5 Simple Swaps to Slash the Sugar in Your Diet

Cutting down on sugar doesn't have to mean cooking special foods and reading labels all day. Try these simple swaps to satisfy your cravings easily without racking up the sweetness!

If you are like me, a sweet tooth runs much of your decision making at meal times. I discovered just how true this was when I tried Whole30, a diet that cuts out all refined sugar. What I quickly realized was that these sugars show up in everything – I’m serious, so many products contain sugar that you might not have known!

This isn’t to say that you need to scrupulously read every label to weed out the hidden sugars. A healthy diet can contain sugar, for sure - hello, fruit! But if you are interested in cutting down sugar a little (or a lot!) here are some simple substitutes that can make your total intake a lot lower!

Instead of: Cola

Try: Seltzer/Flavored Club Soda

You save 39 grams of sugar. 

Seltzer and flavored club sodas like La Croix are interesting because they don’t have the sugar of most sodas or the artificial sweeteners of diet versions, instead livening up water with bubbles and flavor. It’s a nice choice to make sure that you are not imbibing sweetness just to get a little drink variety!

Instead of: Traditional Bratwurst

Try: Chicken and Apple Sausage

You save 2 grams of sugar. 

Many varieties of sausages and processed meats have sugar added. For example, that’s what gives breakfast sausage that characteristic brown crispness on the griddle. So if you are looking to cut added sugars or replace them with the natural sugars from fruit, chicken and apple sausage cuts some sugars and keeps the sausage flavorful by mixing in bits of apple!

Instead of: Cake

Try: Zucchini Bread

You replace refined sucrose with natural fruit sugars.

If you substitute applesauce and use zucchini as part of the moisture and heft of a sweet bread, you can have a really wonderful treat without the intense sweetness or refined sugar of cake. I’ve seen some truly decadent recipes that even add a swirl of cream cheese frosting, which can be used to add richness without getting up to the level of inches of cake frosting.

Instead of: A Milkshake

Try: A Smoothie 

You replace refined sugars with natural fruit sugars and reduce overall sugar.

Milkshakes are delicious, but an even more satisfying and thirst-quenching alternative involves ice, fruit, and perhaps some yogurt or a squirt of honey. Smoothies have so much nutrition and even when it has natural sugars, all of the vitamins and minerals make it a good pre- or post-workout food to replenish you! If you want to cut overall sugar, you can also opt for a smoothie that uses more vegetables, like kale or spinach, mixed in with the fruit.

Instead of: A Granola Bar

Try: A Handful of Nuts

You save 5-15 grams of sugar.

We think of granola bars as healthy, but they’re often chock-full of added sugars. Get the same nutty, crunchy satisfaction with a handful of almonds, cashews, or walnuts. It’ll taste great, cut the sugar, and provide you with much more protein to keep you fuller longer.

Make it WayBetter

Even if you love sweet things, are there any non-sweet choices you also enjoy that you can substitute half the time? I eventually switched to black coffee by only adding cream and sugar half as often, then only half as much as that, and then not at all!