Meal Ideas

Over the next 30 Days Sugar Free, you are going to have the opportunity to eat approximately:

  • 30 Breakfasts
  • 30 Lunches
  • 30 Dinners
  • 60 or More Snacks

At the beginning it might feel like you are free-falling into the great unknown.

If this is the first time in your life you are attempting to eat with a consciousness to avoid processed and refined sugar, you might be asking yourself, “What in the world can I eat?”

While the choices might seem slim right now, we assure you that by the end of the challenge you’ll be well-versed and able to whip out or hunt down ‘legal’ meals that are delicious, nutritious, and sugar free.

We are providing this page in response to our exit survey where many people told us they were at a complete loss during the first few days. This is far from A complete list of meals you can have during this challenge.

Please spice up this list all you want to fit your own tastes and cooking level. Chime in on the Private Facebook Group with any questions or suggestions. There is no reason for you to do any part of this challenge alone. The community is thriving and supportive with members and alumni, as well as the two of us.

Breakfast

The morning meal is an important one in the 30 Days Sugar Free challenge, and here’s why. The sugar level set in the morning becomes what the body wants to maintain all day. Keep it at zero. Ideally, we are looking for a breakfast that is high in protein. That is what the body needs in the morning so that it feels safe, cared for, nurtured.

Not to say that there won’t be some natural sweetness in the morning. We just warn against fruit smoothies or a cut-up fruit salad. While both are legal for the challenge, they will set a high sugar level in the blood that will be hard to maintain throughout the day.

Oatmeal with any or all of the following supplements: cut-up fruits include strawberries, bananas, blueberries, raspberries, raisins. Nuts add protein so consider chopped almonds, walnuts, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, ground flaxseeds. Spice it up with cinnamon or nutmeg. Make it more like a cereal by adding plain yogurt (no sugar added: Nancy’s, Strauss, Brown Cow, or other clean brand), or milk. Both these dairy products will show sugar in grams on the Nutritional Facts label. That is a natural sugar from lactose – legal on this challenge. Note: All fruits can be either fresh or dried.

Cold Cereals – this gets tricky but there are a few choices. Similar to oatmeal, decorating it with toppings that provide texture, taste, and nutrition is key. A great, healthy base can be made with a bowl of Corn Puffs, Rice Puffs, or Puffed Millet.

Stay away from granola as they are always sweetened with some flavor of processed sugar unless you make it. Later in the program we’ll be sharing a lot of recipes with you and one of them is for a fruit sweetened granola that we both love. Have you ever considered making your own granola? You get to customize it for exactly your tastes – and you might never go back!

Eggs, Toast, Bacon – What? You didn’t think we were going to take away the good stuff, did you? There are a few caveats on this option and they are detailed below. Over the next 30 days you are going to be real careful about bread. We have found one brand that is totally legal on the challenge – Dave’s Powerseed – and we’ve heard great things about it. Should be available at better grocery stores and health food co-ops.

As for Bacon – You probably won’t find anything sugar free in a grocery store. Sugar is used in curing meats to offset the harshness of salt. Cured meats are pretty salty by necessity (salt being used as a preservative). You can order the cleanest bacon in the world from US Wellness Meats. Really worth the price if you want bacon that isn’t soaked in sugar. We’ve also been told that Kroger might offer a few brands of bacon that is sugar free. You can also check with a Whole Foods Market, natural food co-op, high-end grocery store, or your favorite butcher shop.

Bob’s Mighty Tasty Hot Cereal – Hey this tip might just be worth the price of admission! A delicious alternative to oatmeal, this is available at most health food co-ops or bigger grocery stores. Add more liquid than they suggest or make sure you use milk or yogurt if you follow the directions. It can dry up quickly and turn into a mortar-like consistency unless you are generous with the liquid. This one is also gluten-free, if you are trying to cut down on that, too.

Toppings? Easy! Use any or all of the additives suggested for oatmeal and enjoy.

Pancakes or Waffles! Why not, right? Most commercial mixes will have some shade of sugar however we found this one that makes the best pancakes or waffles we’ve ever tasted. It’s a mix made by Pamela’s and again, it’s gluten free. We know what you’re thinking, “What do I put on pancakes or waffles with syrup and whipped cream out of the game?” Here are a few ideas that have come courtesy of our alumni, and our own experience.

First – coconut oil with cinnamon, cardamom, a sprinkle of raw shredded coconut, and a dash of vanilla – YUMMY! It makes Mrs. Buttersworth slink out of the room.

Second – Greek yogurt (check labels – only ingredients should be non-fat milk and living yogurt cultures.) The label should look something like this.

Third – Want to go old school simple? Try some melted butter, cinnamon, and raisins or sliced dates. After about 2 weeks into the challenge you won’t believe that this is almost too sweet!

Lunch

It’s midday and you aren’t the first one to wonder, “Why in the heck am I doing this challenge?” Your body is trying to guess what it did to get on your bad side and why you are keeping it free of the sugar it is so used to getting by now.

Your body might play some tricks on you at this point in the day. Look for the signs – headache, belly ache, inability to focus – and treat them all with the same prescription: 2 glasses of water. Seriously, drink them down before you do anything drastic. More often than not, hunger is a call for water and during this challenge you should never feel thirsty.

Again, we want to focus on the protein and let that provide your body the nutrition and energy it needs. We’ll do some fruit during lunch, too, to give your body the natural sugar it needs to create glucose so that you’ll have maximum energy and brain function. Good parts of a successful day, right?

Tuna – Salad, sandwich, or on rice (or other sugar free) crackers – you’ll get a protein rush (about 25 grams) that your body will enjoy from a can of tuna prepared with some (sugar free) sugar free mayonaise, mustard, Annie’s Goddess Dressing, or straight from the envelope atop some celery, wrapped in a big leaf of romaine lettuce, or with an avocado. Many ways to dress this up with salt, pepper, dill, cayenne, or tomato.

Finish this meal off with some red or green grapes (Note: grapes are one of the biggest sponges of pesticides in the fruit family. Go organic if you can and just eat less of them.)

Salads – this is a field day for the sugar free challenge. If you have access to a place with a salad bar, you’re going to want to hit this once or twice a week. Steer clear of anything that you aren’t sure about. For dressing, we suggest sticking to oil/vinegar – or pack your own Annie’s Goddess. If you can put some turkey or ham onto the salad you are going to score points for protein and that will help your energy level as you head back to work. Also, add cottage cheese for a big hit of protein and good taste. Most dressings have added sugar. The two that we suggest in this section do not.

Chicken – If you’re not a vegetarian, get to know the various ways to prepare chicken as it will play a major role in your 30 Days Sugar Free. Loaded with protein, versatile, and not dependent on sugar to taste good, it will show up in various forms during your lunch and dinner options. Keep it as close to unprocessed as possible so you can know that it’s not been prepared with sugar. For the most part, refuse sauces or any type including savory, glazing, and bbq. All of these will use some shade of sugar. A chicken breast usually begs for some ketchup or other sauce. For this 30 day challenge, we are going to avoid ketchup and the like unless you make your own. Find a good, fresh, sugar-free salsa and use liberally.

Fish – Again, with all due respect to our vegetarian friends, may we suggest salmon, catfish, or shrimp. These three offer dozens of possibilities for preparation and they are all very low on the mercury content scale. Prepare by baking, grilling, pan fry, or steam. Each of these will give you the protein your body craves and is an excellent addition to the salad or pasta choices you have at your disposal. A note on sushi: we are going to go the 30 days without traditional sushi because the rice is laden with sugar. Instead, if you find yourself at a sushi restaurant, you’re not out of luck. Order sashimi and a bowl of brown or white rice (not sushi rice) and mix them together on your own plate. It’s really just a vehicle to hold soy sauce and wasabi, right?

First – coconut oil with cinnamon, cardamom, a sprinkle of raw shredded coconut, and a dash of vanilla – YUMMY! It makes Mrs. Buttersworth slink out of the room.

Second – Greek yogurt (check labels – only ingredients should be non-fat milk and living yogurt cultures.) The label should look something like this.

Third – Want to go old school simple? Try some melted butter, cinnamon, and raisins or sliced dates. After about 2 weeks into the challenge you won’t believe that this is almost too sweet!

Sandwiches – That’s right – we aren’t robbing the backbone of the American diet, we are just modifying to fit the challenge. The main culprits here are the bread and certain condiments. In the breakfast section we mentioned Dave’s Powerseed bread – and that might just be the best alternative for you. However, many people really enjoy these Corn Thins from Real Foods. They are ideal for sandwiches because of their size, durability, and good taste. They are available at most grocery stores and health food stores. 

As for condiments, steer clear of most brands of mayonnaise (Duke’s is sugar-free), relish, ketchup (most have high fructose corn syrup which is our nemesis this month!). You can make your own ketchup quite easily using this recipe from one of our alumni: Blend together 1 small can organic tomato sauce, 1 can organic tomato paste, then add about 2 tsp vinegar, 2 tablespoons of organic unsweetened applesauce (in place of sugar), and add onion powder, garlic powder, salt & pepper to taste. It yielded a little over a cup of tangy goodness. Rule of thumb for ketchup – unless you make it, do something else – like a fresh sugar-free salsa.

Soups – a perfect all-season lunch. Be on the look out for soups that contain added sugar. This is a very good choice at a restaurant – a soup and salad will leave you energized, and without that post sugar drop that you know and (don’t) love. There are so many varieties that we are going to leave you with these words – ask the waiter or read the label. The best choice is to make it yourself and there are hundreds of sugar-free soup recipes online.

First – coconut oil with cinnamon, cardamom, a sprinkle of raw shredded coconut, and a dash of vanilla – YUMMY! It makes Mrs. Buttersworth slink out of the room.

Second – Greek yogurt (check labels – only ingredients should be non-fat milk and living yogurt cultures.) The label should look something like this.

Third – Want to go old school simple? Try some melted butter, cinnamon, and raisins or sliced dates. After about 2 weeks into the challenge you won’t believe that this is almost too sweet!

Dinner

One of the biggest changes for many people during the 30 Days Sugar Free challenge is that dinner doesn’t need to knock the body unconscious for the night. It’s nutrition, not therapy. In this section we are going to offer suggestions in the various parts of the dinner and leave it to you to mix/match to your liking. Inside the program and on our Private Facebook Group you’ll be inundated with suggestions and reviews from other challengers. Use this section to get clear on the ins and out of dinner components.

Proteins – Yes, yes, and one more yes. Steak, chicken, lamb, pork, fish for our carnivorous friends. When your habitual inner-self is calling for a visit to the freezer or pantry so it can gorge on ice cream or cookies, it’s the protein that is going to step in and save you. For the vegetarians, we recommend quinoa (actually, this stuff is great for everyone!), seitan, beans (black, kidney, lental, chickpea, and pinto), and tofu. We’ve seen some very creative vegetarians do this challenge and even surprise themselves with creativity and variety.

Vegetables – Get creative with your stir-frys, pan frying, steaming, and roasting. Think outside the box these 30 Days Sugar Free and reach to ones you don’t normally eat. Something called jicima has a beautiful natural sweetness. Brussels sprouts and cabbage fried up in a bit of sesame oil with garlic will get you back in touch with the real flavor of foods. Steamed asparagus with your choice of sugar-free toppings will put a smile on just about anyone’s face, while artichokes hold their place as the dessert of the veggie world.

I’d also like give a tip-of-the-hat to greens. During this challenge you will benefit from foods that support cell growth. Collards, chard (check all the great varieties!), kale, and spinach will be honored guests in the eyes of your digestion system. Use the internet to find creative ways of preparing these important foods.

Of course, you have all the basics, too. Have fun with the corn, broccoli, peas, and cauliflower – soon you’ll taste a completely new sensation from these familiar standbys.

Starch – We aren’t going to give these our highest recommendation due to the fact that the second starches hit your belly, they begin converting into sugar. That said, it isn’t an added processed or refined sugar, so for the sake of this challenge, they are allowed. Exercise moderation with pasta, rice, potatoes, or breads – any of these empty carbs are not your top-shelf, go-to items for the next 30 days. Use them sparingly during lunch and/or dinner. Aim for no more than twice a day on anything from this group – and once if you are interested in losing weight.

Bookmark this page. Also, use our Private Facebook Group to continue the conversation and garner more ideas you can use.

Drinks

Your best friend during this challenge is going to be water. Lots of water. We talk about this a number of times throughout the program – especially during the detox period of the first one to two weeks. You should never be thirsty. Get used to having a refillable water bottle with you at all times. And here are a few other winners from the liquid category:

  • Water – hey, you knew that was coming!
  • Diluted fruit juice – typically 3:1 water to juice
  • Pineapple or Mango nectar 10:1 water to juice
  • Tea – If you can, get organic. Numi Mint is delicious and clean, as is Good Earth Original.
  • Coffee
  • Carbonated Water with Fruit Juice
  • Milk (almond, rice, soy – check for sugar in the ingredients)

Snacks

You are going to figure out what works for you including how much and how often. Here are some suggestions that have been passed around our group. Know that the first few days are going to be a challenge and you’ll really have to be on top of yourself. You might have spent most of your life eating without a consciousness around ingredients – and you’ve chosen this time to make a change. We are with you – reach out for support when you need it.

  • Sunflower Seeds – whole or shelled
  • Nuts/Legumes – almonds, peanuts, walnuts, cashews, pistachios, etc
  • Fruit – fresh or dried. Use these liberally during the 30 Days Sugar Free. It will give you energy and is loaded with fiber which will help with the detoxification of processed sugar.
  • Ants in the Tree – fancy name for celery with peanut butter and raisins. Really good – get a container to hold these. They travel very well.
  • Chips and Salsa or Guacamole – Make it yourself or make sure it’s sugar free.
  • Jerkey – beef, turkey – make it yourself with a dehydrator. Any commercially produced jerkey that you buy will be loaded with sugar. To make it yourself: cut very thin, marinate overnight in zip lock filled wtih tamari, ginger, and garlic.
  • Corn Thins – with some cheese or veggies they are satisfying and delicious.

Use the ideas on this page, along with your own creativity and the support of this program to make sure you are well-nourished during this 30 day challenge. Contact us if you have any suggestions or concerns.