tutorial for the perfect chocolate chip cookie

By Gabrielle. Image by Lindsey Johnson for Design Mom.

You may remember that months ago I mentioned the NY Times article about toxic sugar. The article really stuck with me — possibly because I have a long-standing passion for all things sugary. : ) Since then I’ve done more reading on the subject and the family has made several sincere (but failed!) attempts to eat less sugar. But our latest effort seems to be working. Granted, it’s a baby step, but I thought I’d share in case anyone else out there is trying to cut back.

We instituted a sugar-only-on-the weekends rule, and I think it’s a keeper. It’s quite loose, and non-stressful, and that’s probably why we’re having more success. Basically it works like this:

1) There are no treats around during the week, except fresh fruit. No treats includes no soda or juice. And I’ve tried to be really strict about finding products with no added sugar. Mayo with no sugar. Tomato sauce with no sugar. Hot dogs with no sugar. Bread with no sugar. Peanut Butter with no sugar. Chicken Stock with no sugar. Crackers with no sugar. (It’s challenging. Sugar is in everything!) If we go out to eat during the week, we don’t order dessert (or soda).

2) Saturday and Sunday are sugar freebie days. If we’re at the grocery store and the kids see Apple Jacks or Sour Patch Kids and make a request, our answer is, “Yum! Is that the treat you want to pick out this weekend?” Also, we love baking, so we save it for the weekend as well. This has been lovely. The kids really look forward to their weekend treats and no one seems to feel deprived.

3) If the kids have candy at school for somebody’s birthday or if there’s a popsicle fundraiser, that’s fine. We try to keep pretty loose about this outside of our house.

And it seems to be working! We’re eating less sugar overall, and when we do eat something sweet, it’s intentional — like a bowl of ice cream on Saturday afternoon, instead of accidentally having sugar in our bolognese sauce. It also seems like we’re craving less sugar overall.

As for health benefits, I honestly can’t say I’ve seen any differences at all! Hah! But I’m trying to keep the long view in mind — my father died of adult onset diabetes at age 52, and research shows the link between sugar and diabetes (and cancer, too) so clearly.

Have any of you tried to cut out or cut down sugar intake at your house? We’re total amateurs, but I’m sure some of you are pros! I’d love your tips and tricks.

P.S. — One more thing that’s helped us: We keep small bottles of sparking water in the fridge instead of pop. It satisfies that soda craving with out a bit of sugar!