I’ve been on a bit of a “watch my sugar intake” lately. It’s definitely not a diet (I try to just always eat a pretty balanced diet), and I’m DEFINITELY not cutting it out entirely. But I read somewhere recently that women should try to keep added sugar to around 6 teaspoons a day. (This doesn’t include naturally occurring sugar like in fruit or even milk.) The article even recommended including artificial sweeteners in that number, since it’s not like they’re great for you.

I am a big fan of Splenda, so the first change I’ve been trying to make is adding only 1 packet to my morning coffee or tea. I realized that if I have 2 cups with my typical 2 packets each, I’ve already consumed 4+ teaspoons of sweetener! Some days I’ll still go for 2 (I like making my tea strong and then getting it sweet and creamy…mmm), but I’ve really come to be okay with just 1. When I use quality, freshly ground coffee, I enjoy the actual coffee taste cutting through my vanilla creamer and fake sugar. Ha.

The other place I’ve been looking at sugar is in my yogurt. I’ve been doing Greek yogurt with granola for breakfast lately, and I found that even with the bite of plain Greek yogurt the granola adds enough sweetness that don’t feel compelled to drizzle it with honey like I usually would. However, since I’m also a bargain hunter, I tend to buy whatever brand of yogurt is on sale. This past week I got a great deal on Yoplait Greek, which only comes in blueberry, honey, or strawberry. Strawberry is the only one that appealed to me. I didn’t check the label at the store, but when I had the first one for breakfast I noticed that it has TWENTY grams of sugar. That’s preposterous! It makes a supposedly healthy food more like a dessert. So just keep in mind that just because it seems healthy doesn’t necessarily mean it is.

I’m not planning to go label crazy, and I do still get struck by a sweet teeth on occasion. But I’m trying to be more aware of sugar in my diet and choose sweet things that I’m really going to enjoy so that the indulgence will feel worth it.

And of course it’s ironic that I post this on Valentine’s Day, the ultimate in chocolate indulgence. On the menu for today are a breakfast date out that will probably include some sort of baked good and a coffee treat, chocolate covered strawberries snuck into A’s lunch bag (shhh!) and a mocha truffle cake for tonight. But THOSE, my friends, are sweets that are worth every teaspoon of added sugar!

Laura Lindeman

Laura Lindeman