When eating processed food such as a granola bar or French fries, ask yourself, “If this food fell under the seat of my car and I found it later, would I know if had been there for two weeks, two months or two years?” That is definitely not the case with our fresh fruits and vegetables. They will let you know they are there! We don’t want to put these heavily processed foods with lots of ingredients in our body on a daily basis.

Go through your cabinets and see what foods have more than five ingredients, and see whether there is a whole food alternative you can switch to. Here are some examples of replacing a heavily processed food with a whole food.

  • Fruit and nut bar >> piece of fruit + handful of nuts
  • Peanut butter protein bar >> banana with peanut butter
  • Frozen dinner >> grilled salmon, rice and mixed veggies
  • Fruit snacks, roll-ups, gummies >> fresh fruit
  • Orange juice >> an orange
  • Instant, flavored oatmeal >> old fashioned oats

You won’t believe the hidden sugars in the condiments that we use on our foods. Watch this video to be sure you are not adding too much sweetness to healthy food choices! 

What to eat
Here is a suggested meal plan to follow for day 3 of the Sugar Shutdown. Please note you can make changes to fit your tastes, dietary and calorie needs.

As always, our important reminders:

  • Do not skip any meals. Eat breakfast, lunch and dinner.
  • Listen to your hunger cues. Eat until you’re satisfied, but give yourself a break before you start to snack to see if you’re actually hungry. (If you’re hungry enough to eat an apple, you’re probably hungry.)
  • Remember to stay hydrated and drink plenty of water.
  • Eat snacks that have both a protein and a carbohydrate (nuts and fruit, hummus and vegetables, string cheese and grapes). This will keep your blood sugar stable throughout the day and help you stay full and keep cravings at bay.
  • If you mix and match any meals, remember you want a maximum of 2-3 servings of fruit daily (Watch your serving sizes and your snacks!) and 4-6 servings of nonstarchy vegetables. Half of your plate at lunch and dinner should be nonstarchy vegetables. If you can get them in at breakfast too, the more the merrier. Snack time is an easy spot to get another serving in as well!
  • We encourage using leftovers, especially at lunchtime!

15 grapes
Egg muffins:

  • 12 eggs
  • ½ cup chopped bell peppers
  • 1 cup chopped spinach
  • ½ cup onion (optional)
  • ½ cup shredded cheese
  • (Can add meat of your choice)

1. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease 12 muffin cups or line with paper muffin liners.
2. Beat eggs in a large bowl. Stir in onion, peppers, spinach, cheese and meat. Spoon evenly into muffin cups.
3. Bake for 20-25 minutes until a knife inserted near the center comes out clean.
*The amount of eggs you use will determine how many muffins you make. (6 eggs = 6 muffins)

Morning snack
3 cups popped popcorn

Steak kabobs: lean cut of meat (sirloin, round or tenderloin) with grape tomatoes, zucchini, squash and mushrooms on the grill
Baked sweet potato (can add butter and cinnamon – no sugar)

Afternoon snack
An orange and 1/4 cup mixed nuts or almonds

4-6 ounces grilled or baked salmon
Spinach salad with oil and vinegar

How You Should Be Feeling Today

Kicking sugar is hard. You’ll be tempted to say: never mind! Hang tough. Sugar often becomes a part of our lives, a comfort in times of stress, sadness and happiness. Sugar is so embedded in our diets that at times we don’t even realize it’s there. It will improve your health and how you feel, so hang in there.


You may not feel like exercising today, so try sneaking it in. Flex your calves while you stand in line. Speed walk your errands. Get up and walk to a coworker’s desk instead of emailing or calling. Do wall sits in your office. These are great ways to exercise! You can also walk the long way; try parking farther away from the front door at work or the grocery store. Also, get rid of the cart at the grocery store and carry your groceries or add 15 minutes to walking the dog. Be creative and make the most of your everyday activities!

Novant Health is here to help with lifestyle and nutrition services, sports medicine, and primary care physicians and clinics backed by caring support teams ready to help you live your best life.