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How to cut back on sugar: Healthy Diet Plan

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Keen to reduce your sugar intake? Discover three top tips for adopting a low-sugar lifestyle, plus how BBC Good Food's Healthy Diet Plans can help.

If you've made a resolution to cut back on sugar but you're not sure how to get started, there's no need to feel daunted. Our expert information, top tips and recipes will help you achieve your goal.

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Our Healthy Diet Plans are a great way to kick start a healthier way of eating. All our recipes aim to steer clear of added refined sugars and follow the latest guidance on your intake of 'free' sugars. If you haven't already, sign up today to receive free online access to the plan.

We asked nutritionist Kerry Torrens BSc. (Hons) PgCert MBANT for her three top tips to cut back on sugar, plus how the recipes from our latest Healthy Diet Plan can help you achieve your goal.

Looking to make the most of your plan? Join nutritionist Kerry Torrens on January 11th and 25th for a two-part series explaining everything you need to know about making the plans work for you - register now.

Three tips for cutting back on sugar

1. Cook from scratch

Tempeh traybake

Cooking at home rather than eating at a restaurant or fast-food outlet is the single most effective way to control levels of added sugar in your diet. Try making your own pasta sauces and dressings, and opt for homemade salad bowls or soups rather than buying ready-made options – get all the recipes you need when you sign up to our Healthy Diet Plan. It seems obvious that cakes and pastries contain the sweet stuff, but did you know that many processed and packaged foods also contain hidden sugar, including supposedly savoury items? Our printable healthy cooking cheat sheet is a great way to keep track of little extras, such as condiments and sauces, that can inadvertently add lots of sugar to your daily intake.

2. Opt for naturally sweet fruit and vegetables

Millet porridge

As you wean yourself off 'free' sugars (the type we are advised to cut back on) choose natural sources of sweetness like fresh fruits or naturally sweet veggies such as sweet potatoes. This will help your palate adapt and will keep you energised so you don't experience a sugar crash. Naturally sweet fruit and vegetables, such as the fresh berries that we've used to top the millet porridge in our Healthy Diet Plan, are packed with vitamins, minerals and fibre. Try our inspiring snack and sweet treat suggestions, designed to complement a healthy balanced diet.

3. Eat enough protein and fat

Veg packed muffins

Include protein and healthy fats in all of your main meals – these macronutrients take more time to digest so they keep you fuller for longer, which is crucial for curbing cravings and keeping you satiated. The flavourful veg-packed egg muffins from our Healthy Diet Plan makes a great lunch, rich in protein and healthy fats from the eggs and legumes. Some research has suggested that a satisfying breakfast may help you to make better food choices later on in the day, so you may find yourself less likely to reach for the biscuit tin. You'll find three delicious, hearty breakfast recipes in our latest plan.

Enjoyed this? Get more health tips

Your FREE winter 2022 Healthy Diet Plan
All you need to know about sugar
10 things you should know before giving up sugar


This article was reviewed on 16th December 2022.

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All health content on bbcgoodfood.com is provided for general information only, and should not be treated as a substitute for the medical advice of your own doctor or any other healthcare professional. Any healthy diet plan featured by BBC Good Food is provided as a suggestion of a general balanced diet and should not be relied upon to meet specific dietary requirements. If you have any concerns about your general health, you should contact your local healthcare provider. See our website terms and conditions for more information.

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