Low-Sugar Alternatives to Your Favorite Foods
Trying to eat less sugar? We can help. We reviewed common high-sugar grocery items and found low-sugar food alternatives that still taste great.
It's no secret that many sports drinks are loaded with carbohydrates and sugar, but there are good alternatives to these high-sugar beverages. You can cut the sugar amount in half or even completely by making the right choice.
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Choose This: Gatorade G2 Low Calorie (7 g sugar per 8 ounces)
Not That: Gatorade (14 g sugar per 8 ounces)
Choose This: Powerade Zero (0 g sugar per 8 ounces)
Not That: Powerade (15 g sugar per 8 ounces)
Be sure to look at the nutrition facts label to compare products rather than relying on cues from the front of the packages. In this case, the regular Ocean Spray Light Cranberry Juice Cocktail has fewer grams of sugar than the Ocean Spray No-Sugar-Added Cranberry Juice.
Choose This: Ocean Spray Light Cranberry Juice Cocktail (10 g sugar per 8 ounces)
Not That: Ocean Spray No-Sugar-Added Cranberry Juice (35 g sugar per 8 ounces)
Remember that "light" doesn't mean "unlimited". There are still carbohydrates and sugar in the "light" versions of fruit juice and smoothies, but they are usually a better choice than the regular versions.
Choose This: Tropicana Light 'n Healthy Orange Juice Beverage (10 g sugar per 8 ounces)
Not That: Tropicana 100% Orange Juice (22 g sugar per 8 ounces)
With the wide variety of flavors and brands of yogurt available, it's simple to choose one that can easily fit into a diabetic meal plan. Just choose the "light" versions that are sweetened with artificial sweeteners. Or, choose plain yogurt and stir in cut-up fresh fruit.
Choose This: Yoplait Light Strawberry 'n Banana (14 g sugar per 6 ounces)
Not That: Yoplait Original Strawberry Banana (27 g sugar per 6 ounces)
Even though cinnamon waffles may look innocent on the outside, they have added sugar to complement the cinnamon flavor. Stick with the plain variety here and add a little ground cinnamon to your sugar-free or low-calorie syrup if you want to kick up the flavor.
Choose This: Eggo Plain Nutrigrain (3 g sugar per 2 waffles)
Not That: Eggo Cinnamon Nutrigrain (10 g sugar per 2 waffles)
Lighter, more airy cereals have fewer calories than denser, heavier cereals, which means you can eat a larger serving of the puffs and still have calories and carbohydrates to spare.
Choose This: Kashi 7 Whole Grain Puffs (0 g sugar per 1 cup)
Not That: Kashi GoLean Crunch (13 g sugar per 1 cup)
Jelly and Jam
Jams and jellies are meant to be used in small amounts. Still, even the thinnest layer of a regular jam can add a lot of calories and sugar to your diet. Opt for low-sugar or sugar-free varieties of your favorite flavor.
Choose This: Smuckers Sugar-Free Red Raspberry (0 g sugar per 1 tablespoon)
Not That: Smuckers Simply Fruit Red Raspberry (8 g sugar per 1 tablespoon)
Salad dressings can vary dramatically in the amount of calories, carbohydrates, and sugar they contain. Because there is no one-size-fits-all salad dressing, look at the nutrition label before making your choice.
Choose This: Wish Bone Light Balsamic & Basil (2 g sugar per 2 tablespoons)
Not That: Wish Bone Balsamic Italian (4 g sugar per 2 tablespoons)
Barbecue sauce can be packed with sugar, and there aren't many lower-sugar options on the market. But there are a few, and if your local grocery store doesn't stock any, talk to the manager to see if the store can start carrying one.
Choose This: Kraft Light Original Barbecue Sauce (3 g per 2 tablespoons)
Not That: Kraft Original Barbecue Sauce (10 g per 2 tablespoons)
Purchased pasta sauce makes for a convenient meal, but look closely at the nutrition labels before making your selection as many of them contain added sugar. Choose those with the least amount of carbohydrates and sugar.
Choose This: Newman's Own Roasted Garlic & Peppers (6 g sugar per 1/2 cup)
Not That: Newman's Own Marinara (11 g sugar per 1/2 cup)
It may be tempting to buy canned tomato products that are already flavored, but it's best to stick with the plain varieties and stir in your favorite herb blend. You'll not only save on sugar, but the sodium will be much less as well.
Choose This: Del Monte Diced Tomatoes (4 g sugar per 1/2 cup)
Not That: Del Monte Diced Tomatoes with Basil, Garlic, and Oregano (8 g sugar per 1/2 cup)
When you're in a pinch and need to rely on a purchased meat marinade, look at the labels carefully to choose the flavor that is lowest in sugar.
Choose This: KC Masterpiece Garlic Balsamic Marinade (3 g sugar per 1 tablespoon)
Not That: KC Masterpiece Steakhouse Marinade (6 g sugar per 1 tablespoon)
Nuts have proven themselves as nutrition powerhouses, but be leery of nuts that are flavored or glazed. They can have significantly more sugar and carbohydrates.
Choose This: Planter's Dry Roasted Peanuts (2 g sugar per 1 ounce)
Not That: Planter's Honey Roasted Peanuts (4 g sugar per 1 ounce)
Applesauce is a favorite of kids and adults alike. Stick with the unsweetened variety, which is widely available.
Choose This: Musselman's Unsweetened Apple Sauce (8 g sugar per 1/2 cup)
Not That: Musselman's Apple Sauce (18 g sugar per 1/2 cup)
The meat counter is not immune to convenience products that are full of added sugar and sodium. The best bet is to purchase plain meat and prepare a simple marinade or sauce to go with it.
Choose This: Hormel Pork Center Cut Loin Filet (0 g sugar per 4 ounces)
Not That: Hormel Pork Center Cut Loin Filet Honey Mustard or Teriyaki (4 g sugar per 4 ounces)