. Her advice is ultimately to be mindful of what you’re buying and the suggested servings. That way, you shouldn’t exceed the recommended daily amounts of sugar and fat, and you won’t end up eating something in your cupboard just for the sake of it!
Ignore the supermarket deals and make a list
Finally, it may sound obvious, but going into a supermarket without a plan of what you’re going to buy leaves you more likely to make impulse purchases for things that you don’t really need. Bussell recommends planning out what you’re going to eat for the week and stick to it. “If not, you could be tempted by the deals and offers that most shops advertise,” she said. “If you don’t end up eating the bulk purchases, it’s a bit of a false economy to buy them in the first place.” She also suggested buying some basics and keeping a few things in the cupboards and freezer; then, if you’ve got time, you can pick up fresh vegetables on a daily basis for your evening meals.