Breaking up with sugar is easier said than done.
First, it tries to lure you back with its sweetness—even though that only lasts so long. Then, it pops up in places you’re not expecting to run into it, like the salad bar. At times, it can feel like you’ll never be able to live without it. And those first few days and weeks away from it are the hardest.
But just like ending things with a toxic partner, the benefits of cutting sugar from your life is so worth it: Your skin will look better, you’ll have more energy, and it really pays off in the long run.
The key to avoiding sugar—without being in a grumpy mood—is to have a few go-to meals you can rely on that are both nourishing and delicious.
Cue Summer Rayne Oakes, a model and sustainability leader who founded of Sugardetox.me, a 10-step plan for curbing cravings for good. The Brooklynite (yes, the one with the dreamy, plant-filled apartment) just released a book of the same name with the full meal plan—plus 100 sugar-free meals.
Here, she shares three recipes that will get you through breakfast, lunch, and dinner sans the sweet stuff. This new relationship? It’s definitely not complicated.
Keep reading for your all-day sugar-free meal plan.
2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 yellow onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp cumin
1 cup zucchini, chopped
2 15-ounce cans San Marzano whole plum tomatoes
1/2 red or green chile pepper, or more to taste, minced
Pinch of sea salt, to taste
Pinch of pepper, to taste
1/2 cup washed, destemmed, and chopped Lacinato kale
1 large handful fresh basil
1. Heat the oil in a nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic, stirring them occasionally, until they are soft and golden brown, about three minutes.
2. Add the bell pepper, paprika, and cumin, and cook for two minutes.
3. Meanwhile, transfer the zucchini and tomatoes to a blender and blend for about two minutes, or until the mixture is smooth. Pour the zucchini-tomato sauce mixture into the skillet and let it cook over low heat, covered, for 15 minutes.
4. While the skillet is still on the burner, make small divots in the sauce for the eggs and carefully crack the eggs into them. Add some chiles, salt, pepper, and the kale. Cover and cook over low heat for five more minutes, until the egg whites have set. Serve with some fresh basil leaves.
Lunch: Coconut-Curry Shrimp Soup
1 shallot, diced
1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 Tbsp ginger
1 Tbsp curry powder
1 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp cumin
2 13.5-ounce cans coconut milk
2 cups vegetable broth
1 cauliflower, finely chopped
1 lb shrimp
Pinch of sea salt, to taste
2 Tbsp cilantro (optional)
1 oz. microgreens (optional)
1. Saute the shallot in a pan with the olive oil until it’s translucent, about two minutes. Add the ginger to the mix and continue until the shallot is caramelized.
2. Once the shallot is caramelized, add the curry powder, turmeric, and cumin.
3. Add the coconut milk and vegetable broth to the mixture and bring to a simmer. Then add the cauliflower and shrimp and cook for another two minutes, or until the shrimp is pink. Add salt to taste.
4. Take the pan off the stove and add some cilantro and microgreens as a garnish.
Dinner: Stuffed Bell Peppers with Mung Beans and Veggies
1/2 cup mung beans, sorted
1/2 cup cubed sweet potato
3 1/2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil, divided
2 cloves garlic, minced, divided
2 red bell peppers, halved, stemmed, and seeded
Pinch of sea salt
Pinch of pepper
1/2 cup white button mushrooms, sliced
2 cups Lacinato kale, washed, deveined, and chopped
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1. Pour one-and-a-half cups of water into a medium saucepan and add the mung beans. Bring the water to a boil and then let it simmer, uncovered, for 25 minutes.
2. While the water is simmering, preheat the oven to 400°F.
3. Toss the sweet potato with one tablespoon of the olive oil and half of the minced garlic in a large bowl. Season with salt and black pepper, and arrange the sweet potato on a baking sheet. Roast for about 25 minutes.
4. Lightly brush the peppers with one tablespoon of the olive oil, and sprinkle them with salt and pepper. Place the peppers, cut-side down, on another baking sheet. Bake the peppers until they are just tender, around 15 minutes. Let them cool slightly, then turn them cut side up.
5. Add half a tablespoon of olive oil to a nonstick skillet and saute the mushrooms over medium heat for one minute. Massage the kale with the remaining one tablespoon of olive oil and lemon juice and add it to the mushrooms in the skillet. Cover the skillet and let the kale steam for about one minute. Remove the mushrooms and kale from the skillet and toss them in a bowl with the mung beans and the sweet potato. Spoon some of the mixture into each of the red pepper halves.
Reprinted with permission from SugarDetoxMe © 2017 by Summer Rayne Oakes, Sterling Epicure. Photography by Summer Rayne Oakes