There are plenty of seemingly healthy foods that PACK in the sugar. I chose 6 of what I see the most when I meet with clients. I literally cannot imagine eating 4 or even 2 teaspoons of sugar straight, can you? But when you take a good look - that's what is hiding in your food!
Yogurt with fruit (up to 19g per cup) – 4.75 teaspoons of sugar
Granola bars (up to 9g per bar) – 2.25 teaspoons of sugar
Dried cranberries (up to 29g in a handful) – 7.25 teaspoons of sugar
Low fat salad dressing (up to 6g in 2T) – 1.5 teaspoons of sugar
Gatorade – 52g – 12 teaspoons of sugar
Tomato Sauce – 10g (1/2 cup) – 2.5 teaspoons of sugar
Ok, so what should I have in place of these high sugar items?! Easy.
Yogurt? Though I also think you should avoid dairy – you can find dairy and non-dairy versions that are unsweetened. I particularly like coconut yogurt and will use it to cream up a savory dish, add it to my smoothies, or top it with granola. If it’s not sweet enough for you – you can sweeten it yourself with one of the better sweeteners below.
Granola bars? Look for brands without added sugar or make your own granola. Some brands will use sweeteners that have added minerals or benefits – like dates or raw honey.
Dried cranberries? Unfortunately, dried cranberries have sugar added to them! (So unnecessary!) Instead, look for unsweetened cherries (they have these at Trader Joe’s) or goji berries, or cranberries that are sweetened with apple juice instead of sugar.
Low fat salad dressing? Make your own dressing or just use raw apple cider vinegar and olive oil. Skip the sugar, get healthy fat from the olive oil and beneficial bacteria from the vinegar.
Gatorade? Replace your electrolytes after a workout with water or coconut water mixed with lemon and sea salt. Need some more flavor? Add unsweetened cranberry or cherry concentrate.
Tomato Sauce? Opt for organic tomato sauces that don’t add sugar, or make your own.
As far as “better” plain ol' sweeteners go – I like to look for items that include something beneficial, like vitamins or minerals. When I feel like making cookies or sweetening my tea, here are my favorites:
Grade A/B pure maple syrup – excellent source of manganese, riboflavin, zinc
Raw honey – antibacterial, antiviral, antifungal, antioxidant, and anti-inflammatory
Dates – magnesium and potassium
Stevia – low in calories, very concentrated (so a little goes a long way), better for diabetics, doesn’t promote candida growth (which sugar does)
And finally – fruit! Bananas, berries, green apples…all work great to sweeten the things you are making.
What about Splenda? Sweet ‘n Low? Equal? No. Chemicals. Bad. Bad. Bad. That’s all I have to say here. You’re better off with sugar! :)