This free 7 Day No Sugar Challenge will make you more mindful about what’s in your food. Complete with a healthy meal plan + simple tips. Let’s do this!
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What is the 7 Day No Sugar Challenge?
- 7 days of choosing to be mindful about what you eat
- Mindfully avoiding all forms of sugar/artificial sweeteners in anything you eat
- Focusing on fueling your body with nutritious, delicious foods
- Learning whats in your food so you can make informed choices
- Curbing your sugar addiction (if you have one!)
Here’s what this challenge is NOT:
- a detox (your organs do that every day so you’re good on that front!)
- a guarantee to lose 100 lbs and inches off your body (major eye roll, that doesn’t happen in 7 days)
- an expectation that you will never eat sugar again (that would be ridiculous.. sometimes you need a little dessert!)
The purpose of this challenge is to get you to realize what’s in your food. More than ever there are additives, and loads of salt/sugars being added to our food to make the foods hyper palatable. My hope is that in going through this exercise for the week you’ll be more mindful about what’s in your food!
DAY 1: Learn about sugar!
What are the Names of Sugar?
Sugar has over 50 different names…isn’t that crazy?? This helpful graphic from Women’s Health outlines some of the names of sugar.
Unfortunately, that list doesn’t even include artificial sweeteners like:
- truvia, stevia. splenda
- aspartame, sucralose, saccharin, neotame
- monk fruit
Basically, there are too many different forms of sugar to even name.. so what I’m challenging you to do is: READ YOUR INGREDIENTS.
Sugar isn’t the worst thing on the planet – but it’s over added and often unnecessary. 5g here 5g there.. it adds up.
How to Read Ingredients List
Anything with a label needs to be read. You probably don’t even realize that most dressings, nut butters, snack foods (chips/pretzels/etc), and even meats (like bacon!) have sugar added to them.
Flip to the ingredients label of the product you’re going to purchase. Note: We aren’t looking at the calories, fat, protein, etc. We want to know what’s inside the product. Once you’ve located the ingredients, read through everything listed carefully. If it ends in ‘-ose’ (fructose, glucose, sucralose) it’s likely sugar. Screenshot the above image to use a reference.
It isn’t enough to simply take a claim like ‘Sugar free’ on the front of the package as confirmation of the ingredients. – Something may be ‘sugar free’ but have agave in it, which is just a different form of sugar. You’re still going to cravee sugar if you eat ‘sugar free’ things.
If you’re confused on what an ingredient is, and if it may be sugar, simply google it. Type ‘what is ____’, and you’ll quickly have your answer.
FOR DAY 2:
7 Day No Sugar Challenge Meal Plan
Here’s your sugar free meal plan for the week. I suggest making double of each recipe so you can take leftovers for lunch.
It is going to be difficult to eat/order out and find food that doesn’t have added sugar (plus, you’ll save $$)
Tuesday – Lettuce Wrap Tacos. Make this taco seasoning and serve in romaine lettuce wraps with turkey or ground beef, any of these salsa recipes (or find a jarred one w/o sugar), olives, guacamole, hot sauce.. maybe a little cheddar cheese? Yum!
Thursday – Healthy Tuna Pasta Salad
Friday –Paleo Turkey Chili
Saturday – Whole30 Greek Chicken Zucchini Noodles
Sunday: Healthy Turkey Meatballs with zucchini noodles or whole grain pasta. You can buy jarred sauce, but make sure to look for sugar. Most have it added! Otherwise, you can make my super easy Healthy Crockpot Tomato Sauce
If any of these meals aren’t your style, check out this post with 25 Easy Sheet Pan Dinners. All of the recipes featured are completely sugar free!
Snacks – I’m recommending you try not to eat naturally sweet things for snacks (fruits, dates, larabars, rxbars etc). While fruit is great, and good for you – it still triggers a sugar response/craving in your brain.
High sugar snacks also likely won’t satisfy you if you’re hungry. A snack should have protein first, healthy fats, and then some carbs. Here are some combos I recommend:
- plain non fat greek yogurt (unsweetened!) with 1/4 cup strawberries, sunflower seeds, and cinnamon
- a small piece of grilled chicken + clean eating roasted chickpeas
- hard boiled eggs + sliced peppers
- hummus or guacamole + carrots
- other ideas: epic bars, chomps, a spoonful of nut butter
- Make sure you double check the ingredients on any thing pre-packaged!
No Sugar Challenge Friendly Drinks:
Most people are drinking sugar and not even realize it. I used to LOVE drinking sugary drinks.. now I can’t stand it.
My advice: You just have to go cold turkey on this one.
I promise you will survive without a teaspoon of sugar or your daily stevia.. eventually, you’ll grow to like the taste of coffee with out the sweetness!
Say good bye to diet sodas, artificial sweeteners, and even juice – you don’t need it!
FOR DAY 3:
How to Stop Drinking Your Coffee with Sugar
- I like to make my own almond milk or walnut/cashew milk
- (You don’t have to do this, but it tastes 1000x better than the store bought kind. It’s SO creamy. If you’re short on time you can boil walnuts/cashews for 10 minutes and blend vs soaking overnight. Click here for the details on how to make it)
- Add in a scoop of collagen. You can read all about why I use collagen in this post.
- Sprinkle of cinnamon or Inflammation Buster seasoning. This is a relatively new addition to my coffee, but I love the fall-ish flavors it brings! You can use code CLEANEATING to save 15% on the seasoning.
- If you love flavored coffee creamers, try adding a scoop of Vital Protein’s Collagen Creamers to your coffee.
In short… Sorry for the tough love, but you’re a big girl/boy. It’s time to say bye bye to sugar in your coffee. It’s only 7 days, and you can definitely survive with out it!
FOR DAY 4:
How to Beat Sugar Cravings
Throughout the next few days, you’re likely going to be hit with a craving for sugar! One of the main focuses of this challenge is to minimize those cravings by limiting our intake of sugar.
However, you’re likely going to experience wanting to have a little treat here or there the first few days. Here are some tips to help you beat the sugar cravings:
- Change your mindset. This isn’t about restricting yourself from eating sugar.. it’s just you simply making a choice NOT to eat it.
- When you’re saying ‘I can’t eat this’ or ‘I’m not allowed to enjoy xyz’ you’re setting up for failure. Instead, think of all the things you CAN have.
- Drink lots of water. This is a good thing to do for two reasons.
- One- staying hydrated in general is just great for your body. It’s no secret that you feel better and look better when you’re hydrated.. from your skin, to your organs, to your digestion… water improves everything!
- Two- drinking water can also help you to feel fuller. I’m definitely not saying you should be skipping meals and drinking water instead. However, if you find yourself wanting something sweet mid-afternoon or after dinner, try having an 8 oz glass of water. You’re likely not hungry, and it’s just your brain expecting something sweet!
- Make sure you’re eating healthy fats. Healthy fats help you feel satiated for a longer time. Avocados, nuts/seeds, and olive or coconut oil are great for adding to your plate to help keep you full
- Go for a walk. This seems silly, but it can help. If you find yourself staring at cookies in the break room after lunch, instead of being tempted, get up and move! A quick 5 minute walk will not only make you forget about the cookies, it will leave you feeling refreshed and ready to take on the rest of your day.
- Eat regularly – Eating multiple meals and protein rich snacks throughout the day will help keep you full.
- Be prepared – Having healthy snacks on hand makes it easier to say no when you’re given the opportunity to eat something sweet. It also helps when you’re in a situation where maybe there aren’t healthy options around. Knowing you can enjoy your own food /snacks will make it easier to pass on ones you know you shouldn’t be eating!
- Brush your teeth – This is something I started to do when I was doing a Whole30. Usually after dinner, I’ll brush my teeth and it helps me realize that one: I’m really not even hungry and two: I didn’t even really want what I was craving
FOR DAY 5:
Benefits of Giving Up Sugar
When you feel like you want to give up… take a look at this list that outlines all the benefits of giving up sugar. Remember that this goes beyond just this week, you’re making a chance that is going to affect so many aspects of your life!
Everyone’s body is different, so your results can vary, but here are some of the benefits of giving up sugar.
- Better skin- Sugar laden foods can lead to breakouts, inflammation, and even flare ups of things like eczema if you’re prone to it.
- Improved energy– You know the ‘afternoon slump’? I don’t really get that anymore since minimizing my sugar intake. When you eat sugar, your body metabolizes it very quickly, which means you feel great… and then you crash. When you eat nutritious meals that are lower in sugar, you can help to stabilize your blood sugar and metabolism so your energy isn’t all over the place
- Decreased brain fog– Ever feel like you can’t think? Sugar can do that to you!
- Weight Loss – This is not the point of this challenge, but if you’re someone who is highly addicted to sugar, and eating sugar filled foods – you may experience weight loss. Sugar tricks your brain into making you want to eat more when you’re usually not even really hungry!
- Tastier food– Seems crazy, but when you can actually taste things on their own (instead of waiting for the sweetness to kick in!) your food tastes better! Strawberries begin to taste sweet, apples can taste like a treat.. and even things like meats and veggies/marinades will taste better!
- Save money – who doesn’t like a little extra change in their pocket?! I know I do. Cooking at home is so much cheaper than always eating out. It’s difficult to eat out and control the sugar in your meals. You’ll save by making your meals at home!
- Decreased risk of disease. There are tons of links to heart disease, cancer, and diabetes and sugar. You can do your own research about this topic, but there’s no denying that decreasing your sugar intake is generally much better for your health.
- Less bloating – So many people experience bloating and digestive issues. Many of these can be linked to artificial sweeteners, but even natural sugar can contribute to it!
- Decrease in hunger – Ever feel like you’re eating ALL the time? There’s breakfast, than a snack, then maybe another snack, lunch, more snacks.. etc. When you’re not eating sugary foods, you’ll be able to actually be in tune with your hunger. As mentioned above, sugar can trick your brain into thinking you’re hungry when you’re actually not.
- Better sleep– There’s nothing worse than getting in bed and not being able to sleep. Sugar can wire your brain and prevent you from falling asleep. When you give it up, you’ll likely experience more zzz’s
FOR DAY 6:
Drinks without any sugar
So many people drink their sugar without even realizing it. Here are some recipes for drinks without any sugar.
Flavored waters are my favorite way to stay hydrated. I love this Strawberry Basil Lime Spa Water, but any mix of fruit and herbs are a great way to flavor your drink if you’re feeling bored of regular water. Here are some of my favorite combos:
- lemon + blueberry
- mint+ strawberries
- basil + watermelon
- rosemary + orange slices
Some other great sugar free drink options:
- Flavored Water (Hint brand)
- Water with 1 tbsp of 100% pure fruit juice added
What to do after the challenge
The whole point of this 7 day challenge wasn’t to convince you to never eat sugar again. (That would be crazy!) It was designed to help you be more mindful about sugar in your food + how it affects you!
Now that you’ve gone 7 days without sugar.. take a note of how you’re feeling.
Do you have more energy? Any cravings? How is your stomach feeling?
Here’s what you can do next:
-If you’ve liked how you’re feeling – then keep going! Why not make it 14 days sugar free.. or a month sugar free?
-Take it a step further get our 4 Weeks of Clean Eating Guide. Our guide is filled with over 40 recipes that are completely sugar, dairy, gluten and grain free. There are weekly grocery lists and meal planning schedules.
It will save you a TON of time in the kitchen, and keep that awesome feeling going strong over the next month! You can use code SUGARCHALLENGE for $5 off!t!
– Check out any of these meals and continue to incorporate sugar free recipes in your weekly meal rotation.
-Here’s what not to do… Don’t go binge eat brownies, drink a sugary latte, go out for ice cream and eat an entire bag of candy in one sitting. Remember that you CHOSE to do this, and even though the challenge is over – you can still be mindful of your food! If you do indulge in something sweet, take note of how you feel after it. Are you craving more of it? Do you feel sluggish?