My Sugar Free Menu

I think this is the last in a series of posts about being sugar free (unless anyone has any questions for me…). To summarise again – in the first post I wrote about all the unexpected places sugar is hidden in food e.g. crisps and stock cubes (read more here). In the second post I listed 10 reasons why I have quit sugar – did you know some claim it can make you look older (read more here)? Then I wrote about how some simple techniques helped me overcome my addiction to sugar (read more here).  This blog post is about what I actually eat, instead of the sugar filled foodstuffs.
For breakfast I eat:
In the summer I have soaked rolled oats (I use water, my kids have milk) with cinnamon, ginger and sunflower seeds sprinkled on them.  Sometimes I flavour them with lemon balm from my garden instead and I have some other ideas for flavouring oats here. My kids also have chopped up banana or pear in their soaked oats. Some people soak them overnight (I think the non-rolled oats would need longer soaking), but I find it is fine to ‘soak’ my rolled oats in the morning (i.e. pour on water or milk, mix and eat).  In the winter I cook the oats and make porridge.

Sustainable gift wrap course
Other sugar free breakfast options include:

  • eggs – scrambled, fried, poached – however you like them
  • Full fat plain yoghurt with fruit pieces and/or cinnamon or other sweet herbs added to it (I make my own yoghurt – see how here),
  • Cooked quinoa (in place of porridge) – I would also have it with cinnamon, ginger and sunflower seeds.
For lunch I eat:
In the summer I have salads, in the winter I have soup.  Both home made and home grown where possible… Instead of adding stock cubes to soup I add homegrown herbs (where possible) like sage, thyme, oregano, lemon balm, rosemary and bay leaves.  I also sometimes add freshly ground sea or rock salt, pepper and sometimes yeast extract (which is a key ingredient in stock cubes). I don’t usually add any salad dressing to my salads, although I might drizzle over apple cider vinegar and cold pressed extra virgin olive oil occasionally…
On the weekends when I am out and about with kids I often make myself rice cake ‘sandwiches’. I have fillings like cheese and cucumber, homemade houmous (click here for houmous recipe), peanut butter, cream cheese…(if you want to avoid the plastic tub that comes with the cream cheese, I have a spreadable yoghurt cheese recipe here) I just use rice cakes in place of bread.  We always take chopped up fruit and veg with us too e.g. slices of apple, carrot sticks, cucumber sticks and satsumas…  I do need to find an alternative to rice cakes though as I don’t like the packaging they come in…

I sometimes make rye waffles (click here for recipe) which I have with houmous or peanut butter.

For snacks I eat:
Apples, satsumas, pears which aren’t too ripe, walnuts, brazil nuts, cashew nuts, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, carrots, cucumber, celery. peppers (plus other fruit and veg as available – in the summer we have lots of berries, mange tout, sugar snaps and tomatoes which we grow in the garden).

Plus I eat rice cakes (other sugar free crackers could work as well) with peanut butter, coconut oil, houmous, cheese and so on.

For the kids usually mid morning I make up a plate of sliced up fruit, veg sticks, slices of cheddar cheese and a rice cake with yeast extract or peanut butter on it and sometimes I join in.

The other day I had a go at making savoury flapjacks, which I like the idea of, but my recipe needs some work…

For dinner I eat:

To start with I ate wholegrains of all sorts, but after a while gave up wheat (I did this because I thought it might also not be agreeing with me and wanted to see if it made a difference – not sure about that yet…)

I tend to make a lot of meals up as I go along, but this is an example of the types of things I might have for dinner:

  • Roast chicken, roast veg and roast potatoes
  • Baked potatoes with cheese or houmous (click here for houmous recipe). I do also have baked beans but they do contain sugar…
  • Burgers, chips and peas (sometimes I make them myself, sometimes I don’t)
  • Fish fingers (or oven cooked salmon) and chips (as above but probably would have a polenta crumb rather than breadcrumbs these days see my first attempt at fish fingers here)
  • I used to eat pasta with a cheese sauce (using wholewheat pasta and wholewheat flour in the cheese sauce).
  • I used to eat wholewheat homemade pizza.
  • Salmon, broccoli and brown rice (used to have noodles drizzled with soy sauce) – cooked in a 3 tier steamer
  • Omelettes – I use two eggs mixed with a little milk.  Sometimes I add courgette chunks to the pan before I pour the egg in.  Then I lay slices of cheese over the top of the egg and once cooked fold it in half and serve.
  • Stir fried chicken (usually left over from when we have had a roast) and vegetables with soy sauce with brown rice (also drizzled with soy sauce). Soy sauce does contain wheat, but I haven’t quite managed to give that one up yet…
  • Spaghetti bolognaise or meatballs in a tomato sauce (I started off with wholewheat spaghetti, but now more likely to have with brown rice, quinoa or grated carrot).  See my meatball recipe here (might use rye flour in future…) and my tomato sauce recipe here   
  • Oven baked trout with quinoa or brown rice mixed with homemade tomato sauce (and probably with some peas/ courgette chunks / other veg added to the tomato sauce)
  • Lentils and barley, with stir fried veg (including onion and garlic) with added tomato puree and passata or this lovely coconut and coriander lentils
  • Very occasionally I do slow cooked lamb with roast potatoes.
Most evenings I tend to have chopped apples, sprinkled with sunflower seeds and cinnamon plus I used to add ground almonds but I ran out of them.
Other dessert ideas include:
  • Rye waffles with lemon juice (or wholewheat pancakes if you are eating wheat)
  • Fruit salad
  • Rice cakes with clotted cream and strawberries
  • A little bowl of nuts and seeds (at the beginning I had these with raisins before I gave them up)
  • Plain yoghurt with chopped up fruit
  • Frozen yoghurt flavoured with a fruit of your choice…
My general rules:
  • I avoid sugar, sugar substitutes and wheat wherever possible.  I allow myself to make minor exceptions e.g. I occasionally have it in savoury food when out and about or at home to keep the peace (read more about that here) or when I haven’t worked out an alternative yet.
  • I try to stick to full fat foods and avoid vegetable oils where possible (except extra virgin cold pressed olive oil, which has come in a dark bottle and has a production date as well as an expiry date on it – other versions may not actually be 100% extra virgin cold pressed olive oil)
  • I eat breakfast, lunch and dinner every day, plus I tend to have a mid morning and mid afternoon snack.
  • I try to have a mixture of proteins, carbohydrates and fruit/ veg in most meals and snacks (I used to have chopped up banana in my breakfast oats – I should really find a replacement fruit for breakfast…)
I know I should probably avoid eating after 18.00, but I never do and also another thing I keep meaning to try is avoiding the carbs in the evening, having veg as as side with dinner instead…  I did the Hay Diet for a while and although I don’t agree that proteins and carbs should be eaten separately, I think that having veg as the main side at dinner time and cutting down the proportion of carbs is a good idea.
If you are thinking of going sugar free and none of the food I eat appeals to you, then it might be worth a look at Erica White’s Beat Candida Cookbook, which has over 250 sugar free recipes…

I hope this mini series on why and how I quit sugar was helpful – if anyone has any questions please let me know!

I am currently undertaking a Year of Eco Challenges . If you have a moment I would really appreciate it if you would consider sponsoring me with an action on my DoNation page. Also if you liked this post please click like on Facebook and follow on Twitter – thanks so much!


  1. I have a potentially personal question so don't feel you have to answer but do you think your children are noticeably better behaved having been raised with a low sugar diet? I know it's subjective anyway, and clearly not eating sugar is not the only thing that will make well behaved children (good parenting is obviously at the top of the list) but I think a lot of behavioural issues with kids nowadays are due to the poor little mites being dosed up on sugar all day, being hyperactive one minute then throwing a strop the next when the inevitable sugar crash happens. I don't have any kids at the moment though so don't really have much to go on, what are your thoughts on this?

  2. Zoe

    Good question theFIREstarter.

    From my personal experience of my 3 and 5 year old boys, the answer to that question is that – no I don't think that children raised on a low sugar diet are better behaved than those raised on a high sugar one. I think some kids are naturally mild mannered regardless of what you feed them and the parenting techniques that you use and some are not (from my personal experience).

    That said, I think that eating sugar may well exacerbate poor behaviour and it can only be a good idea to keep them off the sugar… Although in the real world that is easier said than done… I'm sure parenting techniques also help, but you wait until you have your own. It is so hard to explain to someone what being a parent is like, it is something you really have to experience for yourself 🙂

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