7 No Added Sugar Snacks for When You're Craving Sweets
When you are trying to lose weight, snacks are an important part of the equation. However, you need to steer clear of sugar-filled snacks. Starting in January 2020, you’ll be seeing a lot more of the FDA’s new and improved nutrition fact labels. These labels require manufacturers to disclose added sugars on a separate line. (Manufacturers with less than $10 million in annual food sales have until January 2021 to comply.)
It’s a big step toward total sugar transparency, but even without these new labels, there are plenty of yummy snacks without added sugar to munch on between meals.
1. Natural Peanut Butter With Whole-Grain Crackers
“Anytime you’re going to snack, choosing something with a bit of carbs, protein, and fat in it is the best option for maintaining a healthy balance,” explains Andrea N. Giancoli, MPH, RD, nutrition manager at Openfit. “The combination of those macronutrients does a good job of keeping you satisfied, especially when you include protein.” Natural peanut butter, the kind that is just crushed nuts without added sugar, is a substantial snack on crackers or celery.
“Any kind nut is pretty much a great snack,” says Giancoli. “Just make sure you’re not buying varieties that are honey-roasted, chocolate-covered, or have any sugary coating.” Yogurt-covered nuts, for example, are loaded with added sugar. On their own, peanuts are a mix of protein and fat with almost no carbs—and have a subtle sweetness to them, especially the Valencia variety often used in natural peanut butter.
3. Baked or Popped Chips
“Many chips are sugar-free, but they’re still not the best option for snacking,” says Giancoli. Good alternatives, however, are popped or baked chips. Sweet veggie chips, like beet and peapod chips, offer a touch of sweetness, along with a dose of fiber that will keep you full.
4. Cheese and Fruit
A juicy piece of fruit is naturally sweet without added sugar. Pairing it with a savory protein, like cheese or nuts, provides a healthy spin on “sweet-and-salty” flavor without added sugar. Noshing on protein, carbohydrates, and fiber will give you energy to power through a workout or stay focused until your next meal.
5. Turkey and Lettuce Roll-Ups
Crunchiness is one of those attractive qualities in a snack. A sliced roasted turkey and lettuce roll-up delivers on that satisfying crispiness. However, it’s essential to read labels in the deli section because lunch meats can be a surprising source of added sugar. Many grocery stores offer in-house, roasted natural turkey, which is always going to be your best bet.
Air-popped popcorn is surprisingly light and has a slightly sweet flavor to it naturally. There are tons of products catering to smart snacking, such as individual-size microwaveable popcorn bags or pre-popped, pre-portioned 100-calorie bags. “Pop your own or look for 95 percent fat-free popcorn,” recommends Giancoli. “Avoid kettle corn or caramel-covered popcorn, which are going to have added sugar.”
7. Hummus and Carrots
Carrots taste sweet because they have naturally occurring sugar, making them a veggie alternative to fresh fruit. They provide optimal snacking qualities, such as crunch and bite-size-ness, and when you pair them with a protein-packed dip like hummus, you’ve got snacking magic.