Sugar Swap Week: 28th May - 3rd June

I start my day with peanut butter and jam on toast, washed down with a big cup of tea.  Every.   Single.  Morning.  It’s a bad habit that I have slipped into - I know it is too much sugar, but the laziness of an easy breakfast has firmly taken over.  It is this reason along with a few other cheeky habits, that this week, I am taking part in Free’ist’s ‘Sugar Swap Week’ from 28th May to 3rd June 2018.  Free’ist are aiming to make people think more about their sugar intake and follow a low sugar diet for one week.  Hopefully after one week, we will all become more mindful about the sugar we are consuming in our diet and understand the nutritional and health benefits that can come from a low-sugar diet.

Free’ist have been working alongside 121 nutritionist, Gillian Killiner, to come up with a brilliant sugar swap meal plan and some delicious recipes – just to make your sugar swap week that little bit easier!  If you haven’t downloaded your free copy already, click here to get it!  It offers some great inspo for easy and smart ways to ‘swap’ sugary food and drink items for a wide range of sugar free and no added sugar alternatives.

I am on day three of Sugar Swap Week and have done really well so far!  The key to keeping on track is preparation.  I used Free’ist’s shopping list (the last page in the planner) and made an online order for all of my favourite healthy foods.  I made sure to choose fresh foods, that would contain only natural sugar, i.e. fruit and veg.  Remember that sugar in fruit is different the refined sugar found in processed foods.  This sugar is often masked by different names – look out for anything ending in ‘ose’ or ‘syrup’ – these are the things to avoid!  Also note that ‘organic sugar’ is still sugar!

 My fridge is fully stocked with healthy food!

My fridge is fully stocked with healthy food!

Once my fridge was stocked and organised, and I knew what foods to avoid, I was ready to begin the Sugar Swap Week!  The good thing about starting to eat low-sugar at this time of year, is the beautiful fresh food is all in season and so tasty.  Meals can be thrown together quickly - like meat on the barbecue with salad!  Snacking is easy, because Free’ist have so many different low-sugar options from popcorn, to chocolate, to gummy treats!   The caramel popcorn and orange chocolate are such a good combo!

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If you have a real sweet tooth and going cold turkey is too much, swapping to Free’ist products is ideal for you.  You get to eat a healthy, balanced diet while still allowing yourself the odd treat.  On Monday night I was craving something sweet and I made a cup of tea, had a couple of squares of the Free’ist Mint Chocolate (it’s my fav!) and felt totally content after it.

Last night after my healthy dinner, I really fancied a little treat in the sunshine, so I whipped up Free’ist’s recipe for Chocolate Avocado Sundae to take outside to enjoy.  Also, it says it serves 4 and because there are only two of us, I knew there would be leftovers for tonight’s dessert!  This recipe is seriously gorgeous.  This is going to be something I make over and over again.  I guarantee no-one will have a clue that there are avocados in the recipe (find the gluten free recipe at the bottom of this page).

This week is all about trying to change habits.  I mentioned earlier that I eat peanut butter and jam on toast every morning.  This week, on Monday I swapped my usual breakfast for gluten free oats, topped with banana, peanut butter and cinnamon.  On Tuesday, I had gluten free wholeseed toast, topped with mashed avocado and poached eggs.  Both were just as quick to make (a poached egg takes the same length of time to make as toast does) and were far more delicious and nutritious.   So going forward, I will definitely be swapping my high-sugar breakfast for a healthier alternative.

  Monday's Sugar Swap Breakfast

Monday's Sugar Swap Breakfast

I'm only on day three and already Sugar Swap Week has made me question some of my previous eating habits.  So once it ends, will I continue to eat sugar free?  I don't plan on totally eliminating sugar from my diet, but nor do I plan to devour a big, sugary gluten free cake!  Instead, I would like to find a healthy balance. I plan to keep sugary items as occasional treats, rather than part of my daily diet.  So to describe my diet going forward, I would call it 'sugar-concious' - I think that will be the best outcome of my Sugar Swap Week!

I can't wait to hear how you all get on with your Sugar Swap Weeks! 

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Chocolate Avocado Sundae

SERVES: 4
PREP TIME: 20 Minutes
COOK TIME: 2 Hours Chilling 

INGREDIENTS
• flesh of 2 ripe avocados
• 150g (two bars) Free’ist dark chocolate
• 1/4 cup (60ml) milk of choice
• 1 ripe banana (the darker the banana, the sweeter it will be)
• 1 tbsp almond butter
• 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
• 2 tbsp coconut cream (or the cream from the top of a can of coconut milk, you can remove this after putting the can in the fridge for 30mins as it rises to the surface and solidifies)
• 1/2 tsp salt
• Handful of Free’ist caramel popcorn to top

INSTRUCTIONS
1. Melt the chocolate by placing broken chocolate pieces into a small bowl and putting the bowl into a saucepan of water over a medium heat. The hot water should heat the bowl and melt the chocolate. Stir until the chocolate is a liquid consistency. Remove from the heat.
2. Put all the ingredients including the melted chocolate (but not the popcorn) in a blender or food processor and blend until completely smooth. 
3. Chill the mixture for at least two hours.
4. When you’re ready to serve, in four serving bowls or glasses make a layer of popcorn pieces for the base of your sundae. On top, spoon the avocado mousse mixture. Alternatively, you can put the mousse into a sandwich bag and chop off the corner, then squeeze it out so you get a neat spiral effect.
5. Top with popcorn and you’re good to go! For extra indulgence you could also drizzle some more melted Free’ist chocolate on top and add Free'ist marshmallows…

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Disclaimer: This blog post was written as a paid collaboration with Free'ist.  All images, words and opinions are my own.