By: Anastasia McAdams
I am typing this while staring at a jar of jelly beans on my co-workers desk so you can imagine what sparked my interest to write this today! With Easter approaching, the candy aisle at Kroger is anything but sparse. But honestly, when is there not holiday candy out? Didn’t we just have Valentine’s Day candy? And Christmas candy? And Halloween candy? When does the cycle stop? We are constantly put in the position to eat candy, or cake for a co-workers birthday, or the cookies we are making for our child’s third grade class.
Now, I am not saying eating a cookie or a slice of cake every now and then is a bad thing! But what happens when you grab a handful of jelly beans around 10 am, a slice of cake around 3, and then a cookie after dinner? That would be over 60 grams of sugar and I am not even calculating in your morning coffee or orange juice, or the granola bar you ate at breakfast.
The average American consumes 82 grams of sugar PER DAY! That blows my mind. We are only recommended to consume roughly 25 grams.
Sugar has been known to cause cancer, heart problems, obesity, diabetes, metabolic syndrome, and cavities.
It is so easy to consume sugar in our beverages, cereals, yogurts, sauces, milks, granola bars, canned goods, etc. Sugar is everywhere.
So how do you cut that candy craving?
· Try swapping soda for sparkling water or kombucha. It will take some getting used to but the more you drink water, the more you crave it! I personally love adding fresh lemons and a drop of spearmint essential oil to my water.
· Start adding half the amount of sugar you would normally add to coffee or cookies!
· Swap applesauce, fruit juices, and sugary smoothies with REAL, WHOLE fruits! I love a sliced apple with a heaping tablespoon of almond butter.
· Ditch the sugar altogether and incorporate small amount of Stevia in your baked goods or coffee.
· Add pure maple syrup to pancakes instead of “pancake syrups” like Aunt Jemima. (My recipe below uses maple syrup too!)
· Try researching “Whole 30 Recipes” on Google! You will find so many recipes that have NO SUGAR at all!
One of my favorite things to eat when I feel like I need something sweet is my Cashew Cookie Dough Balls! Don’t get me wrong, sometimes I like the occasional chocolate chip cookie or scoop of ice cream, but you can’t eat those things everyday! This recipe is packed with nutritious cashews for some healthy fat, oats for fiber, cacao nibs for antioxidants (while providing a slight crunch!), and a little maple syrup for some sweetness and consistency. This recipe is so healthy you can eat it anytime of the day!
Cashew Cookie Dough Balls [Makes 35 tablespoon-sized bites!]
· 1 cup roasted & salted cashews
· 1 cup quick oats (or rolled – just pulse for longer!)
· ½ cup maple syrups
· 1 tsp vanilla extract
· 1/3 cup cacao nibs (found on Amazon.com!)
Pulse cashews and oats in a food processor until fine and crumbly. Add in maple syrup and vanilla. Pulse until sticky and a ball begins to form. Add in cacao nibs and pulsed until combined. Roll into 35 balls on a cookie sheet. Lick the bowl clean! Freeze for an hour before enjoying! Best stored in freezer for up to 2 months.
Nutrition (per ball): 47 cal, 6 g carbs, 2 g fat, 1 g protein, 9 g sodium, 3 g sugar
I hope you enjoy! Feel free to find the original recipe on my blog at:
http://sugarscience.ucsf.edu/the-growing-concern-of-overconsumption/ – .WrKkmdPwajQ