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Nutritionist: Looking to lose weight for summer? Try switching from sweet snacks to dehydrated fruits & veggies!

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Written by Lifestyle Contributor, Andrea Merrill 

 

But I’m addicted to the sweet stuff!

We all know that sugar isn’t good for us, but avoiding it can feel harder than holding a 2 minute plank! Is there anything we can do to stay on track, even when the treats show up in the office and at our weekend events? You know the answer . . . and yes, it takes a little discipline and planning, but if you’re willing to put in a little effort your body will be thanking you by week’s end.

Snacking is important in order to keep your blood sugar levels regulated (which means we don’t reach for the candy bar at 3pm because we aren’t craving it). WHAT we snack on is, of course, incredibly important. For those of us who need a crunch in order to feel satiated, go buy yourself a dehydrator and go to town with it. It will pay for itself very quickly, and you can snack on dried fruit and vegetables without any of the added sugar and preservatives that are typically in the store-bought brands. Here’s my easy method for dehydrating, and some of my favorite produce to use:

Dehydrated Snacks (you can buy a dehydrator for as little as $39.99 at Walmart)

1. Prep the produce by washing and slicing fairly thin. Things like snow peas and green beans won’t need slicing.

2. Lay your produce onto the trays, trying to keep the pieces from overlapping.

3. Set the dehydrator to 115 degrees and let run. Going hotter than 115 can start to cause nutrient loss in your food. For my taste, I run vegetables for about 24 hours and fruit for about 48 hours.

Some of my current favorite things to dehydrate:

– cucumber

– snow peas

– green beans

– cherry tomatoes

* apples

* pears

Here are a few more practical tips to avoid the sugary treats:

– Plan your cheats. If you know you have a party on Saturday, say no to treats the rest of that week so you can indulge at the party without totally derailing your efforts.

* Freeze your sweet gifts (if possible), or bring them to the office to share. If it’s not in your house or not convenient to get to, you’ll be a lot less likely to eat it.

* So simple yet so hard . . . STOP BUYING THE JUNK! Again, if it’s not easily available, you’re a lot less likely to seek it out.

* If you’re hosting guests but know you’ll get derailed by your own baking, bake something they’ll love but that doesn’t call your name! I’m not a huge pie person . . . I can say no to that. So if I were to host a dinner party I should make a pie for dessert because I won’t be as likely to eat it.

Stick to your plan because it feels amazing to set goals and achieve them. We don’t need sugar, and your 85 year old self will thank you for taking control now.

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