You’re likely aware that sugar-rich foods are not your friends in fitness and health. In fact, too much of the sweet stuff can wreak havoc and have toxic effects that damage your body and mind. No matter how you consume it, excessive sugar can zap your energy, make you moody, cause acne, age your skin, pack on the pounds, and increase your risk of illness.

Obvious offenders easy to spot and remove from your diet, like cookies, pastries and specialty coffees. Yet sugar sneaks its way into so many of the foods we consume, including foods like peanut butter, soy milk and yogurt, which are touted for their health benefits.

Are you ready to strike sugar from your diet? Incorporate these actionable strategies into your daily routine.

 

Keep sugary and carb-loaded treats out of the house

If you don’t keep sugar-laden foods in your pantry, you won’t be tempted to reach for them when cravings hit. Willpower is half the battle. Storing unhealthy snacks and telling yourself you’re not allowed to have them will make you feel deprived, and you’ll be more likely to give in and eat them up. Instead, hit the grocery store and stock up on lean protein and fiber-rich produce.

 

Move more throughout the day

When you’re overloaded with projects and deadlines, it may seem impossible to untether yourself from your office chair. However, stepping away from the grind could actually improve your productivity and boost your fitness.

Head outside for a 15-minute power-walk on your lunch break. Skip the late-afternoon cookie binge and take up a 30-day squat challenge with your cubicle mate instead. Send your documents to a printer on another floor or to the other end of the building. There are endless options for adding more movement into your workday.

 

Get plenty of shuteye

While you should exercise regularly, rest and recovery are equally important for minimizing your sugar intake. When you’re tired, you lack the energy you need to function. To help make up for this lack of energy, your brain will likely crave sweetened foods and beverages. Curb your hankering and up your energy level by aiming for no less than 6 hours every night, and preferably 7-8 hours on days you exercise.

 

Drink up, but also drink smarter

Dehydration is a major trigger for sugar cravings. Just like thirst can create a false sense of hunger, it can also leave you daydreaming about flagging down the next ice cream truck that rolls by. Start your day by drinking a full glass of water, and keep track of how many ounces you consume to make sure you’re properly hydrated. If you’re thirsty for something more flavorful than plain H2O, opt for a floral green tea (skip the creamer) or a low-calorie, fruit-flavored seltzer.

 

Whip up healthier versions of your favorite desserts

Even if you’re striking sugar from your diet, you can still indulge in after-dinner snacks. Putting a healthy twist on your favorite desserts is an easy way to satisfy your sweet tooth. Try these low sugar options:whipped berry puddingroasted cinnamon pear bruschetta, banana ice cream, or chocolate fruit bark.

 

Now It’s Your Turn

Have you struck sugar from your diet? Share your success tips in the comments below.