What to expect

It’s important to realize that this process can be challenging. Don’t sabotage yourself with “all or nothing” talk. It is important to understand that there will be setbacks. There will be days you may fall off the wagon. But that’s OK. It does not mean you should give up altogether. Preparing yourself to overcome these barriers when they arise will set you up for success.

Surround yourself with people who want you to succeed. I know family and friends show love through food a lot of times, but remember that being able to say no is important. Don’t feel as if you need to give an excuse for why you can’t take some of your mother’s chocolate pie home. Boundaries should be firm and consistent. For example, don’t say, “No, I can’t take the pie home,” and then end up with it in the backseat of your car.

Lastly, understand that self-talk, or your inner voice, should set you up for success. Remain positive throughout this process. Having the right attitude is a major indicator of whether you see it through.

What to eat

Here is a suggested meal plan to follow for day 5 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!


  • Smoothie recipe
  • 3/4 cup frozen wild blueberries
  • 1 cup spinach
  • 1 medium banana
  • 1/2 cup plain, nonfat Greek yogurt
  • 1/4 avocado (optional)
  • 1 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
  • Cinnamon to taste

Feel free to vary smoothies with different fruits, spices and ingredients. For example, you may want to use almond butter instead of yogurt. Or you may want to use allspice instead of cinnamon. You can also add ice to thicken the consistency if you use fresh instead of frozen fruit.


Combine all of the ingredients in a blender. Blend on high speed until smooth, about two minutes. If shake is too thick, add more water until you reach a thick, but drinkable consistency. Drink right away, store in the fridge or freezer to have later.

Morning snack
3 cups popped popcorn

Tuna Salad

  • 1 2-to-3 ounce package of tuna
  • ½ cup of diced onion
  • ¼ cup diced celery
  • ¼ cup diced cucumbers
  • 1 boiled egg
  • 1 tablespoon of lemon juice
  • 3 tablespoon chopped parsley
  • ½ to 1 whole avocado

Blend with ranch Greek yogurt dip (ranch dip seasoning packet mixed with plain Greek yogurt). Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve on a large bed of mixed greens with other raw vegetable toppings as desired.

Afternoon snack
String cheese and 12 grapes

4-6 ounces sirloin steak
Roasted vegetables in olive oil (squash, zucchini, onions and mushrooms)
garlic mashed cauliflower


  • 1-2 heads raw cauliflower
  • 2 tablespoon butter
  • 2 tablespoon Parmesan cheese (optional – can add more)
  • 1 tablespoon plain Greek yogurt (optional)
  • 1-2 tablespoon milk (optional – check the consistency)
  • 1/2 teaspoon minced garlic or ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Can garnish with fresh or dried chives


  • Cut the cauliflower into small pieces. You can use the core; just make sure it is chopped finely.
  • Cook cauliflower in boiling water for 8-12 minutes or until very tender. Drain and discard the water.
  • Pat cauliflower dry but do not let it cool.
  • Add the butter, cheese, yogurt, milk, salt, pepper and garlic to the cauliflower. Use an immersion blender, hand mixer or potato masher to mix all ingredients. The creamier the consistency the more it looks like mashed potatoes!
  • Top with chives. Enjoy!

How you should be feeling today

You should be feeling proud of yourself! You are halfway there! Have you ever tried journaling? Journaling has lots of benefits for both your mind and body. It can help increase self-discipline, reduce stress, reduce the clutter in your life, raise awareness of current lifestyle and health habits and increases your focus. Grab a notebook and start jotting down thoughts each night before you go to bed or every morning when you wake up. It can be very healing for the mind and body and will help you to understand this journey you are on now.


We talked about meditation and yoga as effective forms of exercise, especially for the mind. Did you know there are other added benefits of yoga that you may not have realized? Here are just a few:

  • Improves concentration
  • Decreases level of stress
  • Corrects posture
  • Increases flexibility
  • Encourages self-acceptance
  • Enhances sense of well-being
  • Bolsters balance
  • Tones and strengthens muscles
  • Increases coordination
  • Combats cravings by keeping you active

So the next time you think about skipping out on yoga because you don’t think it is enough of a calorie burn or miss morning meditation because you don’t have time, think about the benefits they have. A healthy lifestyle extends to the mind because it is part of the body! Don’t forget about the importance of it.

Interesting fact

Avocados are rich in monounsaturated fat, which is easily burned for energy. An avocado has more than twice as much potassium as a banana.
Source: USDA

Tips for keeping an avocado fresh:
As you have probably noticed before avocados turn brown quickly after they are cut! To keep them fresh try these tips:

  • If you use ½ of an avocado, keep the pit in the other half and sprinkle with lemon or lime juice
  • Place in an airtight container or tightly covered clear plastic wrap
  • You can also freeze unused avocado. Peel and slice avocado. Slice into 6 pieces and sprinkle with lemon or lime juice. Place on a greased pan in freezer for several hours or overnight. Remove from pan and place in a freezer bag. Can thaw out and use for recipes or toss a frozen slice into your morning smoothie to add heart-healthy fats and give it the consistency of a milkshake without altering the flavor!

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.