When you walk down the lolly aisle of the supermarket and look at all those colourful packets, I’m sure you know you’re looking at sugar, sugar, sugar. But, sometimes sugar can be hiding in unexpected places! Paninis, stir-fries and hot dogs… while they don’t sound like lollies, if you pile on the BBQ sauce, the relish or the teriyaki marinade, you’ll find the sugar content of your meal skyrocket before you’ve even thought about dessert!
So, save that sugar for dessert, or better yet, ditch it completely and make your own sugar-free desserts! Let’s take a look at some common saucy culprits…
At first glance, stir-fries look great with a heap of rainbow veggies and packed full of protein. However, if you’re making your stir-fry with a store-bought bottled sauce, most of the time these are full of sugar.
The better option? Make your own sauce – it’s much easier than you think! Try adding fresh flavour-packed ingredients like garlic, ginger, coriander and some good quality soy sauce – trust me this tastes way better, and it’s completely sugar-free.
I know as kids most of us would have loved this on our burgers, but unfortunately, in two tablespoons of the stuff there’s as much as 12g of sugar… that’s 3 teaspoons! What’s worse? Unless you whip out your measuring spoons, it’s pretty hard to control how much of this stuff you’re having when you’re squirting it out the bottle. Instead, reach for lower sugar options like a good quality mayo or even lather some smashed avocado on your burger if you’re game.
This one’s unsuspecting. I mentioned before that your panini may have more sugar than you think, and this could be the reason why. Relishes are basically jam but used on savoury dishes instead of sweet. Now you probably know that jam is basically pure sugar so yep, when you add a spoonful of this condiment to your sandwich, you might as well be spreading strawberry jam all over it!
While you might be proud of yourself for turning down the sugar in your latte, unfortunately if you’re making the wrong sandwich choice at lunchtime, you could be consuming more than 10g of sugar – that’s 2.5 teaspoons!
“Start looking at the ingredients list on the packaging and you’ll be shocked at just how many products contain sugar!”
My tip? When buying or making your sandwiches, go for options flavoured with cheese or pesto and look out for any suspecting fruit in there as it’s likely from a chutney or relish! Sorry folks, but this means chicken, cranberry and brie sandwiches aren’t a great option if you are watching your sugar intake.
As with many store bought items, food companies like to ramp up the flavour of their products as cheaply as possible, and unfortunately in curry paste this comes in the form of added sugar and unhealthy vegetable oils. In just two tablespoons of this stuff, there can be around 6g of sugar, depending on the brand. While I know it’s not a lot, why consume added sugar when it’s unnecessary? Start looking at the ingredients list on the packaging and you’ll be shocked at just how many products contain sugar!
Keep your eyes out for a brand without sugar and vegetable oil. Since this will be pretty hard to find, my advice would be to go for a curry powder instead or make your own curry paste which will taste so much better.
This pungent and distinctively flavoured sauce is a common condiment for our UK friends. And although a drizzle of this may make you have all those nostalgic feels, unfortunately with sugar and molasses being two of the main ingredients, there are better ways to flavour your food. In saying that, this one is definitely not the worst of the bunch, so be careful before you go adding glugs and glugs of it.
Overall, it’s always better to flavour your food with fresh ingredients and keep your distance from those sugary sauces. It may take a little getting used to, but after a while you won’t even think about it. Although, I totally get that life isn’t perfect and sometimes you want that little bit of saucy goodness. The thing is, knowledge is power and now that you know a little more about where sugar may be hiding, even if you only add half the amount of sauce you normally do… you’ll be better off for it!