Let’s get started

Thank you for signing up for the Novant Health Sugar Shutdown! We are so glad you have made the decision to eliminate added sugars and become a happier, healthier you.

You may be asking, “How can I prepare myself?” We know you may want to hit the ground running. Here are some suggestions on how to get started.

Clean out your refrigerator

Get rid of sodas; fruit juices; syrups; and sugary drinks such as sweet tea and replace them with healthier alternatives. Throw away condiments with added sugars, including ketchup, barbecue sauce, salad dressing and pasta sauce; frozen meals; prepackaged smoothies; flavored yogurts; and all other flavored dairy products, such as flavored milk, ice cream and coffee creamer.

Clean out your pantry

Toss cookies; cakes; crackers; commercially baked products; candy including gum and mints; sugary cereals; prepackaged oatmeal, protein or breakfast bars; soups and broths; and flavor packets or “dinner-in-a-bag” type foods, including flavored rice and pasta salad.

Rid your ‘hiding places’ of tempting snacks

This means desk drawers, candy dishes or anywhere you stash your sugary treats. Check out our list of healthy, unprocessed snacks.

Nix the artificial sweeteners

They are even sweeter than sugar and have the same effects on our brain, so get rid of those items, including diet sodas, sugar-free candies, ice creams and sweeteners under brand names such as Splenda, Sweet'N Low and Truvia.

Go grocery shopping

When you arrive at the grocery store, shop the perimeter. This means look for whole foods. Load up on fruits and nonstarchy vegetables, and unflavored, plain nonfat yogurt or Greek yogurt. Buy whole grains like brown rice and quinoa with no flavorings already mixed in.

Steer away from the middle aisles where everything is boxed or bagged. This does not apply to plain old-fashioned oats or raw, unflavored nuts and seeds. Canned fruits and vegetables are fine, but look for plain, unseasoned vegetables. (Think black beans instead of baked beans.)

If buying canned fruit, look for fruit preserved in its own juice or water. Purchase healthy proteins that help curb sugar cravings, such as salmon, boneless and skinless turkey breast, lean ground beef, and any other meats that are not flavored with any sauce, such as barbecue or honey. In addition to protein, try to incorporate healthy fats (extra virgin olive oil, avocados and omega 3 fats in fish) in every meal. Start planning today, make a list, and get up and go.

Congratulations on taking this powerful step in creating a more remarkable you!

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.