Although the big picture when reducing added sugars is to work on making small steps and changes that will gradually make your diet healthier, it is good to have a goal in mind. The 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends that less than 10 percent of total daily calories should come from added sugars. That translates to about 9 teaspoons, 150 calories or 36 grams of added sugar per day if you are following a 1,500 calorie diet. These numbers do fluctuate and the full recommendations can be found below.

Remember that these guidelines do not include naturally occurring sugars found in fruits, vegetables, whole grains or dairy products. Instead, they pertain only to sugars you add to foods and drinks or during the processing of foods (for example: maple syrup in oatmeal, or corn syrup added to a granola bar).

Now that you know the daily recommendations, take an inventory of the added sugars in your diet. If you find that you are over the daily limit, try making small changes to gradually decrease the amount you have per day.

WEEKLY TIP: Sugar-sweetened beverages often have upwards of 10+ grams of sugar per serving. Try swapping your sugar-sweetened beverages for plain or sparkling water flavored with mint, citrus, lemon or a splash of 100 percent fruit juice. This will decrease the amount of added sugar in your diet significantly.

In addition to sugary beverages, sugar is often added to tea and coffee. Try reducing the added sugars (yes, including honey or maple syrup) in these beverages. If you add four teaspoons to your drink, try adding three and then two and so on. You may hardly notice a difference!

WEEKLY RECIPE: This week brings you a recipe for homemade marinara sauce with limited ingredients. The same recipe is attached so that you can print it to have at home.

Homemade Marinara Sauce

Store bought marina sauce can contain up to 10 grams of sugar per serving. This recipe uses shredded carrot to add natural sweetness in order cut the acidity of the tomatoes and to reduce the amount of added sugar in your diet. For added nutrition, try adding any of your favorite vegetables such as shredded zucchini or chopped peppers.
6
  • 1Tbspolive oil
  • 1medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 1large carrot, peeled and grated
  • 2celery stalks, chopped
  • 3cloves garlic, minced
  • 228-oz cans crushed tomatoes
  • 1tspeach; dried basil, oregano and parsley
  1. Add olive oil to large pot and sauté chopped onion, celery and garlic on medium heat for 4-5 minutes.
  2. Add crushed tomatoes, shredded carrot and dried herbs.
  3. Reduce heat and let simmer for 20-30 minutes.
  4. Add salt and pepper and/or additional spices to taste.
  5. Optional: Use an immersion blender if a smooth consistency is desired. This can be useful when using the sauce for pizza or serving the sauce to kids.
  6. Serve and enjoy!
TrialandEater.com
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Get more recipes from the UVM Medical Center. View our Recipe Collection by clicking here. 

Bridget Shea, RD, is a clinical dietitian at The University of Vermont Medical Center.

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