Sweet Swaps—13 Healthy Sugar Swaps RDs Recommend


Sugarbreak Editorial

Looking to have your cake and eat it too? Stick around, you’re in for a treat. When it comes to eating less sugar, our approach is realistic, not restrictive. We’re all about better-for-you alternatives that still feel indulgent, so you can continue living your sweet life without compromise.

Rather than quitting sugar cold turkey, we suggest choosing smarter options that still hit the spot. As a general rule of thumb, focus on whole foods over packaged foods, complex carbs over simple & refined ones, good sources of fiber (2.5g per serving or more), and less added sugar.

To get the smart swap scoop on expert recommendations, we went straight to the source: Sugarbreak scientific advisor Carlyn Rosenbum, MS, RD, CLC. As the founder and CEO of MTHR Nutrition, a concierge nutrition counseling center for women, Carlyn takes a science-based and personalized approach to health. She agrees, whether you’re watching your A1c and blood glucose levels or looking to improve your overall health, we can all use a little less sugar.  

Now, let’s dive into it - here are 13 RD Approved healthy alternatives you can reach for, use, cook with, and indulge in without added/excess sugar.

Take A Sugar Break, But Keep It Sweet With These Smart Swaps. 

  1. Replace Flavored Yogurt for Plain Greek Yogurt & Fresh Fruit — Vegan? Try homemade chia pudding with your plant-based milk of choice. Speaking of milk, be sure to check the ingredients for hidden sugars.
  2. Swap Soda for Fruit-Infused Sparkling Water — You’ll get the bubbles, sweet flavors, and hydration. Win-win! 
  3. DitchStore-Bought Salad Dressing for Olive Oil with Lemon Juice or Another Homemade Version — It’s cheaper, healthier, and so easy that you’ll be excited to cross dressing off your shopping list.
  4. Choose Dates Stuffed with Cashew Butter Instead of Candy Bars — Enjoy them as is, or pair with nut butter for a powerful and lasting energy boost. If you need the pop-ability of candy, try making date balls.   
  5. Pick 40% Dark Chocolate Over Milk Chocolate — With less sugar and fillers, it has more room for all of those antioxidants. 
  6. Opt for No-Sugar Added Coconut Milk vs. Coffee Creamer — Store-bought creamers are delicious, but have a ton of hidden sugar. If you want creamier coffee, try no-sugar added coconut milk! 
  7. Replace Sugar, Honey, Agave & Maple Syrup with a 0 Calorie, Natural Sweetener (like Stevia or Monk Fruit) — The easiest swap of all. It involves a quick search for ratios, but can be used in everything from coffee to baking. 
  8. Ditch Store-Bought Granola Bars for Homemade Fruit & Nut Trail Mix — Store-bought granola bars are delicious, but full of hidden sugars. If you DIY it, you can recreate your favorite flavors using naturally sweet ingredients. Pro Tip: Be sure to use lightly salted nuts.
  9. Replace Sugary Cereal with Plain Oatmeal & Fruit — Fiber-rich and filling for hours, this is the breakfast of no-sugar champions. Use coconut milk for an extra creamy texture and opt for fresh, seasonal fruit when possible.
  10. Use Diced Tomatoes instead of Store-Bought Tomato Sauce — Savory sauces are sweeter than you think, but this pasta night hack keeps it clean and is easier than it seems. 
  11. Substitute Replace White Flour with Almond or Coconut Flour for Baking — Keep in mind that you’ll need to consider ratios because this isn’t a 1:1 swap. However, you can replace at least part of your plain white flour for these fiber and nutrient rich options! 
  12. Try Frozen Chocolate-Dipped Banana Bites Instead of Ice Cream — You get the best of both worlds on this one. It’s similar enough to satisfy the craving, but without the added sugar and carbs. You can thank us later!
  13. Swap Sugary Cocktails for Low Sugar Beverages (like Dry Wines or Spirits with Seltzer & Bitters) — A sweet and subtle trade. In addition to the health & weight management benefits, less sugar = less hangover. Check out our favorite low-sugar options here, bottoms up! 

Making small, everyday changes is the first step to a sugar break(up). After all, the easiest way to create healthy habits is out of familiar patterns, and the results will keep you motivated. From younger looking skin to boosted immunity & energy, better sleep & mood, decreased inflammation & brain fog, weight loss and reduced risk for diabetes, you’ll quickly see the benefits of consuming less added sugar. Remember that preparation is key for healthy choices; Use the smart swap mentality throughout your kitchen to set yourself up for success. Our final piece of advice? Go easy on yourself and stay sweet!

Looking for a little extra help when it comes to sugar temptations and healthy blood glucose levels? Check out our Resist strips to kick cravings, Stabilize to combat post-meal spikes, and Reduce to promote healthy insulin production.