By now, we all know that we want to eat (and drink) less added sugar.
But how do we actually do that?
Below are 5 simple swaps that you can start making today to help you do just that – eat less sugar.
#1 Swap dried fruit for real fruit
Dried fruit doesn’t have the water in it that real whole fresh fruit does. So not only does it typically fill you up less, but it has a much smaller serving size than fresh fruit. For example, 1/4 cup of dried apples is 52 calories and 12 grams of sugar. One small whole apple has about 68 calories and 13 grams of sugar. The big difference here is serving size. Most people, rarely, eat 1/4 cup of dried fruit and stay within serving size simply because it’s not filling. On the other hand, a whole apple is usually pretty satisfying. In turn, dried fruit fanatics are usually getting in more calories and sugar.
If you do opt for dried fruit, just watch your serving size and aim for dried fruit without any added sweeteners or sugar. The ingredients should really only have one thing – the name of the dried fruit.
#2 Swap cereal and granola for whole oats
Cereal and granola – despite their glorified health status – usually have a good heaping of sugar in them. You can see how many tablespoons are in each serving by checking sugar on the nutrition facts panel. One teaspoon of sugar is equivalent to 4 grams. So if your cereal has 12 grams of sugar per serving, then it has 3 teaspoons of sugar in one serving size. Note: the serving size is indicated at the top of the nutrition panel. Generally, you’re aiming for 6 grams of sugar or less per serving.
Whole grain oats, on the other hand, only have 1 gram of sugar per 1/2 cup. Fix your oats up by adding cinnamon, berries, nuts, or get really crazy and add a dollop of peanut butter in there and stir! Note: using hint water to make your oats instead of water also adds a healthy, sugarless pinch of fruit flavor!
#3 Swap popsicles for banana pops
Upgrade your popsicles to banana pops for more nutrition and fiber. All you need to do is peel your banana (you can give it a little roll in natural nut butter, if you like), place a popsicle stick in it, put it on parchment paper, freeze for 24 hours and enjoy!
Want a smaller portion? No problem! Slice your banana into pieces and freeze. If you’re not a fan of banana, you can always opt for for frozen grapes or berries.
#4 Swap jam for real fruit
Hankering for a pb&j sandwich? Make it a pb and fruit sandwich! Just swap the jelly for 100% real fruit, like strawberry or apple slices. The fiber and water in the whole fruit will slow down digestion of the sugar in your body and allow your blood sugar to remain more stable. Plus, the whole fruit will be way more filling and nutrient dense.
#5 Swap flavored fruit yogurt for plain yogurt
Some fruit flavored yogurts have as much as 36 grams of sugar per serving – that’s 9 teaspoons of sugar – yikes! While yogurt does have natural sugar in it from lactose (the sugar found in milk), that natural sugar usually makes up only 13 grams of sugar per cup. That being said, if you’re trying to eat less sugar, opt for plain yogurt and sweeten it naturally with fiber-filled berries and fruit.
To opt for even less sugar (and more protein), choose plain greek yogurt.