“7-Day No-Added-Sugar Meal Plan That’s Actually Doable” : Day One

“7-Day No-Added-Sugar Meal Plan That’s Actually Doable” : Day One

This is a continuation of my My Experience with a “7-Day No-Added-Sugar Meal Plan That’s Actually Doable.” Today’s post shall focus on Day One, with a little bit of the neglected meal prep thrown in (I’m looking at you Greek yogurt tzatziki sauce). My goal was to also make a few of the snacks so that I would have them available for when I returned to work after the holidays.

After the hours of work I devoted to the shopping and meal prep the day before (which ended up being around six), I was hoping that the morning would start of much easier. Thankfully, it did. The menu for today involved the following items, which I shall explain in further detail below:

  1. Strawberry Balsamic Toast with Greek Yogurt
  2. Greek Yogurt Tzatziki Sauce – I was actually suppose to make this the day before, but was too fatigued to complete it.
  3. One Pan Vegetable Frittata With Fresh Greens
  4. Almond Butter, Date, and Coconut Energy Bites – This was a bonus snack and not on the original menu.
  5. Cilantro-Lime Turkey Meatball Bowl With Peanut Sauce

Breakfast: Strawberry Balsamic Toast with Greek Yogurt

No Added Sugar Strawberry Balsamic Toast with Greek Yogurt
Strawberry Balsamic Toast with Greek Yogurt

Remember the previous day’s panic with breadcrumbs? Well, that actually meant I had two extra slices of already toasted sourdough bread ready for breakfast this morning! I was thankful for that little shortcut, as I do not necessarily enjoy creating big ornate breakfasts.

Yields one portion. Took very little time to assemble.

Confession: They list ingredient measurements, which I promptly ignored. They also wanted me to eat just one piece of bread. Well, I ate two. The ingredients below are in the amount they listed, not necessarily the amount I used.

  • 1 slice of sourdough bread, toasted
  • 2 TBSP of Greek yogurt, 2% fat (yeah… nope… I used whole milk Greek yogurt)
  • 3 strawberries, sliced
  • 1/2 tsp balsamic reduction (or just the baslamic glaze that I already had in my pantry)
  1. Put yogurt on toast.
  2. Put strawberries on top of yogurt on toast.
  3. Put balsamic reduction on top of strawberries on top of yogurt on top of toast.
  4. Eat.

I was taught to never eat bread for breakfast due to my tendency towards hypoglycemia. But this breakfast did include Greek yogurt for a source of protein, so we shall see how I feel in a few hours. Additionally, a single slice of bread seems like an incredibly small breakfast portion. Typically, breakfast is my largest meal of the day. I know of many who skip breakfast, but I cannot with my daily morning meds. I feel sick if I take them on an empty stomach.

Also, I noticed something when I used my store bought balsamic glaze. It had cane sugar as an ingredient! Awesome. With breakfast for day one of no sugar added, I added sugar. This highlights how easy it is for manufacturers to sneak sugar into unlikely places.

I thought of making my own balsamic reduction glaze right then and there, but instead I looked more closely at my own balsamic vinegar. It inherently had 2g of sugar from the grapes. When reduced, it would increase to 4-6g per serving. My glaze had 7g of sugar per serving. Was this less than ideal? Yes. Was it worth it to me to immediately stop what I was doing in order to make it more ideal? No.

With my Addison’s Disease, I do not have the energy to obsessively following things to the minute detail. I have no spoons to spare for that. Additionally, this experiment is supposed to make me feel better and not worse about myself. 7g of sugar at breakfast (plus the sugar from the strawberries and the sugar that is converted from the carbohydrates in the bread) is ok. I purposefully choose to keep the big picture in mind.

Delayed Meal Prep: Greek Yogurt Tzatziki Sauce

No Added Sugar Greek Yogurt Tzatziki Sauce
Greek Yogurt Tzatziki Sauce with Zucchini instead of Cucumber. Because cucumber is NASTY.

As the night wore on the day prior, I had zero desire to quickly “whip up” two “simple” sauces. During that moment, I glanced ahead and knew that I could easily make this Greek yogurt tzatziki sauce during day one and still have time for it to chill in the fridge. With sauces such as this, the flavor deepens as they rest. I knew that I still needed to make it in advance, but a day delayed would be perfectly acceptable.

Yields about one cup and just requires a bowl and a fridge. It took me about 10 minutes to assemble everything.

  • 1/2 a cucumber, unpeeled (I subbed 1/2 a zucchini because I am passionately ANTI-cucumbers)
  • 3/4 C Greek yogurt
  • 1 TBSP lemon juice (I used 1/2 a lemon, and did not measure)
  • 1 TBSP olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp lemon zest (I used the zest from 1/2 a lemon, and did not measure)
  • 1/4 tsp minced garlic (I think I used more by using 1/2 a clove without measuring)
  • 1/4 tsp kosher salt (I used pink Himalayan salt)
  • 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
  1. Grate the cucumber (ZUCCHINI!!!) and squeeze into a paper towel to remove excess moisture (I repeated this processes twice, using fresh paper towels).
  2. Mix together with yogurt, lemon juice, olive oil, lemon zest, garlic, salt, and pepper.
  3. Transfer to a container to store in the fridge.

Y’all. I think this is my favorite tzatziki sauce that I have ever tasted. The zucchini subbed for cucumber was an EXCELLENT choice as it still provides the proper texture without the nasty overpowering flavor of cucumbers.

All things considered, this was a simple sauce to make. I plan on adding it to my repertoire of go to recipes.

Lunch: One Pan Vegetable Frittata With Fresh Greens

No added sugar One Pan Vegetable Frittata With Fresh Greens
One Pan Vegetable Frittata With Fresh Greens. I added the strawberries and made the vinaigrette dressing.

In Buzzfeed’s original plan, they picture you creating lunch while eating breakfast. I did not do that. Instead, I rested after breakfast knowing that my schedule was light for the day. I ended up making this while I was creating the tzatziki sauce described above.

Also, in full disclosure, I modified the recipe. I have another breakfast casserole that I make that is absolutely amazing. It includes veggies, sweet potatoes, spinach, breakfast sausage, and cheese. This was my go to breakfast casserole while I was gluten free and I was craving it hard! The recipe below is my modified version. And it was delicious.

Yields one 9″ frittata with four portions. Requires the use of a cast iron pan, the stove top, and the oven. Total prep time took about 20 minutes, and then an additional 12 minutes to bake.

  • 1 tsp olive oil (I did not measure)
  • 2 cups sheet pan vegetables (I used 1 cup)
  • 1/2 a sweet potato, peeled and shredded (I added this, as the original recipe did not call for it)
  • 6 large eggs
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt (I used pink Himalayan salt)
  • 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
One Pan Vegetable Frittata with just the veggies before the eggs are added
My sweet potato / veggie mixture after it was cooked but before the eggs were added.
  1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
  2. Beat eggs with salt and pepper in a medium bowl and set aside.
  3. Put olive oil in skillet on medium heat. Mix in sweet potatoes and cook for 3-5 minutes, stirring frequently.
  4. Add in vegetables and cook for an additional 3-5 minutes, stirring frequently.
  5. Pour egg mixture into skillet and immediately transfer to the oven.
  6. Cook for 9-12 minutes, until eggs are set.

The assembled meal for lunch included some spinach greens drizzled with the balsamic glaze served with two slices of the frittata. They made a quick note on how “You could also turn the balsamic reduction into more of a vinaigrette. Just whisk in some olive oil, salt, and pepper.” I decided to do that, using the following Amber created recipe:

Quick Vinaigrette Salad Dressing
  • 1 part olive oil
  • 1 part balsamic vinegar
  • 1 dash of salt
  • 1 dash of pepper

Stir together and then drizzle over the greens. This was another go to simple recipe during my gluten free days.

The salad looked naked without any fancy toppings, so I added in some sliced strawberries. This was an absolutely amazing lunch and I loved the complex flavors that did not involve over the top sweetness. I would make this again (with the sweet potatoes added in, of course).

Snack: Almond Butter, Date, and Coconut Energy Bites

No added sugar Almond Butter, Date, and Coconut Energy Bites
Almond Butter, Date, and Coconut Energy Bites drying at room temperature for over two hours.

These almond butter, date, and coconut energy bites were one of their “no added sugar” snack recommendations that I wanted to be sure to make before I headed back to work. I figured these would work well for my 10AM pick me up.

I do want to point out that they are very relaxed with their definition of “no added sugar” because they also list these No-Bake 5 ingredient granola bars as an option. Personally, I would have excluded those because it calls for 1/4 cup of honey, and honey technically is sugar. This highlights a very important point: Please do not obsess over food to the point that it controls you. That is orthorexia and it is a recognized eating disorder.

Food is supposed to be used to fuel you so that you can remain Clearly Alive.

Food is NOT to be used to control you, or to be used by you as an attempt to control your environment. If either of these sound like you, please look at this screening tool for more information and resources.

Yields 20 (or 23 if you’re me). Requires the use of a food processor, baking sheet and a cookie scoop to make things easier. Total prep time took about 20 minutes, and then an additional 2 hours to set.

  • 2 cups medjool dates, pits removed (Easiest way to do this is to cut them in half)
  • 1/2 cup roasted almonds
  • 1/2 cup almond butter
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut, divided
  • pinch of salt
  1. Combine dates, almonds, almond butter, salt, and 1/4 cup of the coconut in a food processor.
  2. Blend until a sticky dough forms. If that does not happen, add one tablespoon of water and continue blending (I did not require the water).
  3. They want you to form the balls by hand, but honestly, I just used a cookie scoop. It was much easier.
  4. Roll the balls in the rest of the coconut.
  5. Let dry at room temperature for 2 hours before serving.
  6. Store in an airtight container.

It has been several years since I have eaten dates. When I lived in Malaysia, dates were my go to dessert due to their sweetness and the fact that they were always gluten free. Banana, dates, and almond smoothies were a staple for me if I wanted a sweet, healthy breakfast treat during that time.

Now dates do have a bit of potassium, so if you watch your potassium intake, be mindful of that. Personally, I am a weird Addisonian that actually runs low on potassium. Dates are an excellent food for me, and I am ashamed that I had neglected them for the past five years.

I look forward to snacking on these around 10am while I am at work.

Dinner: Cilantro-Lime Turkey Meatball Bowl With Peanut Sauce

No added sugar cilantro-lime turkey meatballs with peanut sauce
Before assembly: Edamame, peanut sauce, cilantro-lime turkey meatballs, and rice

Dinner can actually be broken down into two steps:

  1. Make the peanut sauce in the microwave.
  2. Assemble everything together.

So far I have found this process to be very much a “choose your own adventure” type book. You start out on the website, which directs you to a recipe on page six that looks simple enough. BUT WAIT! That recipe cannot be completed until you flip to page eleven. And if you are wondering, yes, I did end up numbering all pages on my printed pdf of all recipes.

Don’t worry. I am putting the recipes on this site in the order that I have used them. I am also correcting the typos that I find along the way.

Yields one cup. Requires the use of a microwave. Took me about 10 minutes to make.

  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter (I used half creamy, half chunky because that’s what I had available)
  • 1/4 cup lime juice (I just used one lime)
  • 1.5 tsp minced ginger (I had to sub powder because I ran out of fresh)
  • 1.5 tsp minced garlic
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt (I used pink Himalayan salt)
  1. Place all ingredients in a microwavable safe bowl.
  2. Nuke on high for one minute.
  3. Stir until creamy and emulsified.

I actually had to nuke for a minute, stir, and then nuke for another minute before the sauce looked right. I blame my peanut butter for that.

I question BuzzFeed’s decision to call this a “Thai Peanut Sauce.” Yes, it does contain peanuts. But it does not taste anything like the peanut sauce that comes from Thailand. And I am not talking about what you get from Thai restaurants. No. I am referring to the actual peanut sauce they served me while I was in Thailand. Additionally, I have taken a cooking class from an authentic Thai restaurant where we made peanut sauce. This is definitely not authentic Thai peanut sauce.

The biggest difference? Authentic Thai peanut sauce is incredibly sweet and loaded with sugar. This is not. It tastes very good, but it is not your typical peanut sauce.

Once that is done, you can assemble everything together for dinner!

Yields one portion in a little over ten minutes (after that Peanut Sauce is already created). Requires the use of a microwave.

  • 1 cup cooked brown rice (previously prepared)
  • 4 cilantro lime meatballs (previously prepared)
  • 1/3 cup Thai peanut sauce (just prepared, minutes ago)
  • 1/4 cup cooked edamame
  • 2 TBSP roasted peanuts, chopped (I left them whole, I was tired)
  • 1 TBSP roughly chopped cilantro (I left this off, I was tired)
  • 5 slices of jalapeño (I left this off, I was tired)
  1. Reheat the rice and meatballs.
  2. Cover with the peanut sauce.
  3. Garnish with edamame, peanuts, cilantro, and jalapeño.
  4. Enjoy.

I am enjoying the complexity of flavors that is achievable when the sweetness is drastically reduced. I absolutely loved the combination of the edamame with the peanuts and the turkey meatballs. If I had more energy, I am sure the jalapeño and the cilantro would have further elevated this dish. That being said, it was amazing how I prepared it.

Concluding Thoughts for Day One

Day one was a success! I was able to create all three meals they recommended, get caught up on the meal prep from the day before, and make an additional snack. This included Strawberry Balsamic Toast, Tzatziki Sauce, Vegetable Frittata, Energy Bites, and Cilantro-Lime Turkey Meatball Bowl.

This process is also forcing me to remember previous eating habits that I have neglected over the years. When did I start reaching for M&M’s instead of dates in order to get my sweet fix? Why did I stopped subbing simple vinaigrette dressings for those salad dressings loaded with sugar? How can I return to these absolutely delicious foods and make that a sustainable habit?

This is not a diet. I want to create for myself a healthy, sustainable life-style. I want to remain Clearly Alive.

This is part of a continuing series. Here are the other Parts: Introduction, Shopping / Meal Prep

Amber Nicole is Clearly Alive