Watching your daily intake of sugar can be tough, especially if you don’t know how much sugar is actually too much. But when you know better, you do better.
How much sugar per day is recommended?
The recommended sugar intake per day is around 25 grams per day for women and 37.5 grams for men. Keeping daily sugar consumption within these ranges can help you to maintain a healthy weight, improve skin health, keep your mood in check and lead to increased energy -- just to name a few benefits.
How to lower sugar intake
Sugar is tricky. We often don’t think about how much sugar is in a piece of fruit, for example, because it is naturally occurring sugar and not added sugar. When you need a snack and you’re choosing between an apple or a candy bar, the vitamins and nutrients lead us toward the apple. But when watching sugar intake, SUGAR is SUGAR. A medium-sized apple contains 19 grams of sugar, about the same as a candy bar. One can of coke has 39 grams of sugar while a bottled kale juice has 34 grams.
Focus on meeting your daily sugar intake through whole foods such as fruits, vegetables and complex carbohydrates. When looking at overall sugar intake, you want more of the sugars you’re consuming to come from natural sugars. Even then, it’s important to be aware of portion sizes so you don’t exceed your daily requirement.
Low-sugar healthy snack ideas
Being prepared for a snack attack will help keep you on track. Here’s a handy list of 25 low-sugar snacks with recommended portion sizes. Make them grab-and-go by measuring, preparing and putting in containers ahead of time. You’re more likely to hit your goals this way!
1. Celery sticks with ½ Tbsp. almond butter
2. Half of an apple with 1 Tbsp. natural nut butter
3. Plain Greek yogurt (7 oz.) with 1 Tbsp. protein powder of choice, or choose a sugar-free vanilla yogurt. Check the label for sugar content.
4. Hummus (4 Tbsp.) with some cucumber slices, zucchini sticks, celery sticks or pepper slices
5. The Good Bean Chickpeas with Sweet Cinnamon (great for a quick sweet snack). Make sure to measure out a 1 oz. serving.
6. Chia & Quinoa Chips (10 chips) with salsa (4 Tbsp.)
7. ½ cup cottage cheese plain or topped with ¼ cup blueberries or strawberries
8. Biena Chickpeas, honey roasted – ¼ cup
9. Pistachios – ¼ cup
10. Organic raw nut mix – ¼ cup
11. Avocado toast – 1 thin-sliced piece of whole grain bread topped with ½ smashed avocado. Sprinkle with sea salt.
12. Simple Truth 7 Ancient Grains rice crackers (5-6) topped with 1 oz. cheese (fontina, goat, mozzarella)
13. Dry roasted edamame – 1/3 cup
14. Skinny Pop Popcorn Skinny Packs – 1 pack
15. Beef jerky – 1 serving (about 3 oz.)
16. Epic Nutrition Beef Bar Habanero Cherry Walnut – 1 bar
17. Artisan Tropic Sea Salt Plantain strips – 13 pieces
18. Kosher pickles – 2-3 spears, 8-10 chips (pickles have 0 sugar so servings are flexible)
20. 2 hard-boiled eggs – eat one whole and the whites of the other
21. Puffed rice cereal (1 cup), unsweetened almond milk (1/2 -2/3 cup), 2-3 strawberries or ¼ cup blueberries
25. Mini egg muffins: In a bowl, mix four whole eggs and four egg whites, toss in handful of spinach chopped, 1-2 oz. shredded cheese and combine. Lightly spray a 12-count mini muffin tray and pour in mixture. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes, until center is firm. (Two muffins per serving. Leftovers can be stored in the refrigerator for four to five days.)