15 Smart Swaps To Decrease Your Sugar Intake
If you read my blog about sugar and being addicted to sugar, then you’re super prepared for this blog. If not, jump over to read that blog before reading this one - this will make a lot more sense!
Consider making the following healthier everyday swaps and, once again, see how many grams of sugar you are eating. Swapping to drinks and food that say “diet” or “low fat” or “made with Splenda” are NOT a "smart swap." Trust me when I say that you are harming yourself big time with diet sodas and foods/drinks sweetened with Splenda, Equal, or Sweet & Low. They are filled with chemicals that are equal to, if not worse than, drinking the real sugar filled drink.
CEREAL: Let’s be honest, these cereals are marketed towards kids. They have cartoons on them, and they have fun shapes! Every kid wants them. But, with chemicals, high fructose corn syrup, food coloring and lots of sugar, the average bowl of kids sugar cereal contains 12g of sugar and not much good-for-you nutrition. That is just in 3/4 cup. According to a study done on Consumer Reports, 92% over-poured compared to the recommended serving size. Chances are, you might be over pouring, too. Most people pour between 1-2 cups which is 16g to 32g of sugar. I took a poll on my Instagram and, after asking a countless number of people, only one person said that they measure and their reasoning was because of the sugar. I didn’t even bring the sugar part up!
SMART SWAP: Love Grown Foods makes kid-friendly cereals that are fruity or chocolatey. They are packed with protein as they are made from beans, have minimal ingredients and low sugar - only 7g per serving. They also contain fiber from the beans which will leave you (or your children) fuller and satisfied. They make cereal in fun shapes indulging Bats & Boos at Halloween time, as well as many other different tasty, amazing cereals! Plus, they are gluten-free and do not contain corn.
OATMEAL: Think oatmeal is healthy? Well it certainly can be, although most contain lots of added sugar. A popular mainstream oatmeal in Maple & Brown Sugar contains 14g sugar and 4g protein. Too much sugar, lots of carbs and not enough protein.
SMART SWAP: Wild Friends just launched a brand new Nut Butter Oat Cups that contain no added sugar. There are a few grams of sugar (from honey) that are in the nut butters that come with the container. There are only 4g of sugar in the entire cup, plus there are 13-14g of protein and they are made with simple, clean ingredients. And - you are getting some good quality heathy fats from the nut butters. Hooray!
JUICE: Many drink a glass of of orange juice or apple juice in the morning. While freshly squeezed juice of any kind is so tasty, it contains more sugar than you should have in an entire day. Say what? Yup! It’s true! Just because it’s natural, fruit sugars, you should still mind the amount you are consuming. Random: My mom used to water-down apple juice for me as a kid. 1/4 apple juice and 3/4 water. I’m grateful she did. Juice is much too sweet for me now as an adult because of what my mom did - thankfully. One glass (12oz) of freshly squeezed orange juice contains 31g of sugar. Yowza!
SMART SWAP: H20! How about drinking some good-for-you, hydrating, 0g sugar water in the morning. Consider adding some orange slices or mandarins to your water to add some sweetness and flavor. H20 is a necessity and most people don’t drink enough, as it is. It’s important to stay hydrated always. You can see more ways to drink H20, here.
PUMPKIN SPICE LATTE: (You can insert Mocha or sugary sweetened coffee drink here). Flavored lattes at Starbucks (or any coffee bar) contain ridiculous amounts of sugar. There are so many reasons why you should swap this out. With 50g of sugar in a Grande (medium), some people drink more than 1 per day. That is enough sugar for 2 days! Not only do they have lots of sugar, they also contain chemicals, fake colorings and unnecessary ingredients.
SMART SWAP: You could make THIS RECIPE at home which will save you time, money, sugar and health problems. Instead of drinking 50g of sugar in a Grande PSL from Starbucks, you could make one at home that contains 3g-8g of sugar (no cane sugar). Plus it tastes delicious, too and doesn’t contain chemicals or food colorings. Yay!
PROTEIN BARS: Cliff Bar is a popular protein bar that most people eat and are familiar with. Did you know that it contains 21g of sugar and only 9g of protein? These bars are marketed as “healthy” and nutritious. Let’s be honest - they taste good (I used to love them in high school), and they really aren’t that healthy for you. While you might think they are a healthier option than a candy bar, they do contain the exact same amount of sugar. You have been fooled for years!
SMART SWAP: Square Organics just launched brand new Protein Crisp Bars that are very good. My husband and I devour them! They have minimal ingredients and no cane sugar, which is great for me! There are also only 9g of sugar (no cane sugar), and they do contain 10g of protein as well. They come in a few flavors and are a much healthier choice than the average protein bar out there. There are many “healthy” protein bars marketed right now… some of which I love, but can’t eat often at all, because they contain too much sugar. Read the labels and you can see all the sugar for yourself! Also, the other smart swap would be the “kid size” bars. Perfect Bar makes minis, which we love, and so does RX Bar! You can use code KRYSTENSKITCHEN for 20% off your order at www.SquareOrganics.com - My favorite is the Vanilla Cashew Crisp!
SODA: This is the single most consumed sugar in the USA. Part of me still wonders why people drink so much soda or even just soda at all. Don’t get me wrong, when I gave up diet soda over 10 years ago (and I didn’t drink it often), I still missed carbonation. You don’t have to give up drinking soda all together, just choose a different soda to drink. Each soda, on average, contains 40g sugar. That is well over the amount you should have in a day… it’s more like what you should have in 2 days! The average person drinks 2.5 cans of soda a day. That is roughly 100g of sugar just in soda. Whether diet or not, both are very unhealthy for you. Make the swap!
Here are the most popular sodas along with their deathly amount of sugar.
Coke has 39g
Sprite has 38g
7up has 38g
Pepsi has 36g
Mt. Dew has 46g
Dads Root Beer has 42g
SMART SWAP: Zevia makes an incredible line of sodas that contain 0g of sugar because they use stevia rather than cane sugar. Plus there are no chemicals or added colors. They have an alternative to all of the popular sodas that everyone loves: Dr. Zevia, Mountain Zevia, Cherry Cola, Ginger Ale, Ginger Root Beer, Grape Soda, Strawberry Soda, Lemon Lime, Grapefruit Soda and more. Plus, they have a new line of mixers: Ginger Beer, Tonic Water and Dry Lemon Lime. Made with natural ingredients and 0 sugars, this is a must-swap item. It will eliminate a lot of the sugar you consume on a daily basis. It is slightly more expensive than regular sodas, but once again, this is your health. Either drink Zevia or eliminate soda all together. Drinking regular soda because it’s cheaper isn’t a valid argument.
COOKIES: Chips Ahoy! is a very popular chocolate chip cookie company that I think most of us grew up with and love! It’s also filled with lots of sugar. Try 21g for one serving of 3 cookies. It also has many ingredients that are not so good for you. Of course, no one has only 3 cookies! Have you ever had just 3? Didn’t think so! I am guilty of it, too! These cookies are commonly purchased for snacking, lunch desserts or after-dinner snacking. Most ignore the serving size and that quickly increases the sugar intake.
SMART SWAP: Simple Mills has made a wonderful line of cookies that come in 4 flavors: Chocolate Chip, Double Chocolate Chip, Pecan and Cinnamon. They are all made with a short list of simple ingredients that you can pronounce, and they are grain-free and gluten-free. One serving contains only 6g of sugar and they taste way better than Chips Ahoy!
LEMONADE: Lemonade is a popular drink that people of all ages love. While it is refreshing on a hot day or with a meal, it’s very, very high in sugar! Would you believe that it has more sugar than soda? You wouldn’t? Hmmm, well, a glass of Minute Maid Lemonade (12oz) contains 43g of sugar. YIKES! Drinking sugary drinks is a massive problem in our country. Like soda, most go for a few refills and can’t get enough. How many refills do you get at dinner?
SMART SWAP: MOCU Health makes a delicious Strawberry Lemonade that is sweetened with stevia. It comes in a powdered form, and you can add it to a glass of water, or even a water bottle, and stir for a refreshing drink. It also has superfoods in it (that you cannot taste) — making it a much healthier option than regular lemonade. You can also get this awesome drink mix with chia seeds in it, which adds fiber, as well as omega 3s fatty acids, antioxidants, iron, and calcium to it. Use code KRYSTENSKITCHEN to get 30% off of anything from MOCU's website.
ENERGY DRINK: Okay, this is a doozy. Energy drinks are not only filled with lots of sugar, they are jam-packed with caffeine. Having one of the two is enough, but put them together and it can mess with your body and even your heart! And then people choose to add alcohol to the mix, and that’s just a recipe for disaster. Red Bull contains 80mg of caffeine (which is equivalent to a cup of black coffee) and there are 27g of sugar. YIKES! A Monster Energy Drink contains 160mg of caffeine (twice as much as a cup of black coffee) and has 54g of sugar. Every now and then you need some caffeine, but please don’t drink this crap!
SMART SWAP: Zevia launched their Energy line with 4 flavors: Raspberry Lime, Grapefruit, Mango Ginger and Kola. All of these energy drinks contain 0g of sugar as they are sweetened with stevia. They are sugar free, clean in color, gluten-free, non-GMO, kosher and vegan. They contain 0 calories and 120mg of caffeine. They have a very short list of ingredients and will give you the clean energy you deserve without the sugar and artificial ingredients.
ICE CREAM: Eating ice cream is very common after dinner. With so many different flavors, from so many different companies, it basically takes up a whole frozen aisle at the grocery story. Ice cream does contains lots of sugar, and, once again, most people avoid the recommended serving size. Breyers Vanilla Ice Cream with 1/2 cup serving size of plain vanilla is 61g of sugar. That is without any toppings, or goodies mixed in. That’s a lot of sugar to end your day with!
SMART SWAP: There are a few favorite frozen desserts that I love. Nada Moo is a gluten-free, vegan ice cream that makes all kinds of delicious flavors. But let’s just compare vanilla to vanilla. Their Vanilla ice cream has only 8g of sugar per serving (1/2 a cup)! It’s also organic and nonGMO! You could also make your own Mint Chip Ice Cream in the blender with THIS recipe. It’s a great way to sneak in veggies, and it tastes just like the real thing!
CANDY: Candy is everywhere right now due to Halloween and with the Holidays coming up. It’s okay to splurge, however, it’s important to be mindful of how much sugar you are eating. A Reese’s cup contains 11g of sugar and practically no nutrition. You might be getting a little protein from the pesticide filled peanuts in your Reeses, but it’s mostly sugar, friends! 1 package of Twix bars contains 28g of sugar! YIKES! With just one serving of mainstream gummy bears comes 18g of sugar. Who really counts out 17 gummy bears? And… that’s basically 1g of sugar per bear! WOW!
SMART SWAP: If you wanted a delicious, low-carb, lower-in-sugar-but-packed-with-fiber-and-good-for-you-ingredient Twix Recipe or Gummy Bear recipe then keep reading. Sure, these take more time to make than buying a package of candy, but they are much better for you. You can make your own Twix with just a handful of ingredients, and you can even get the kids involved as it is very easy to do. See my Twix Recipe, here. Making gummy bears is pretty tedious, but it’s easy to do. You can make RED, GREEN, BLUE AND YELLOW gummy bears with my recipes. Click on one of the colors to see the recipe and you will see that there are only 3g of sugar in 25 bears! Plus, there are very hidden superfoods and other nutritious ingredients that everyone will love.
HOT CHOCOLATE: Whether making your own or buying a hot chocolate at your local coffee shop, you are once again drinking your sugar, and that is an easy way to forget how much sugar you are consuming. In a kid’s size (smaller than the Small) hot chocolate at Starbucks there are 22g of sugar, and in a Grande (medium) there are 41g of sugar. Who doesn’t loves a nice hot cup of hot chocolate during the winter months? It’s cozy to sit by the fire … or TV (lol) when it’s cold outside and get warm with some hot chocolate. Drinking just one of these kid sized hot chocolates a day put you over your limit!
SMART SWAP: Consider one of the following hot chocolate options. One contains collagen (an amazing superfood that also offers protein) that you can read about here, and the other contains powerful superfoods/adaptogens that are so good for you, you can read more about that one, here. They are both easy to make by simply mixing with hot water or hot milk of your choice. Not only are you able to indulge in a cup of hot chocolate, but you could drink it every single day and still stay under your recommended sugar intake. BOOM! How do I know this? Because my husband and I drink them very often and don’t even get close to our recommended sugar intake limit. One serving of Hot Chocolate with Collagen contains 8g of sugar per serving, and one serving of the Hot Chocolate with Superfoods contains 2g of sugar. Might want to reconsider that Mermaid (Starbucks) Hot Chocolate you are giving your kiddos, too! Both of these hot chocolates are kid-friendly!
You can use KRYSTENDTMT at checkout on EatingEVOLVED's website for the Hot Chocolate with Collagen which will be back in stock sometime this November. You will receive a free mini chocolate surprise with your order.
You can use KRYSTENSKITCHEN for a discount on the Hot Chocolate with Superfoods.
FRUIT: Fruit isn’t a bad thing, but there is a lot of sugar in fruit that most people do not give a second thought to. Putting 2 frozen bananas in your smoothie can add an extra 25g of sugar to your “healthy smoothie,” and that doesn’t take into consideration any other fruit you eat during the day. Try snacking on less fruits and eat more veggies.
SMART SWAP: Once again, don’t cut out all fruit, just be mindful of the (natural) sugar in the fruits you are eating. If you are eating fruit all day, drinking all fruit smoothies or eating 2 bananas a day, it adds up. Try these fruits that are lower in sugar than others: apricots, blackberries, kiwi, raspberries, and strawberries. Eat an apple, not 3. Make sense? Be mindful. (photo and more info about these low sugar fruits from Delicious Living, here)
CHOCOLATE: I grew up in San Francisco, so my first choice in chocolate, naturally, was Ghirardelli, but let’s go with a more commonly eaten chocolate bar. In a 1.55oz bar of Hershey’s Chocolate there is a whole lotta sugar. There are 24g of sugar, in fact! That is 1 whole day’s worth of sugar in one bar of chocolate that most people can eat in one sitting at the movie theater.
SMART SWAP: EatingEVOLVED makes delicious primal (paleo) chocolate bars with super clean ingredients and no cane sugar. Their newest chocolate bar is Cashew Milk Chocolate, and 1.5 oz of their chocolate (to compare to 1.55 oz of Hershey’s) has only 10g of sugar. That is a good amount of sugar you are eliminating just by swapping chocolate. They also make other Chocolate bars that are made with good, quality chocolate, minimal ingredients and that are organic. No cane sugar here! You can also use “KRYSTENDTMT” at checkout on EatingEVOLVED’s website for a free mini chocolatey gift with purchase. Check out their line of Chocolates, here.
Consider less fruit and more vegetables. Don’t worry! If you don’t like kale, you don’t have to add kale to your smoothie, but try adding some frozen zucchini to your smoothie. It won’t add any extra sugar (like bananas do), but will thicken up your smoothie (like bananas do) and replace the need for ice. I promise you won’t taste any zucchini in your smoothie. If you love the taste of bananas like I do, then just add a bite size piece of frozen banana to add some flavor. Add superfoods like maca powder, ashwaganda, chaga, hemp seeds and flax seed meal. Add some healthy fats like frozen avocado, MCT oil, and nut butter. Make sure you add protein powder that isn’t filled with sugar and has minimal ingredients.
I love Nuzest Clean Lean Protein Powder because it is low in carbs (has like 1g per serving), has no sugar, is Paleo friendly, has all 9 essential amino acids, is plant based, is vegan, grain free and very tasty! You can use this code to save 15% and get free shipping: “KRYSTENSKITCHEN” - I like the Chocolate… or all of them, really!
Consider these smart swaps: see how you feel. Try it for more than one day. You don’t have to swap everything at once, you very well could, but you do not have to stress yourself out with that. It’s a lot, I know. It’s a big adjustment, but once again think about how much sugar you are really eating every single day. How many Pumpkin Spice Lattes are you drinking in a week? If you’re drinking one PSL per day in one 7-day week that is the amount of sugar you should have in 19 days! That doesn’t include any other sugar you might be eating.
I know it’s a lot to think about, but do yourself a favor and don’t let another day go by without doing what you can to pull back on how much sugar you are eating and feeding your children!
I am not here to preach at you but simply try to educate you with some information that you may not be aware of.
I am also not a doctor nor am I a mathematician, but I can add grams of sugar, and I know you can, too. Happy swapping, friends!