Leading a successful low sugar life is rooted in the basics: get the right produce and plan ahead. To help everyone on their low sugar paths I am revealing my ‘average’ weekly shop, alongside a list of larder staples. I know it’s not the most exciting of posts (huzzah supermarket trip!), but hopefully its a slightly educational and practical one.
The key to the food shop is buying fresh and avoiding processed. This is a theme which weaves throughout my diet as it’s the most effective way to ensure your meals and snacks are nutrient dense. Usually when food is processed it is preserved, which means sugar, salt and nasty additives. Processed may be cheaper, but it’s also way more profitable for the food giants who push consumers to buy it (just look at the shelf life and cheap ingredients)… inspiring? I think not. Another rule I try and stick by is buying in season; not only is it good for the environment (less intensive farming) but it keeps the pennies in your pocket. A great example are raspberries; if you purchase them in winter they will set you back £4 a punnet, whereas you can halve that price in the summer! Plus they will taste better as they have grown in optimal conditions, not through chemicals and forced heating.
With those governing rules stated I will start my list, but before launching into detail I want to give a shout out to my old friend Kate who gave me this post idea (I love requests!). She is brilliant and going strong low sugar – you go girl!
- Organic Vegetable box – I would urge everyone to try a box scheme, there are a tonne of companies that deliver across the globe direct to your door for around £10 (approx 6 types of veg). They encourage you to eat plenty of greens and eat within season, so ticks all the boxes!
- 6 large eggs – make sure they are not caged. We won’t even go in to that debate…
- 6 pints FF milk
- Large tub FF* Greek yoghurt – *Full-Fat, without fail
- Cauliflower – I do a lot of recipes with this versatile vegetable when I want a light dinner without ‘traditional’ carbohydrates. I promise to post some so you can try the same!
- Large bag rocket
- Rye bread – delicious toasted with poached eggs and the bread is gluten-free (too much wheat makes me bloat)
- Raspberries – I buy frozen raspberries when not in season. These are delicious in porridge, which I have daily
- Blueberries – ditto to the above!
- 2 lemons – for salad dressings, water and G&Ts!
- Smoked mackerel – packed full of omega-3s and great for your heart (and salads!)
- Large carton coconut water – I like to have a large glass after a workout as it hydrates and refreshes so quickly
- 2 Salmon fillets – always go for non-farmed
- Whole chicken – I like to roast on a Sunday with veggies, use the leftover meat in salads for my lunchbox and boil up the carcass to make extremely nutritious stock. If making stock (which I urge!) definitely go for an organic chicken
- Fresh herbs – depending on my cooking agenda for the week
- Ginger – I love stir fry and ginger tea (cut up chunks of the root and boil in water for 15 minutes)
- Feta (FF)
- Nut top up (cashews/almonds/walnuts/pecans/macadamias) – whatever I am running low on
- Large tub FF natural yoghurt – I make my own cream cheese by straining the yoghurt through muslin over 12 hours. This creates a by-product called whey which I use to pickle/ferment veggies (more on this at a later date!)
- Coconut oil – I use quite a bit as I have it in porridge every morning
- Red meat of choice – I will buy a large pack of mince or large joint to last me; its more economical this way
- Large bag of onions
Now here is the important part: the larder. You can make even the most bland and cheap food exciting with the right additions of goodies from the store cupboard.
- Dijon mustard
- English mustard
- Extra-virgin olive oil
- Sesame oil
- Red wine vinegar
- Apple cider vinegar
- Plain and self-raising flour
- Unsweetened Cocoa powder
- Wholegrain pasta and rice – wild rice is great, produces a really nutty flavour
- Whole oats – not quick cook or ground as whole makes for creamier and more nutritious porridge
- Tinned chickpeas
- Tinned kidney beans
- Tinned chopped tomatoes
- Organic chicken, vegetable and beef stock cubes and pots
- Soy sauce
- Fish sauce
- Coconut flour – great for baking as it provides a sweet flavour, but if used add more liquid/an extra egg to the batter
- Mayonnaise FF – always go for the full-fat version, the reduced fat has all sorts of nasties chucked in
- Chia seeds – I add a tbsp to my porridge every morning, its a super food and packed with Omega-3s!
- Coconut milk and cream
- SPICES! – I love them, particularly cinnamon, cumin, cayenne pepper, smoked paprika, cardamom and ginger
- Dried herbs – basil, parsley, oregano, dill, coriander seeds etc. The list could have its own separate page
I apologise for the extent of the list – I just love food. Also, this is a ‘core’ list that I would recommend for those of you aiming to reduce your sugar intake and eat fresh and healthy… there is (un)surprisingly much more in my larder!
Obviously, this is a lot of food and its important to handle it in a smart manner. This means utilising your freezer effectively. Mine is rammed with leftovers, stored in separate portions which can be defrosted and used readily. I also freeze stock when I make it, either putting it in tupperware or ice cube trays (you can easily add a cube to a sauce when needed). This also works well with leftover dribbles of wine (if that ever happens!).
I hope this list proves helpful as a basic guide – but please don’t follow it as gospel, go and experiment with food and see what works for you!