Are you struggling to cut your “COVID-19?”

You’re not alone.  

In fact, a new American Psychological Association (APA) survey of more than 3,000 people reveals that 61 percent of U.S. adults report undesired weight changes since the COVID-19 outbreak. The same study reveals 2 in 5 of the 3,000 adults surveyed gained more weight than they intended over the last year, at an average of 29 pounds per person. Ten percent said they gained more than 50 pounds.

If we are what we eat, then we’ve never been sweeter.  Because the bulk of those extra comfort calories are simple starches and sugar.

Progress Is Possible

Moving from comfort food to conscious consumption is easier than you might think.  I’m a professional chef by training.  And an Italian by birthright.  To me, food is love.  I’ve looked for love in fluffy frosting, creamy cheesecake and malted milkshakes. Have you looked there, too?

What I’ve come to understand, though, is that nothing is sweeter than living well. Nothing is sweeter than loving myself enough to make choices that support my desire to live well. Because I’ve learned the hard way the old adage is true. If you have your health, you truly do have everything.

The good news is you can have your cake and eat it, too.

Bite Off What You Can Chew

We can’t change the pandemic or the past. We do have the power to choose differently now. Because new choices – and better health – are always available in the present moment.  As soon as your next bite.

Choosing to change one bite is a microstep.  Microsteps are tiny, habit-forming actions that immediately improve our daily lives.  Microsteps create momentum.  Momentum creates change.  Change creates results.  

Are you ready to commit to change?  To choose to live well one bite at a time?  In the first two parts of our series, I shared  How To Drink Your Way to Better Health and How to Harvest Happiness From Salad .  

Here are five strategies to help you swap your sweets.  And to microstep your way to better health one bit at a time.

Lighten Your Licks:  If the ice cream truck is playing your tune, hum along to this healthier refrain.  In less time than it takes to wash your dinner dishes, you could prepare this easy Five Minute Paleo Strawberry Ice Cream or 10 Minute Vegan Chocolate Ice Cream .  No special kitchen tools or culinary expertise are required.  If you prefer express lanes to express prep, check out Yasso Chocolate Fudge Bars. These frozen treats, made from Greek yogurt, contain just 80 calories per pop and have no high intensity sweeteners.  

Calm Your Cookie Monster:  Ooey-gooey, fresh from the oven cookies are still within reach with this Universal Cookie Dough.  This treat made less sweet is adaptable for every dietary and flavor preference imaginable.  From protein packed to vegan varieties, you’ll feel less guilt for getting your hand caught in this cookie jar. 

Worm Your Way Out of Gummies:  Addicted to gummy candy?  Taylor Bosch knows how you feel.  That’s why she started Smart Sweets , a candy company designed to help you #KickSugar.   Feed your sweet or sour cravings with this plant alternative that boasts 92% lower sugar than traditional candy.  The products are allergen free and include vegan and certified Kosher options.  Join Taylor’s movement to #KickSugar and keep candy.    

Groove to A New Granola:  Granola bars may sound like a health food, but many add sweeteners like corn syrup, brown sugar, honey, brown sugar syrup, dextrose, and fructose. Some have a yogurt or chocolate coating, or chocolate chips, which can ramp up the sugars fast — anywhere from 8 to 12 grams per serving.  Dance to a different groove with these easy to make  Five Ingredient Granola Bars . Treat yourself to a taste of joy with Almond Joy Granola Bars (Keto Friendly) .  And experiment with endless possibilities by varying ingredients in these Spiced Nut Granola Bars (Paleo, GF, DF, Vegan).

Blaze A New Trail:  Hiking from your kitchen to your home office is not enough to offset the calories from sugar in most pre-packaged trail mixes.  Keep the convenience and cut the calories with this easy to make blend.  Store your mix in individual containers for easy grab and go snacks.  Roughly chop two unsweetened, dried apricots.  Then stir in 15 cashews and ¼ c. unsweetened coconut flakes for one serving.  In addition to tasting great, this snack is Whole 30 compliant.

In the next installment of our series, I’ll share five simple strategies to swap your salty snacks.