21-Day Sugar Savvy Challenge
How much sugar do you eat?
Most individuals are consuming 20 or more teaspoons of added sugar a day, more than double the recommended maximum of 6 tsp (100 calories) for women and 9 tsp (150 calories) for men. Take this 21 Day Sugar Challenge to help you kick the sugar habit and feel better, too!
Take the 21-Day Challenge anytime you are ready!
In Spring 2015 and 2016, Be Well at Work Wellness Program ran a campus-wide 21-Day Sugar Savvy Challenge. Although the campus-wide challenge is over, you can still choose a goal, use one of these tracking options and the available resources, and start your own 21 day challenge with yourself, your co-workers, your department, or your family.
Instructions: Read through the Actions and Targets below addressing sweetened beverages, sweets/desserts, breakfast, snacks or learning to eat no more than the recommended daily maximum for added sugar. Identify and commit to one specific action and target for 21 days. There are also many resources provided to support your success, including the enlightening Sugar Savvy Webinar (under Recorded Webinars) and the Personal Success Tracker.
Sugar Savvy Challenge: Goals
RETHINK YOUR DRINK
Goal: Reduce your current consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages by half or more every day and drink more water
Sodas, sports drinks, fruit drinks, energy drinks, coffee drinks. The list of sweet beverages is endless. Sugar-sweetened beverages are the largest contributor of added sugar intake at 36%, and there is strong evidence linking them to weight gain and disease.
- Make tap water your beverage of choice.
- Drink half your usual consumption of sodas, diet soda, specialty coffee drinks, energy drinks, sports drinks, etc. each day
- Add only half as much sugar to your coffee or tea.
- Option -- If you’re highly motivated, eliminate all sugar-sweetened beverages for the 21-day challenge.
- Sugar Sweetened Beverages Article
- See how much sugar is in your favorite beverage
- How sweet is your beverage?
- Soft drinks and your health
CURB YOUR CRAVINGS
Goal: Curb sweet cravings with a healthy alternative, or just saying no, at least once a day.
If you tend to have cravings for something sweet, you may be able to weaken the craving over time if you don’t give in.
- Remove sweets from your office, workspace and/or home.
- Practice self-talk when the craving strikes – “I don’t need to eat anything sweet.”
- Distract yourself by going for a walk, listening to music, calling a friend, meditating, or drinking a glass of water – sometimes we mistake hunger for thirst!
CHOOSE SAVORY SNACKS
Goal: Try a whole food, no-added-sugar snack at one snack time per day.
If you tend to eat snacks between meals, make them healthy and filling. Snacks such as flavored yogurt, granola bars, and bran muffins – perceived as healthy – can be full of added sugar.
To tide yourself over between meals, include some protein and fiber, which can help keep you full. Try nuts and fruit, veggies and hummus, plain Greek yogurt with fresh fruit, or whole grain crackers with cheese.
For convenience, buy healthier packaged foods to keep on hand such as small packages of almonds, string cheese, or small containers of dip with veggies.
Save money by bagging or packaging your own individual portions of snacks. Invest in small containers for dip or nuts, bag up cut fruit or veggies, or portion out plain yogurt from a bulk container.
MAKE BREAKFAST SAVORY
Goal: Start your morning with a savory breakfast each day.
Eating a healthy breakfast has been linked to health benefits such as weight control, improved concentration and a more nutritionally complete diet. However, most typical breakfast choices of cereals, pastries, smoothies, or granola bars contain a lot of added sugar. New evidence is emerging that when you start your morning with a savory breakfast, it may reduce your sugar cravings later in the day. Try different recipes and foods to expand your savory breakfast repertoire!
- Bake a batch of frittata muffins on the weekend and reheat for 30-60 seconds each morning
- Hard-boil eggs on the weekend and slice up as a topping for whole grain toast with avocado, or pair with a piece of fruit
- In a reusable container, combine old-fashioned rolled oats, water or milk, fruit and cinnamon (optional) and refrigerate overnight. The oats will be softened by morning – no need to heat!
- Savory Oatmeal, Frittata Egg Muffins, and Pizza Omelet
- Spinach, Tomato, and Feta Oatmeal
- Breakfast Burrito
- Cook Well Berkeley Recipes
BE A SUGAR SAVVY STAR
Goal: Stay within the recommended added sugar limit every day. Week one: track your daily food/beverage intake in Fooducate and read nutrition labels. Week two: practice making informed choices without tracking. Week three: track again on Fooducate to see if you are falling within recommended added sugar limits.
- Women should limit added sugar to about 6 teaspoons or less per day, men to 9 teaspoons or less. This is based off the American Heart Association’s recommendation to limit added sugar to no more than half of your discretionary calorie allowance.
- Many adults are exceeding this recommendation by 2-3 times. Added sugar hides in many foods and adds up quickly so even health-conscious people may exceed the limit.
- If you consider yourself to be pretty sugar savvy and avoid sweetened beverages and treats, try this goal to potentially discover ways to be even more sugar savvy!
- Choose “real” foods without added sugar, such as vegetables, fruit, whole grains, and unsweetened dairy products, which may contain natural sugars, but those are not the concern.
Print our Personal Success Tracker and keep it with you. This gives you the flexibility to record extra information each day, such as number of sugar-sweetened beverages, number of teaspoons of added sugar, or how you felt each day.
Enter your goal on JoesGoals.com and check off each day that you achieve your goal. This site gives you the flexiblity to check off your goal multiple times in one day, let’s say if your goal is to curb your cravings more than once a day or if you want to check off each teaspoon of added sugar you consume.
Fooducate – if your goal is to track your added sugar intake, Fooducate will actually do this for you if you track everything you consume. This is very helpful if your goal is to stay within the recommended added sugar limits each day. Available for free for Android phones and iPhones.
Create Your Own
Utilize a calendar (electronic or paper) to check off days that you meet your goal, or keep a tally in the notes function of your cell phone, or keep a tally on a sticky note on your desk, bathroom mirror, or refrigerator.