We (the societal “we,” of course) eat way too much sugar. Science (aka the American Heart Association) says women should have no more than 25 grams of added sugar, while men get no more than 36 grams a day.
So if you’re looking for some low-sugar snacks that don’t completely suck and that actually satisfies your cravings … well, here are a few of our top picks.
Lightly Sweetened Nuts
Look, we love a good handful of salted peanuts or cashews post-workout. But after a while …. Ugh. That gets boring. Mix it up with some flavor. You get a hint of sweet plus all the protein. Our picks include the Wasabi Soy and the Thai Sweet Chili Almonds from Blue Diamond—only 2 grams of sugar in each serving of both … and totally addictive.
Spicy Maple Popcorn
Kettle corn is amazing, sure. But it’s loaded with sugar, which is why it tastes so good. But you don’t have to sacrifice taste, crunch … or the occasional piece of kernel that gets stuck in your throat and gives you a coughing fit. This spicy maple popcorn from Macheesmo hits all the right notes for us. Butter? Check! Syrup? Check! Cayenne? Check. Only 4.8 grams of sugar? Hell yes. You could also go with plain-old air-popped popcorn, too. But why not be a little more extra with your stove-top popcorn?
Start with a base of Greek yogurt and add low-sugar mix-ins. We love adding in things like pumpkin puree, a little cinnamon, nutmeg and a touch of vanilla extract for something that feels and tastes more indulgent than it actually is. Drizzle in just a touch of honey or other sweetener (like Swerve) for something a little more sugary tasting. (Psst, our fave Greek yogurt is FAGE 2% or 4% milkfat; it’s creamy and less tart than some of the other brands.)
Country Archer Meat Snacks
C’mon, you knew you weren’t going to get through this post without us mentioning beef or turkey meat snacks. But that’s because our Jalapeno Beef and Rosemary Turkey sticks have zero grams of sugar. Our Original Jerky? Five grams of sugar per serving. Plus, all the protein so you actually feel like you just ate something (super delicious).
Here’s the disclaimer on fruit: A lot of it has too much sugar in it, so maybe skip the banana, and opt for fruits that won’t spike your blood sugar. That means berries are your best bet. Raspberries have 5 grams of sugar in an entire cup. Strawberries and blackberries have about 3.5 for a half-cup. Fruit is perfect to eat alone, add to yogurt or incorporate into your smoothie.
No sugar added, and they fill you up. Cheese sticks are perfect to add to any meal or snack. Plus they travel well. We love the zestiness of the Sargento Colby-Pepper Jack sticks and the Natural Vermont Sharp White Cheddar.
Crunchy Kale & Coconut Bowl
Is there anything more #firstworld than kale? We’re here to tell you that this hybrid recipe from Joy the Baker (adapted from Shutterbean and Super Natural Every Day) is legit delish. Toss kale leaves and large, unsweetened coconut flakes in a blend of oil, soy sauce and sriracha, and roast. Then add the cooked kale to a bowl of farro—or not. The texture of the dish is ah-mazing. We don’t have exact sugar content for this, but the organic farro we use has 0 sugar, and everything else is either low or no sugar, too. Use as a snack or a meal—or both in one day.
Good Sugar vs. Bad Sugar
We could bore you with stats here, but you know the drill: Good sugar comes from natural sources and whole, unprocessed foods. Bad sugar is included in all those processed things. So read your labels, and choose responsibly. For more on the benefits of a low-sugar diet, check out our post here. You can also find our best ideas for grab-and-go snacks.