Snacking starts to get infinitely more important once you start watching your daily sugar intake. Even though it takes a little more effort and creativity, sugar-free or natural-sugar only snacks can be way more filling. Plus, they won’t leave you spiraling toward a sugar crash before you can toss out the wrapper.
Seemingly healthy snacks often harbor a ton of hidden sugar. If you’re looking to steer clear of added sugars in your snacks, turn instead to the more satisfying carbohydrates naturally found in wholesome foods such as whole grains, fruits, vegetables, certain types of dairy, and nuts, seeds and legumes.
These simple snacks are great to make in bulk and just keep on-hand—whether that’s in the freezer, your backpack, a jar by your bed, or maybe just in your pocket. Here are a few satisfying snack options that don’t contain any added sugars:
1. Dried Fruit
Fiber is key to keep you feeling full out on the open road. Dried fruits are a great road trip snack because they’re packed with fiber and other nutrients. In a half cup serving of dried fruit, you get a decent amount of fiber. Figs have 8 grams, prunes have 6 grams and dried peaches have 3 grams of fiber.
But be careful! The key here is to keep an eye out for dried fruits with added sugars and instead select options that only have fruit in the ingredient list. Even though I love them, banana chips wouldn’t make the cut as they’re usually fried and most times have added sugar. You can enjoy dried fruit on its own or try mixing it into homemade trail mix.
2. Black Coffee
Drinking black coffee has numerous health benefits as it is loaded with antioxidants and nutrients. Who doesn't love a hot cup in the morning? And one in mid-morning? And another in the afternoon? And maybe one more after that? Fret not if this is you: drinking a lot of coffee — provided it doesn't send you into full-tilt manic mode — isn't harmful to your health. On the contrary, studies have found that drinking coffee is good for you: it may lower your risk for type 2 diabetes, Parkinson's disease, certain types of cancer, heart disease and stroke. Coffee also helps suppress your appetite.
Coffee, however, has the potential to be bad for you: dressing it up with lots of added sugar, syrups, half-and-half, whole milk and whipped cream is counter to its healthful properties. As I have mentioned before, I personally prefer my coffee black. It took me a couple of days but I went from drinking coffee with sugar to nothing at all. It’s up to you to teach yourself how to enjoy it in its purest form. Fancy coffee drinks are akin to meals in terms of calories and fat. So, raise your cup of joe — black, or with moderate additions — and enjoy.
3. Fruits and Berries
I can not emphasize this enough, but ANY fruit or berry is always a great choice of healthy snack. I personally prefer Apples, Pears, Bananas and Peaches because they are quick and easy to consume. Berries are not only highly nutritious but also a low-carb fruit choice. For example, blueberries provide just 11 grams of carbs in 1/2 cup (74 grams). For a delicious, low-carb snack, combine 1/2 cup (74 grams) of blueberries with 2 tablespoons of heavy whipping cream.
I’d go one step further and urge you to pair those fruits with something like Peanut butter. I usually do Apple slices with sugar free peanut butter. Sometimes Banana with peanut butter and honey. Peanut butter contributes protein and healthy fats, while apples are high in fiber and water, making them particularly filling. In fact, 1 medium apple (182 grams) is over 85% water and has more than 4 grams of fiber.
* FRUIT JUICES: Any way you pour it, it's just not good for you. If you crave fruit juiciness, go for the whole fruit, which gives you all the benefits of fiber and fullness without the concentrated sugar and high calorie count. Lower-calorie "lite" versions aren't any better; they're loaded with artificial sweeteners and they train your body to crave more sugar.
4. Natural Sugar Sports Drinks
Keeping your body hydrated is the bare minimum you can do to optimise mental and physical performance and health. As a professional swimmer, I always have to make sure my body is at its maximum level of hydration, so I can perform at my best during everyday workouts and swim meets as well as working from home and performing the task at hand. Water is still the best to sip or gulp while you're at work. If plain water doesn't do it for you, try chilling it in the fridge or with ice. Still too bland? Try flavoring your cup with a wedge of lemon, lime or orange, or chilling some in your fridge at home with citrus or strawberries.
Depending on my daily workout, I do switch or add a sports drink into the mix of my daily hydration. Walking around with a water bottle or sports drink bottle has become part of who I am. Staying hydrated not only helps me to stay on top of my physical performance, but also I make sure I am always at my best mentally.
Products like Hydra-Guard Sports Drink also help me to make sure I have my proper amount of Vitamins and essential electrolytes. One bottle has 20% the equivalent Daily Value of Calcium we need alongside with only 5g of REAL Sugar and no artificial anything.
5. Plain Yogurt With Fresh Fruit
One of the biggest food fallacies is that yogurt is good for you. Certain types of yogurt are, but not all yogurts are created equal! In fact, most commercial yogurt offerings are nothing more than a lot of sugar and a little yogurt. If your “fruited yogurt” has 0 grams of fiber, you can rest assured there’s no real fruit in there. My tip: strawberries + a coconutty, buttery-tasting granola and creamy, high protein, lower in sugar Vanilla yogurt. Simple ingredients, not a lot of sugar.
6. Roasted Chickpeas
If like me you crave a little crunch and salt in your snacks, try roasting your own chickpeas. The key here would be to rinse your chickpeas first and then pat completely dry. Roll the garbanzos in some olive oil, add salt and pepper or your favorite seasoning mix, and bake at 400 degrees F for 25-30 minutes or until crunchy.
Make the Switch now!
We should always remember that vitamin and minerals — particularly A, C and E, as well as zinc — play an important role in keeping the immune system strong and staying healthy. Our body also needs fluids and electrolytes to function at its best. Proper rehydration helps with recovery. In case you are like me and like to practice sports or physical activities on a daily basis, there are electrolyte replacement products available that are low-sugar and low-calories. Hydra-Guard Sports Drink for example is a great way of replenishing your essential electrolytes after a workout but keeping the calorie count low and consuming only 5g of natural sugars per bottle. You could use the code Jane10 for a special 10% discount on their website, and I also recommend you to subscribe to their newsletter because they are always releasing special codes for even higher discounts on their products.
“Joining the Hydra-Guard team is quite the honor. Being able to fuel my body with a product that is not only healthy, but very efficient in hydration is something that I have been searching for for quite some time. Knowing the company is in Louisiana and so close to my home market in Houston is awesome and comforting knowing I'll be working with a team that is right next door. Hydra-Guard's product is top notch and I wouldn't want to hydrate and replenish after a long training day without any other drink,” says Jane Campbell, American goalkeeper and Houston Dash’s star.