Foods that require absolutely NO sugar (pasta sauce, etc.) have tons of it, and foods that require some sugar have WAY too much of it (peanut butter, yogurt, cereal, ketchup, I could go on for days…). And I’m sure that I’m more aware of this issue than most people because of my hypoglycemia, but if you’ve never paid attention to what foods have added sugar or how much, you should absolutely start looking at the packages and educate yourself.
As a very small example, I CAN’T eat regular yogurt. It’s not that I don’t like it, I love it, but it has so much sugar that my body physically can’t process it unless I’ve had a meal first, or unless I add large amounts of granola or wheat germ to it. As I result, I eat plain yogurt, which is quite bitter, and add honey for flavor and sweetness.
In addition to the fact that this phenomenon affects me personally and makes me search out alternative sweeteners with a lower glycemic index (agave syrup), buy the “lower sugar” versions of products (which are becoming more prevalent), buy organic (which often has much less sugar than the non-organic versions), and make my own food at home (pasta sauce, etc.), it angers me that our child will be subjected to this as well. It’s unfair that our kids are becoming addicted to sugar through almost no fault of their own. If the only food they sell is loaded with sugar, is it any wonder why people become addicted?
One of the many small things we do to combat this problem is to make our own pasta sauce. Being Italian, both B and I grew up exclusively on homemade sauce and we’ve continued that tradition. Every few months we load up on groceries and B spends a Sunday afternoon blanching tomatoes, cutting fresh herbs, opening cans, doing tastings, and making our own sauce. After about 4 hours, the big huge vat of sauce and homemade meatballs gets divided into 8 containers and hits the freezer.
I realize that most people don’t have the inclination to do this, but sauce is one of those foods that has tons of unnecessary sugar so I was excited when I ran across this super simple sauce recipe in this month’s issue of Everyday Food. I haven’t tried it, but it sounds like a good place to start even if you need to add some extra herbs to pump up the flavor. As a general tip, you can’t go wrong with basil, parsley, and oregano.
Rustic Marinara Sauce
In a large pot, heat 2T of olive oil, 2 cloves of minced garlic, and a pinch of red pepper flakes over medium until fragrant (2 minutes). Add two 28-oz cans while tomatoes with juice, crushed. Season with salt and pepper. Cook at a rapid simmer, stirring occasionally, until thickened, about 15 minutes.