Insider’s Viewpoint: How To Cut Added Sugars by Eating Fruit & Veggies Instead
The sweet flavor of sugar truly brings sensory pleasure to the art of eating. Unfortunately, many foods that provide the sensation of sweet flavor often come with very few nutrients other than carbohydrate in the form of added sugar. But not fruits and vegetables!
Sweeet Fruits & Veggies
The sweet tasting morsels that are fruits and vegetables provide more than simply flavor. They offer an array of nutritional benefits from fiber and water to vitamins and minerals— key compounds to warding off illness and keeping your body feeling and performing its best. You may be thinking, but what about their sugar content, isn’t sugar bad for your health? Ask any registered dietitian nutritionist and we’ll all confirm that the naturally occurring sugar, or intrinsic sugar, coming from the fruits and vegetables you eat are not the sugars that concern us.
Unless you are diabetic and need to count carbohydrates, the average person should not be limiting her/his fruit and vegetable intake due to fear of eating too much sugar. If anything, we should all be aiming to eat more!
About Added Sugars
Added sugars are typically found in flavored yogurts, ice cream, sugary beverages, candy, chocolate and baked goods. They come in many forms from cane sugar and honey to agave and coconut sugar, and their main trait is that they are added during the cooking process for enhancing flavor and/or functionality of a recipe.
Added sugars have been spotlighted as a category to limit in your meal plan from organizations like the American Heart Association, U.S. Department of Agriculture and World Health Organization due to their suspected impact on weight management and subsequently health conditions such as heart disease and diabetes.
How To Limit Your Added Sugar Intake
The best way to limit your added sugars is to utilize fruits and vegetables for their sweet flavor in recipes. For example, if yogurt is your go-to afternoon snack of choice, swap out sugar-sweetened versions with plain yogurt mixed with chopped strawberries or whole raspberries. In recipes, go a step further and combine your fruit and vegetables with spices that enhance sweetness such as cinnamon, cardamom and clove.
4 Tasty Sugar Swaps
- PB&J. Hold the jelly and add dried fruit like raisins and chopped dried plums.
- Morning Oatmeal. Pass on sugar-sweetened packets and combine ½-cup rolled oats with mashed banana, frozen blueberries, sliced almonds, low-fat milk and plenty of ground cinnamon.
- Pancakes. Stir in pumpkin, sliced bananas, nutmeg and cinnamon.
- Ice Pops. Make smoothie pops by blending 100% orange juice, berries, avocado and mango and freezing in a pop mold.
Check out the Fruit & Veggie Recipes section of this website for more naturally sweet recipes.
Carrie Taylor, RDN, LDN
Lead Registered Dietitian for the Living Well Eating Smart Program
Big Y Foods