How to host the perfect dinner party

I’m excited to be guest posting for Mary Ellen! When she asked me to write about dinner parties and hosting, I was excited because this is one of my favorite things to do. I love inviting people over, feeding them, andenjoying their company.  Noticethatlastpart. Istronglybelieveinstress-free dinner parties and actually getting to ENJOY my guests, not strictly SERVING my guests. This has everything to do with planning. From making sure I have enough food, to planning for finicky eaters; the most important part about hosting is in the moments leading up to the  party.

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How to break up with ADDED sugar

 
how to break up with added sugar
 

How to break up with ADDED sugar

how to break up with added sugar

Added sugars are found all over our food supply: breads, crackers, pretzels, salad dressings… and I could keep going. If you're eating processed foods, you'll start to see that sugar is everywhere, and if it's not somewhere already, then we typically add it in ourselves. Taking an added #sugarhiatus will not only teach you how to spot these added sugars in your food, but also how to prepare foods without added sugars that still taste deliciously sweet! 

So, keep reading to learn how you can make the ultimate break up with added sugar. At the end of this article, there's a link to a complete Sugar Swap Guidebook with 55 pages of instructions, tips, facts... and 20 out of this world added-sugar-free recipes!!

The many names of sugar

Sugar comes in many forms, so it’s important to know a few popular ones that may show up in your processed foods. Before we can eliminate added sugar, we need to know what we’re looking for. Did you know there are over 61 different names for added sugar?! That’s a lot! Some of the names for sugar are more obvious, like:

how to break up with added sugar
  • Sugar
  • Honey
  • Agave
  • Sucrose
  • High fructose corn syrup
  • Fructose
  • Glucose
  • Maple syrup
  • Molasses

But there are some that aren’t as obvious, and you need to watch out for:

  • Barley malt
  • Dextrose
  • Maltose
  • Cane juice
  • Dextrin
  • Maltodextrin
  • Maltol
  • Mannose
  • Maltose
  • Muscovado
  • Panocha
  • Saccharose
  • Sweet sorghum
  • Treacle

These different names for added sugar can be found in 74% of packaged foods!

Before starting your break up from added sugar, try to plan ahead and do some research. Start taking notice of where sugar is in your diet before diving in. This will help you gain perspective before starting, which in turn will allow for a more successful experience.

Because I know you’ll ask, here are the “rules”…

how to break up with added sugar
  1. Be kind to yourself. This break up with added sugar isn’t about legalism, or following a set of rules. It’s about creating awareness around the foods we eat, and specifically the added sugars we may or may not be aware of. It’s an awareness exercise, keep that in mind and remember, a healthy diet is all about balance.
  2. Naturally occurring sugars are ok. So, that means fruit, medjool dates, dairy, etc. are a-ok in their natural forms.
  3. Cut out as many added sugars as you can… of any form, regardless of how “healthy” they are. Coconut sugar, table sugar, agave nectar etc… not ok.
  4. Take your time. This is meant as an awareness exercise. Go through each topic and activity, and do what you can.  This is a no pressure zone. You do you.
  5. Pick a date to start, circle it on the calendar, and start counting down (or up). With every day that goes by, it gets easier and you'll start to be more aware and feel better. Think of this as a challenge, not as a dietary restriction. Having this mindset will help you get through the process.  If you can, try to recruit a friend of relative to do this with you so that you can check in on each other or even complain to (because you are both in the same boat). So if you can convince someone, anyone, to do it with you, major props to you—that’s one more person taking the challenge toward better health.
  6. Try to be mindful during this process and take note of any physical and mental changes. Embrace the challenge. Ready, set, go!

So, are you ready?? I think you are! Take the next step and download the Sugar Swap Guidebook I wrote with Dana Harrison, MS (Owner and Nutritionist at Eats2Know); and join our #sugarhiatus community over on instagram!

Reducing your cancer risk: The other kind of smoke you need to worry about

We all know smoking can significantly increase your risk for developing cancer, and you may have heard that smoked meats can also increase your cancer risk… but did you know there’s another kind of smoke you may need to pay attention to, to help reduce your risk of developing cancer?

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4 ways to eat what you want... and still stay healthy

It usually happens to me about once/week. Someone will ask what I do (read more about that here)… I tell them I’m a dietitian… and then they act all shocked and shaken when I pop a French fry in my mouth! Or they want to know exactly what I eat so they can do the same.

As a registered dietitian nutritionist (RDN), I’m definitely held to a higher standard… I’m sure people think I eat grass-fed, organic, non-GMO plant-based wheat grass all day long. And when they see me enjoying a juicy hamburger or a fat chocolate chip cookie (gasp!), they act like their world has just been turned upside down.

So, how do I do it? How do I stay healthy and satisfied with what I’m eating, but not eat tree bark all day long? Here are 4 ways I eat what I want, while still staying healthy.

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Why it's ok to reward your kids (and yourself) with food

Not the headline you were expecting from a dietitian, right? I know. It’s not the typical viewpoint for someone like me. But let me explain.

Prior to having kids, I likely would have told you some boring unrealistic textbook strategies for getting your kids to eat healthy…with no earthly idea of just how frustrating it is to feed those demanding, tiny little humans I love so much.

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