Meal planning and recipes in a task management tool
If you want to become healthier and fitter, and don't mind challenging yourself, then you're in the right place. There are tons of benefits to a sugar-free diet, besides weight loss: you will significantly improve your health, lower the risk for chronic diseases, boost your energy levels and improve your ability to focus.
One study found that people who consumed 25 percent or more of their daily calories as added sugar were more than twice as likely to die from heart disease than those who consumed less than 10 percent. Therefore, one of the best ways to support your health is quitting sugar, or at least drastically reducing your intake.
Another research showed that the most common reason for increased daily sugar intake is consuming too much fruit juices, soda, and lemonade drinks. And this problem is more severe than it may seem. To make some significant steps toward the new life, you have to start at least by substituting all such drinks with healthier ones. Then you can try not to consume processed sugars for a week at least. When you feel that you are ready for a more significant challenge, the best thing to do is start a 21-day sugar-free challenge. It's easier than you think because of the tons of recipes and products that can substitute those that contain sugar. But the result will be worth all your effort.
Why start a 21-day sugar-free challenge?
The purpose of this challenge is to encourage you to be more conscious of what you are feeding your body with. Learn to read past the labels and understand the actual ingredients of what you buy. Learn to recognize hidden "special" names for processed sugars.
What happens when you stop eating sugar for a month? Expect withdrawal symptoms for the first few days: these could be headaches, feeling achy, and tired. But don't worry – they don't last. Very soon you should start feeling better, and by the second week, you will most probably notice increased energy levels. But you have to be patient.
Here are the core benefits of decreasing the amount of sugar intake:
You'll have a better digestion. When you quit sugar, you'll be rewarded with a healthier gut. Quitting sugar is great for your immune system, and you're able to better extract nutrients from food.
You'll feel lighter. A big plus of quitting sugar is reduced bloating. You'll also be consuming fewer calories and have much less food cravings.
You will be able to taste the sweetness in natural foods. When we eat sugar all the time, we lose our sensitivity to sweetness. When you quit sugar, expect to be delighted by the beautiful natural sweetness in healthy foods.
It's your best defense against diabetes. Eating the right foods and adopting other lifestyle behaviors that promote healthy blood sugar and insulin levels will give you the best chance at avoiding diabetes.
Why 21 days?
According to Dr. Maxwell Maltz's research, it takes 21 days to fully form a new habit, as 21 days is the time required for new neuropathways to be fully developed in your brain. The idea is that you will not only lose some weight and detoxify your body, but you will also get rid of sweet addiction, and as your taste buds change, this will affect the way you perceive flavors. In other words, your life won't be the same anymore. Your beloved Nutella will probably taste like something "too sweet to eat". And that is why it is worth trying.
We want to show you a simple way how you can organize your challenge. Yes, you might do this on paper or in a notebook (although this might be too exhausting). But here's a more convenient way: you can plan your daily sugar-free meals in a Task Management tool. You can choose any tool you like with similar functionality – we will show you how to organize your challenge in Infolio.
How to organize a sugar-free challenge in a Task Management tool?
You have a 21-day board that offers unique, tasty, easy-to-cook and sugar-free recipes for three weeks. It is not the plan that must follow to the letter: you can modify it as you wish and use the recipes you prefer, delete some, or add new ones. You can also control your daily calorie intake according to your needs. Then you should include the nutritional information in each recipe. Infolio challenge board offers you sugar-free healthy meal recipes with healthier ingredients (sugar substitutes) of your choice. You won't starve because all of the recipes are super delicious and nutritious.
In Infolio, you have a recipe board, where each task card is customized with a photo of the dish, a checklist of ingredients, and cooking instructions. The tags inform about the meal preparation and cooking times, but you can add any tags you prefer. For example, you can create a unique tag to mark your favorite meals.
To prepare a meal plan, simply add a date to the recipe card you want to make. You can plan a week or two in advance – it's up to you. It is also possible to collaborate with your family and friends – just assign a task card to a person with whom you share the project, and he/she will see the ingredients necessary to buy, a to-do list, the recipe itself, or a shopping list. Infolio provides an easy way to share responsibilities for the lunch or dinner between family and friends.
If you switch to Infolio's calendar view, you can then see your meal plan by week or month. You can switch to the views that you prefer: whether it's a Kanban board, a Table, or a Calendar. Add more details to the recipes in custom fields, e.g., calories, recipe rating, notes for the future recipes, and so much more. You have all the details in one place.
In our visual collaborative project spaces, you can store loads of useful information and files, such as additional meal recipes, books, articles, links to movies, checklists, to-do lists, and so on. Project spaces are especially suitable for visual thinkers who need some extra motivation to achieve their goals. You can store some unusual recipes and cooking links, take some additional notes, and exercising plans, sharing the space with your friends and family. Thus, you can overcome the challenge together and support each other. Whenever there is a need to have a conversation with your "team", you can use a project chat– it's easy and fast.
Here are some more tips that can help you to survive the 21 days of challenge and significantly change your food habits:
1/ Replace sweetened drinks with water. Say no to sugary soda, fruit juice, and energy drinks
Choose some of these lower-sugar drink options:
Water: It's usually free and has zero calories.
Sparkling water with a squeeze of fresh lemon or lime: homemade soda.
Water with mint and cucumber: amazingly refreshing in a warm weather.
Herbal or fruit teas: drink them hot or cold with ice.
Tea and coffee: stick to unsweetened tea or black or flat white coffee (it's easier when you get used to it).
2/ Read labels and use calorie counting apps
Sometimes sugar is hidden in unexpected products. In most cases, we consume sugar unconsciously – it is added almost everywhere. Food producers try to mislead us by adding "natural sugars" in the form of fruit sugars, maple syrup, and honey. But anyway, It's all sugar! Even when it's natural. But it doesn't mean that we have to refuse it at all. Our body still needs natural sugars. The perfect solution to control natural sugars intake is to use calorie counting apps like Yazio, LifeSum, or FatSecret. These apps tell you what is the proper combination of protein, fat, and carbohydrates for you by entering your personal details. You simply record everything you eat, and as it has most of the products in the database, the app will show your daily nutritional balance. You will see if you can have another apple, some maple syrup, some sugar-free orange juice, and a sugar-free protein bar without feeling guilty.
3/ Choose unsweetened snacks
A variety of snacks can defeat hunger with no sugar added (or replaced by a natural sweetener). Here are some examples:
Self-prepared sweet snacks (e.g., buns or cookies) with stevia instead of sugar. There are a lot of recipes available, and you can find some of them in Infolio template.
Fresh vegetables. Cucumbers, cauliflower, broccoli are super low in calories and don't contain sugar. Make a healthy dip for your vegetables and enjoy.
Fresh fruit. And of course, you can always have some fruits as a snack. Choose the ones that have less natural sugar.
Here are some best low-sugar fruits and berries:
Lemons (and limes)
Some other healthy and unsweetened snacks can be made from such ingredients: eggs, guacamole, celery, peanut butter, greek yoghurt, cheese, nuts, seaweed snacks, olives. As you see, there's plenty of choice.
4/ Avoid sauces, or replace them with the self-prepared ones
There's so much sugar hiding in this ketchup bottle you've recently bought. Just imagine, on average, two tablespoons of Heinz ketchup or the same amount of Teriyaki sauce contain from six to eight grams of sugar. And two tablespoons of Hoisin sauce – ten grams of sugar. So, when it comes to sugar content, sauces are land mines. Be careful when shopping and read the labels. To keep sugar to a minimum, you can choose healthier alternatives, find brands with lower sugar content, or make sauces yourself. It's easy, delicious, and safe. And you always know what you are consuming.
5/ Rethink dessert. Or skip
If you can't skip, see point 3 and replace your dessert with a healthy snack. If that doesn't work for you either, the best way to avoid sugar in dessert is to choose sugar-free dessert recipes and put them on your Infolio recipe board. You can also substitute sugar with a natural sweetener such as stevia in your beloved recipes. The great idea is to create a new project, e.g., "Desserts without sugar", and have your favorite recipes always at hand. Keep in mind that cooking by yourself is still healthier than buying pre-cooked ones.
6/ Cook yourself!
Making your own food, cooking for yourself and others, makes you healthier, contributing to the greater food for all. You know all the ingredients you use and their quality. That means you know how much butter, sugar, salt, etc., you're consuming. Restaurants and prepared dinners tend to be packed with fat, salt, and sugar. This isn't the case if you're making the meal yourself. So, cooking at home gives you much more control over your diet. Plus, learning how to cook is also a great way to save money.
In case you don't want to challenge yourself with a no sugar diet, but still want to organize your life and save time, you can try weekly or monthly meal planning. Meal planning is a useful thing itself, especially if you are the kind of person who has no idea what to cook every day when dinnertime is approaching. Meal planning is the key to avoiding the stress of thinking, "What's for dinner?" With a meal plan, you'll save both time and money (because you will know exactly what you need to buy for the whole week, no surprises). Infolio can make your meal planning process dead simple to organize your favorite recipes and plan out a week's or even a month's worth – of meals, or weekly, monthly, 21-day challenges.
How to use the 21-Day No Sugar Challenge template?
Sign in to your Infolio account (or create a free account);
You will see a variety of project templates. Click "Explore all the templates" on the right side of the screen. Scroll to the section "Other" and choose the 21-Day No Sugar Challenge template;
Start using the template. Feel free to adjust and modify this template by your preference, by adding, deleting, or modifying recipes, lists, and statuses.