Sugar. Sucrose. Fructose. Corn syrup. Malt syrup. These are just a few of the 61 names for sugar.
If you’re cutting back on sugar for health reasons, you almost need a PhD in nutrition labels to identify all the hidden types of sugar found in food.
That’s why we’re taking the guesswork out of decoding food labels and sharing some of the best-tasting, low-sugar foods that will satisfy all your cravings – both savory and sweet.
FOR SWEET CRAVINGS
If you’ve got an unrelenting sweet tooth but you’re cutting back on sugar, try these delicious lower sugar foods:
Raspberries, strawberries, and blackberries are a go-to for anyone following a low-sugar diet (like the keto diet) because they are inherently sweet while miraculously low in sugar. An entire cup of any of these three berries contains just seven grams of sugar with an equal amount of fiber, making these handheld delights what you’d call nature’s candy. Be careful with blueberries though as they contain double the sugar of their fuzzy counterparts. An easy way to remember this is that berries with the little hairs—called styles—are the low-sugar berries to choose.
- Chia Pudding
If you’re a fan of pudding – but not the added sugar that usually accompanies it – then it’s time to give chia pudding a whirl. You can make it yourself at home with as little as three ingredients: chia seeds, milk (or a milk alternative), and a touch of natural sweetener like honey. Mix these ingredients in a little jar, refrigerate overnight, and the next day you have a satisfying snack loaded with protein, fiber, and healthy fats. Here’s a recipe to try.
- Dark Chocolate
If you consider yourself a chocoholic then you know that most chocolate is loaded with sugar—until recently. With the rise of low-carb and ketogenic diets, manufacturers were motivated to fill the market gap with more low-sugar, antioxidant-rich dark chocolate. With tons of options to now choose from, all that’s left to do is check the label and look for less than four grams of sugar per serving and at least 70% dark chocolate (the higher the percentage is the more flavonoid-rich cacao it contains).
- Greek Yogurt Parfait
If you like cold, creamy, and dreamy foods like ice cream but cannot get behind the high sugar content in typical frozen treats, it’s time to get behind Greek yogurt as a low-sugar alternative. Choose a thick plain Greek yogurt and add just a drop of honey or maple syrup. Finish it off by topping with low-sugar berries. Now you have a parfait that is loaded with protein and gut-beneficial bacteria. And it will keep you full for hours!
FOR SAVORY CRAVINGS
If you’re cutting back on sugar but you’re more of a salty snack person, look no further than these delicious foods:
- Roasted Chickpeas
Chickpeas are the choice snack for anyone eating less sugar as they have a GI index score of just 10 – putting them in the low-glycemic food category. What makes chickpeas even more irresistible is roasting them in a little salt and olive oil in an oven preheated to 425 degrees Fahrenheit for 25 minutes and enjoying them as is, or sprinkling them over your favorite bowls and salads.
- Cheese Crisps
Hot trend alert! Entirely sugar-free cheese crisps exploded along with the popularity of low-sugar, low-carb diets. They are the perfect low-sugar snack because they are satiating and high in protein. You can buy them prepackaged—just check your labels for icky ingredients and choose a clean variety—or make them yourself by grating your favorite hard cheese and baking them into little cheese crisps.
- Veggie Chips
Nothing will satisfy your craving for a crunchy snack like a bag of veggie chips. Luckily for you, you now have your choice of sweet potato, beet, plantain, squash, parsnip, kale, radish, and even spinach chips! Look out for sodium content and aim for 200 mg or less per serving and pay attention to the type of oil used. Avoid veggie chips fried in sub-par oils like sunflower oil. Instead, look for healthier versions that use coconut, avocado, or olive oil—or better yet, no oil at all and only contain the dehydrated veggie itself and a little salt.
- Hummus and Veggies
Combine your love for crunching and dunking by nourishing your body with all the dense nutrients found in raw vegetables, plus the protein and fiber in hummus. A Middle Eastern favorite, hummus is now one of the most ubiquitous snacks worldwide. You can find it at any grocery store, convenience store, and even some gas stations. Take comfort knowing it’s a healthy, filling snack. You can also save money and make it at home with just a few ingredients—chickpeas, tahini, lemon juice, and garlic whirled in a blender.
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