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Take the Family Sugar Slash Challenge


November 1, 2017 | View PDF

It’s sugar season. Halloween alone is responsible for over 600 million pounds of candy sold in America. American children eat on average an extra pound of candy on Halloween. We are all aware at this point that all that candy is responsible for rising obesity rates. This year, challenge your family to slash that sugar.

The average American consumes nearly 200 pound of sugar per year, that’s nearly a 4-pound bag every week. This holiday season, make a commitment to reduce that amount. You can decide as a family what that amount will be for you. Maybe it’s half or maybe it will be to be at or below the new recommended daily amount of sugar per the American Heart Association of less than 6 tsp for women and 9 tsp for men. In pounds that would be less than 20-30 pounds per year.

The Sugar Slash Challenge

Once you know the amount of sugar you want to slash, get the family on board. This may sound like a Halloween Trick, but when you get them excited for the challenge it won’t feel like taking candy from a baby. Make it fun and help the kids understand why they are doing it. Set a goal for the rest of the year and have a fun activity as a fun prize at the end. Once everyone is in, go on a sugar hunt.

The Sugar Hunt

Hunt through the kitchen and pantry for all the sneaky sugar. We know the obvious places: cookies, ice cream, sugary drinks, cakes and candies, but have the kids help you check the nutrition labels of the other products in the house that have hidden sugar. Make it a game for everyone to find as much as they can.

Some items that have sugar snuck into it are cereals that we think are healthy or touted as whole grain, yogurts, granola bars, frozen foods, sauces and condiments and even baby food.

Use this time to throw out expired food, donate the food you aren’t going to eat to your local food bank and take that Halloween candy to a candy buy back!

Find Sugar Swaps

The Sugar Slash Challenge will be the most successful if you have great swaps. Otherwise you may feel deprived which can lead to overeating a splurging.

• Drink Swaps: Rather than telling yourself you can’t have any sweet drinks, make the challenge to have a glass of water first.

• Sweet Snacks: You don’t have to give up treats altogether, shop for items with less sugar and make things from scratch. Try using less sugar than the recipe calls for or swapping some out with honey or applesauce.

• Breakfast: Swap sugary cereals and instant oatmeal for rolled oats, sweeten with some fresh berries and a small bit of honey.

Make it a Lasting Change

Setting up healthy barriers with sugar is key. You don’t need to eliminate all sugar to make it successful, every little reduction is beneficial to the health of you and your family. Keep healthy options in the house like fresh fruit and keep the sugary treats for special occasions only!

Emily Countryman is a board certified health coach and owner of Ideal Wellness located at 2639 172nd S. NE Suite 104 in Smokey Point/Marysville She can be reached online at


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