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6 easy high-sugar swaps

high sugar swaps featureOf the three “100 days of awesome!” food components, shaking off sugar may be the hardest. Sugar is everywhere! And – darn it! – it tastes so good! But as I mentioned in the “100 days of shaking off sugar” video blog last week, sugar could very well be the reason you’re not losing weight. Even so-called “healthy” foods can be very high in sugar, and boy-oh-boy do those grams add up fast!

While we’re counting up those grams of sugar – shooting for that goal of no more than 38g per day from all sources (including fruit) – let’s take a look at six easy high-sugar swaps we can make right now.


Dairy milk –> swap for –> almond or cashew milk
12g (8 oz)                              0g (8 oz)


Strawberry jam –> swap for –> strawberries
12g (1Tbsp) –> swap for –> 7g (1cup)

strawberry jam sugar swap

Fruit-flavored yogurt –> swap for –> plain yogurt
17g (4 oz as shown) –> swap for –> 6g (8 oz)

yogurt sugar swap

Energy bars –> swap for –> homemade energy bars (recipe)
25g –> swap for –> 9g

energy bar sugar swap

Bottled salad dressing –> swap for –> olive oil + balsamic vinegar
7g –> swap for –> 2g

salad dressing sugar swap

Sports drinks –> swap for –> water
32g –> swap for –> 0g

beverage sugar swap

These are all relatively easy swaps, especially when we’re being mindful of our sugar intake.

Much of the sugar we consume we do simply because we’re familiar with the mainstream products (i.e. fruit flavored yogurts) on this list. Making these swaps is a good start, but also consider these big categories of food swaps:

Fat-free foods –> swap for –> healthy fats

Fat-free foods often have more sugar than their regular-fat counterparts as a way to compensate for some of the flavor that is missing when the fat is removed. Problem is, all of that sugar wreaks havoc with our gut bacteria, our hormonal balance and our weight. As a lifelong sugar addict I can attest, the only way I hold the sugar monster at bay is by eating healthy fats. Healthy fats give us the satisfaction that we all want from our food and they keep us full much longer than refined carbohydrates (sugar and other refined white foods).

Refined white grains –> swap for –> whole grains

Refined grains have been milled, a process that removes the bran and germ. This is done to give them a fluffier texture and lengthen their shelf life, but it also removes fiber, iron, and many vitamins. Avoid white flour, white bread, white rice, and instant oatmeal like the plague. Branch out and try some new grains like buckwheat (try my Creamy Buckwheat Breakfast Bowl or Quinoa Breakfast Bowl as an change of pace from oatmeal) or other favorite quinoa recipes such as Zucchini Patties, Roasted Cauliflower and Mushroom Quiche with Quinoa Crust, and Spinach Salad with Quinoa and Feta.

Shaking off sugar is difficult, but certainly not impossible. Because it’s so often hidden in high-processed foods, we do best when we swap out those foods for less processed foods.

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