This week I’m celebrating a milestone – I’ve made it more than halfway through sugar free January!
I have to admit, I launched into my challenge of learning to live life sugar free kind of arrogantly. I didn’t even prep my food cupboards at the beginning of the month (in hindsight, this was a mistake!)
Assuming I’d only really have to cut out chocolate, cookies and cake, and knowing I don’t eat too many of those foods anyway, I felt pretty confident that I’d get through the challenge successfully. Ohhh how wrong I was.
I quickly found added sugar in pretty much everything I was eating – even the ‘healthy’ stuff. Fat free natural yoghurt? Added sugar. Dried fruit? Ridiculous amounts of added sugar. Even most crisps have the vague term ‘flavourings’ on their ingredients list.
So, two and a half weeks into my challenge – having learned from many-a failure – I thought I’d bring you some sugar free food swaps.These foods all fast replaced their sugary equivalents as regulars on my shopping list. If you’re thinking about learning to live life sugar free too, I’m hoping this list will help.
Swap fat free natural yoghurt for…
Full fat natural yoghurt. That’s right. Full fat.
Compare the sugar content in fat free natural yoghurt to that of a full fat version, and you’ll see a noticeable difference. Turns out fat free food isn’t as tasty without a bit of sugar added! And, since it’s added sugar we’re swapping out here, I’ve been choosing full fat over fat free every time (surprisingly, my waistline isn’t upset about it either!)
So far, Fage Total greek yoghurt is the only full fat natural yoghurt brand I can find in my supermarket. Do you know of any others?
Swap dried fruit for…
No added sugar dried fruit.
When I checked the backs of my dried fruit packets, I was shocked to see that they contained added sugar, whacking up their sugar content to more than 20% per 30g serving. Even for food with all-natural sugars, I’ve been trying to stick to under 5% per 100g. So put simply, that’s a lot.
Again, Biona Organic is the only brand of no added sugar dried fruit I’ve found in shops so far, although I’m sure there’s more.
Swap hot chocolate for…
Raw cacao powder (or 100% raw cocoa if you can’t find cacao in the shops).
Cacao contains less than 1% sugar – and tons of antioxidants – so this is a great food swap. It tastes a little bitter at first, but you know what? This drink is fast becoming my favourite winter evening treat.
Mix with unsweetened almond milk to add a little extra flavour, or try regular dairy milk with a teaspoon of coconut oil. Speaking of which…
Swap chocolate/biscuits/sweetener for…
Coconut oil. Trust me, it tastes delicious (and not at all like olive oil!)
Sneak a teaspoonful after lunch to curb afternoon sugar cravings, or blend a dash of it into your coffee. If you do choose to drink this with your morning pick-me-up, be sure to whizz it in a blender first – if you don’t it’ll float there like a film on top. Try the Lucy Bee raw coconut oil brand. It’s available in supermarkets, plus it’s organic and Fair trade.
I’m also hearing good things about medjool dates for satisfying the sweet tooth, although I’ve yet to try these out for size. Are they a snack you’ve eaten before?
Swap granola for…
A bowl of overnight oats.
I am the biggest fan of overnight oats. They’re easy to make (oats, milk, yoghurt – done!) and full of nutritional goodness. Plus, you only need some cinnamon or a dollop of nut butter to sweeten them up.
Try my cinnamon and cherry overnight oats recipe for a tasty, sugar free breakfast fix.
Swap flavoured crisps for…
A lot of my favourite crisps have added sugar or flavourings, so these bad boys have been amazing keeping the crisp cravings at bay. Just be sure to check the back of each packet when choosing a flavour!
Swap buttered toast for…
Nut butter or avocado.
I’ve noticed certain fat free spreads do contain added sugar, although admittedly there are those that don’t. So, while I wouldn’t suggest subbing almond butter or avocado for dairy spread in a cake recipe, they’re perfect sugar swaps for your morning toast – although you’ll probably need to make your own bread to keep it truly sugar free.
Try my Mexican-inspired avocado on toast if you like food with a bit of a kick!
Still craving a cookie?
What’s on your sugar free food swaps list?