low fructose fruits

Low fructose fruits: Know which ones are which

When it comes to going sugar-free or embracing a lower sugar lifestyle, the topic of fruit (& low fructose fruits) usually confuses many and can cause a many domestic arguments (I’ve seen it happen!).

Should you eat them if you’re on a sugar type ‘detox’? Isn’t all natural sugar ok for you? How much per day is recommended? Which fruits are lower in fructose? Are dates a sugar bomb?

As an overall line, fruit is absolutely healthy but it’s worth knowing what your low fructose fruits are and becoming mindful for what fruit does for you and deciding how you want to include it into your diet.

Personally I’ve found that eating lots of dried fruit and sweet smoothies/juices makes me crave more sweetness so I stick to the whole fruit versions and opt for lower fructose fruits more frequently.

low fructose fruits

Can you eat fruit whilst living sugar-free?

  1. Absolutely. Plenty of people happily and healthily live mostly without refined sugar but with a little natural fruit in their diet. I eat all fruit here and there but nothing regularly as a habit and opt for low fructose fruits where I can, trying to eat seasonally and location based (e.g. what is native to that area).
  1. Fruit does contain sugar in the form of fructose, but the fibre that comes with fruit (think skins etc.) and nutrients help your body slow down the fructose release on your body (& liver) and process it more effectively.
  1. Fruit can impact your cravings (subjectively!). I’ve had some say eating an apple will bring on sugar cravings and others who say they eat 3 bananas and don’t find it makes them crave sugar. There are no definitive rules it and depends on you and many other factors (habits, diet history etc.). See if you can be your own body’s detective and notice what goes on with different foods.

To sum up my own experience, I find the more overall sweetness I have in my diet, the more I can get on the train of starting to crave it. The weeks when I am more savoury, the less I crave and think about sugar – I often don’t want it when it’s offered which I find very interesting as this was never the case previously. I will also add, I find my pre-menstrual week changes my cravings.


If you want to embark on changing your tastebuds to sweetness, it does pay off to know your low fructose fruits (especially if you’re currently eating a fair few portions a day) so you can make a few less sweet swaps and really that fruit isn’t going to put back on some sugar train.

What are the low fructose fruits?

Starting with the lowest and getting higher, here are some common low fructose fruits:

  • Tomatoes and avocados (yes technically fruits!)
  • Lemons and limes
  • Cantaloupe melon
  • Raspberries, blackberries & strawberries
  • Clementine
  • Kiwi fruit
  • Grapefruit

low fructose fruits

What are the higher fructose fruits?

Starting with the highest and most sweet natural eats:

  • Dried fruits (Dates, raisins, figs etc.)
  • Mango
  • Grapes
  • Watermelon
  • Banana

low fructose fruits

Suggestions for eating high or low fructose fruits

1. Make some appealing swaps (appealing to you that is!). For example:

  • Try berries on your porridge instead of banana
  • Snack on a clementine instead of dried fruit or grapes
  • Make your own fructose-free muesli and then add some fresh berries instead of raisins
  • Try Kiwi fruit instead of mango if you’re feeling tropical!
  • Go for cantaloupe melon fruit snack packs instead of grapes

2. Reduce your portion or use of higher fructose fruits (to reduce total sweetness in things):

  • Use half a banana in a smoothie (instead of a whole) or try half a banana with some berries
  • Slash the use of dates or any dried fruit in recipes (sometimes I’ve sweetened a whole recipe with one date!)
  • Be conscious of your portions of grapes & watermelon which are both very easy to eat a lot of
  • Be conscious of an excess dried fruits in savoury dishes as a staple in your diet e.g coronation chicken
  • Use higher fructose fruits more as special treats or as dessert substitutes e.g. a banana smothered in a nut butter
  • Eat higher fructose fruits more when in season or native to that environment (e.g. somewhere tropical)

3. Slow down the sugar release by eating fruit with some protein & fat. For example:

  • Add some nut butter to apple (total yum!)
  • Have with some cottage cheese or full fat natural yoghurt
  • Eat with a main meal rather than as a stand alone snack

What about eating fruit on a ‘sugar-detox’?

Not saying that this is gospel, but lots of people have experienced that when you really limit or remove fructose from your diet, the physical sugar cravings (note not emotional!) tend to die down.

Even just 3-5 days of a savoury based diet can have an impact and force you to investigate non-fruit based snacks if they’ve become your default. Thus it’s great for just finding new things and experimenting. 

However, this isn’t necessary and can be of the restrictive nature which can backfire. Try not to eliminative whole food groups and use this as a way to experiment in a wider fun way with your diet.

 

Could building trust with sugar be your way forward?

Do you ever get that feeling, you’re just never going to be able to fully trust yourself around sugar?

You push harder, fight your will power with force. You’re stricter with yourself and stay away from sweet…for all of two days. It’s a bit yo-yo. It’s a bit love-hate. You’re not sure if you’re ever going to have a ‘healthy’ or ‘normal’ relationship with sweet things that you observe in others.

You’re not sure if you’ll ever ‘quit’ sugar and you’re not convinced you’ll ever be safe from a sugar binge or relapse because it’s just happened so many times before.

Think about this, it’s not really about quitting sugar, it’s about trusting yourself with sugar.

Whilst actual refined sugar is going out of fashion like no tomorrow and ‘healthy’ (but not really that healthy) sugar substitutes are flooding the shops, it’s more mindset and approach to sweetness that’s causing the stress than how much sugar is in things.

Sugar-free is about to be printed on every other label, but we all know sweet things aren’t going away. Christmas will come every year. Birthday cake will still be offered. Life with sugar around will forever go on.

Sweet food isn’t going anywhere. There’s no magic product or diet out there. Instead of looking outwards at products or solutions, you need to work on yourself and find your own inner peace.

For some people, they can be hardly eating any sugar but be in an internal mental hell with keeping it that way.

For others, they can be blissfully unaware that they are eating sugar by the chuck-load but barely think, let alone be bothered about it.

Ideally you want to find your happy place somewhere in the middle that works best for you – a conscious awareness of a substance like sugar so you don’t eat 10 donuts a day, but a feeling that it doesn’t control your life and you can enjoy it if you want to.

Think about that for a second.

You can have a very healthy relationship with sugar and eat a little sugar.

Moderately. Occasionally. Playfully.

 All because you trust yourself.

When I didn’t trust myself around sugar, sweet stuff felt like a risky gamble. I never knew what might trigger the more erratic sugar behaviour I knew was in me. I was anxious often at the prospect of doing so. If I eat one of those, I will eat 10 and then feel bad about myself – guilty and annoyed. 

Through studying the mindset and embracing a more intuitive way of eating, I’ve slowly progressed to trusting myself with sugar whilst generally eating ‘lower sugar’ diet, so much that I don’t track or feel super conscious of how much sugar I eat.

Granted, overall it’s probably not that much. However, if I decide I want carrot cake or chocolate for breakfast one day, I have some. It now doesn’t feel like a big deal to me as I trust myself on the whole (not saying I’m perfect!).

I trust that my healthy sugar habits are firmly in play. My tastebuds will scream savoury if I overdo it on sweet and I’m intuitively aware of the unhealthy behaviours or signs that tell me I need to dial up my awareness a little.

Someone once said to me once ‘It’s weird, I would never track or be conscious of eating crisps. Sometimes I have them, sometimes not. They aren’t banned from my diet, yet I just eat them when the occasion presents or when I really fancy.’

I thought this was quite interesting. Why do we think about sugar so differently? You don’t spend all day thinking about crisps do you? Imagine if you thought about sugar the way you do about crisps or some other less healthy food/drink you eat in moderation?

Right now, maybe you feel like sugar is your enemy.

It’s taking up your emotional energy. Its puts you into that twilight zone where you can’t stop and has some crazy magic power over you. You think about it everyday. When, how, what, how much, how healthy is that etc.

Rather than banish it from your life forever and cast it as the devil, consider an alternative approach where you take the reigns and build trust over restriction.

Imagine yourself…

  • Enjoying a cocktail on holiday with no worry or guilt.
  • Not eating the dessert one time because you naturally just don’t feel like it. Eating a mouthful of dessert another time because you do feel like it.
  • Have a contentedness and confidence that you don’t eat an unhealthy amount of sugar that’s doing you long term physical or emotional damage.
  • Feel confidence that you won’t or aren’t ‘addicted’ to sugar
  • Have healthy habits and a healthy mindset that are going to serve you

Now I appreciate, you’re in one place and getting to hear might feel impossible. This isn’t something I can give you a 10 step guide to do as it takes some time. But start to ponder it as a concept and see how you feel.

Could trusting around sweetness be your end goal and what would that do for you?

biscuits-multiple

How to overcome all or nothing thinking with sugar

The all or nothing mindset.

Go hard or go home.

Get clean or eat dirtier than ever before.

Zero grams of sugar one day to dessert, three cookies and a bar of chocolate the next.

Stick to the programme diet perfectly or do completely what they tell you not to do in full blown rebellion (which is three times worse than if you’d never tried in the first place!)

Sound familiar?

If you relate to the above and know a lot about where sugar is etc., this thinking is possibly one of THE biggest blockers in you maintaining a happier relationship with sweet food.

It will be the barrier between you and a peaceful relationship with food that is going to drain your mental energy or make you feel like you suck more than you deserve to (which ideally should be never!).

You can go sugar-free or low sugar for so long, but if you don’t address this mindset, it will come and bite you right in the bum.

Sometimes helpful, most of the time not

This black and white way of thinking can apply to many aspects of life, general self-growth, habit change and of course eating less sugar. Sometimes it’s beneficial where it can drive you through a challenge with extra stamina or it can make you aim high.

However, most of the time it’s not so great.

So it’s worth recognising when this perfectionist mindset is doing you more harm than good. If you’re finding yourself going ‘on’ and ‘off’ with low sugar living where you feel increasingly frustrated, then it’s likely the case that a black and white frame of mind has a hold on you.

More sugar knowledge or restriction or will power isn’t going to help, discovering and growing comfortable in your own shades of grey is what you need to put your attention to.

How to learn to love the grey

When you’ve been living in black and white for so many years (as I did with food), learning to embrace different shades of grey is completely liberating and quite life changing.

But it’s also scary as hell at first. It feels uncomfortable and pulls your fears right up to the surface – I’ll get fat, I’ll eat loads of sugar and will never stop, I’ll lose even more control, this is how I operate and another way won’t work for me.

I said all of these things. I’d always seen things as ‘healthy’ or ‘not healthy’. A ‘good day’ or a ‘bad day’ which was usually a total right off day. Finding my grey shades that worked for me took time, effort and yes, a bit of risk, but it was worth it.

It’s really ditching the diet mentality for good (you don’t have to go on diets to have one of these) and it’s freeing. I see it like setting an animal that’s been raised in captivity free on it’s own. Wobbly and dangerous at first after low sugar shifting but then true freedom follows.

The more you know, the worst it can be

This way of thinking is even more heightened when you’ve got more knowledge on how to eat lower sugar or super healthy – the increased knowledge can be even more crippling as your expectations get higher.

Let me tell you something: Just because you know stuff, doesn’t mean you have to action it all the time. It’s impossible to. Remember that.

You could action your low sugar knowledge 80% of time, then 20% of the time, let it slide.

Yes sugar drives cravings and cravings aren’t good, but cravings can be managed and handled MUCH easier when there aren’t crazy extreme mindsets bounding about.

Black or white. Win or lose. Let’s get practical.

For example, you know you want to eat your pre-planned carrot sticks and hummus instead of those biscuits that are presented to you – that it’s the ‘healthy low sugar choice’ right?

However, if you don’t eat the carrot snack that you planned, it’s a failure right?

The error in this calculation thinking is that because the full sugar-free version is ‘correct’, anything that doesn’t fit that, is a failure. So you may as well fail royally and enjoy the biscuits to the max (even to the point of not enjoying them).

biscuits-multiple

Now what if there’s another option around that you fancy, that might just work for you – maybe a piece of fruit, or a fruit snack bar. Healthier sugar that still is going to feed your need. No not perfect as the carrot sticks you had planned but OK.

Your thinking in this case may be more the enemy than sweetness is.

Remember these two main benefits of just doing a little bit or ‘going grey’:

Benefit #1 Small tweaks can add up over time.

If you cut down to ½ a teaspoon of your sugar that you put in your hot drink each time, it might feel relatively insignificant, but actually with three drinks a day over a month, you’ve just reduced your intake by 45 teaspoons barely trying.

Benefit #2 It’s more likely to stick.

Ok so you don’t manage to go completely sugar free after a meal but you’re eating a few squares of dark chocolate over half a slab of Dairy milk. You still get your fix and the new habit forms. Then you can look to tweak down later on if you want.

dark-brown-milk-chocolat

So in a nutshell, notice if this mindset is damaging your low sugar efforts, you eating habits in general. If so, start to change your strategy from ‘All or nothing’ to ‘A little bit better option or an in-between option’

Need sweet after a meal? Over 50 low sugar ideas to try

It’s what you’ve always done since you can remember. It’s second nature. The day just doesn’t feel right without it.

The little Dairy Milk chocolate; the regular biscuit sweetness; or that mini pudding – it’s just what you do after eating your main meal, right?

chocolates

You know you’re not hungry for this sweetness and it’s totally habit, but it’s so firmly engrained that you can’t imagine life without it.

The post meal sweet fix wins hands down for the most common time people have sugar habits.

So if you want to reduce the sugar in this habit or change things up, read on!

How to use this list..

  1. Pick a few of your favourites. Pick 1-2 that you know you like, one that you’ve no idea if you like and one you didn’t think you like that you’re willing to re-try (often people can rediscover things using this approach).
  2. Try each one for a day or two. Three days if you can.
  3. Have FUN and enjoy trying new things and experimenting. Go out and buy yourself some trendy nut butter, a pretty tea or cute bowl for your new dessert option.

A few more notes:

  • This is about ‘better’ options. Everything is relative to you. Just make an incremental upgrade rather than worrying about picking the perfect option all the time.
  • Accept you may go through phases with these and seek to change periodically. I had a chai tea phase, then it was the almond butter and now I’m partial to really dark chocolate or yoghurt with cacao nibs.
  • Once it’s pretty low sugar, don’t overly stress about it unless it’s causing some other physical or emotional pain. You can live happily ever after enjoying something healthy that doesn’t drive sweet cravings too much. KEEP PERSPECTIVE!!
  • If you’re already rolling with some of these, why not mix up your routine and try some new ones.
  • Oh yeah HAVE FUN experimenting. It’s really satisfying when you change this habit and learn to love something that is healthy.

Not so much fruit on this list..

I’ve not listed loads of fruit or anything with dried fruit in it because I’ve tried to keep this list low on fructose so it helps reduce your need for sweetness. Feel free to add a little fruit in to jazz things up if you want.

Anyway HERE IS THE LIST!! Please add your own in the comments below the blog and we have a great resource.

Yoghurt

  • Plain unsweetened full fat natural yoghurt
  • Yoghurt with cinnamon
  • Coconut yoghurt
  • Yoghurt with flaxseed powder/seeds/chopped nuts
  • Yoghurt with fresh/frozen blueberries or raspberries

Total yoghurt strawberries

  • Yoghurt with cacao nibs (one of my favourites)
  • Yoghurt with coconut flakes or desiccated coconut
  • Some delightful mix of all of the above!

coconutyoghurt

Mini pudding like

  • Cottage cheese with chopped apple, cinnamon & seeds
  • Cottage cheese with a drizzle of honey or brown rice syrup
  • Natural yoghurt with chopped nuts, berries and grated dark chocolate
  • Mashed sweet potato with natural yoghurt & topping

sweet potato _ creamed coconut

Nut butter

  • Teaspoon almond butter (add cacao nibs for indulgent fix)
  • Teaspoon cashew butter
  • Teaspoon of hazelnut butter (mix in some cacao for chocolate fix)
  • Nut butter on sliced apple
  • Nut butter in celery

sugarfree-frozen-blueberry-and-almond-butter-fudge

Biscuit like or substantial

  • Ricecake with nut butter
  • Ricecake with mashed banana & chopped nuts
  • Oatcakes (plain)
  • Oatcake with cottage cheese and seeds

Cold drinks

  • Glass of coconut water
  • Glass of milk
  • Glass of fizzy water with lemon/lime
  • Glass of unsweetened almond milk
  • Iced homemade fruity or green teas

Milk

Hot drinks

  • Peppermint tea
  • Licorice tea
  • Fennel tea
  • Green tea (I LOVE the mango variety)
  • Chai tea (homemade with teabags only – optional add extra cinnamon or some stevia to sweeten)
  • English breakfast tea
  • Cappuccino/latte (the milk can taste sweet and coffee take the edge off cravings)

Rooibos tea

Coconut stuff

  • Fresh coconut chunks
  • Coconut water (double check for added sugar)
  • Coconut flakes (toasted or un-toasted)
  • Spoonful of desiccated coconut (might dry your mouth ha!)

coconut pieces

Chocolate

  • 100 or 99% dark chocolate
  • 70-90% chocolate (85% is my favourite)
  • Cacao nibs
  • Hot chocolate made with milk & cacao powder (add a little sweetener to taste if you want)

chocolate-gratings-pieces

Nuts & bits

  • Cashew nuts
  • Almonds
  • Pecans
  • Walnuts
  • Macadamia nuts
  • Mixed nuts

granolanuts

  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Raw cacao nibs
  • Goji berries
  • Various combinations of the above mixed together (my current favourite is goji berries, cacao nibs and pumpkin seeds)

Goji berries

Recipes

nuttyfudge

Hopefully you have some inspiration and new things to try. You can change this habit and find some new things that are low sugar to fix that post meal sweet craving.

sugar-cravings

Sugar addiction quiz and test: Am I really hooked?

You know what, most people have experience of overeating or overindulging in sugar – the one too many chocolates from the box; that extra slice of cake that blatantly wasn’t necessary or the emotional break up ice cream incident.

But where’s the point when it comes to asking ‘Am I addicted to sugar?’

What determines if someone is eating too much or just has a bit of a sweet tooth?

How do you know if it’s the actual sugar that’s the issue, your habits around food or something to do with your environment (e.g. you work in an office environment that could be mistaken for a cake warzone!)?

So you can start to work this out for yourself, here’s a sugar addiction quiz you can have a go with. 

Just the process of doing this test will help you understand your relationship with the sweet stuff and identify where you are with things. 

sugar-cravings

How to use this test?

I’ve kept this quite simple so just answer the questions yes or no in each section and then count them up and divide your YES answers by the total questions in the section and multiply this by 100 to get a %.

E.g. 6 questions in Section 1 would mean (6/13) x 100 which equals about 46%.

Section 1: Am I eating too much sugar?

  1. Do you have sugary treats every day or at least every other day? (sweets, chocolate, dried fruits, cakes/pastries etc.)
  2. Do you drink soft drinks more than once a week?
  3. Are you eating more than 4-5 portions of fruit (including dried fruit) everyday?
  4. Do you eat a lot of packaged foods e.g. stir fry sauces etc.
  5. When a craving comes, is it distinctly for sweetness and you can satisfy with a range of food even if it’s not your favourite as long as it’s sweet (e.g dried fruit, cheaper chocolate etc.)
  6. Do you get anxious if there is no dessert or sweet thing available at a friends house or dinner party (or you urge for it to be served sooner!)?
  7. Do you notice distinct energy differences throughout your day e.g. mid afternoon slump, grogginess in the morning.
  8. Are you tired a lot?
  9. Do you also crave bread or starchy carbohydrates often in addition to sugar?
  10. Do you often think you will feel better eating something sugary but then afterwards you feel worse?
  11. Have you in the last year been oblivious to how much sugar you’ve been eating?
  12. Do pictures of sweet food instantly make you feel a craving?
  13. Do you have a hard time resisting any sugar that is offered to you e.g. dessert, biscuits etc.

Section 2: Am I suffering emotionally because of sugar?

  1. Do you know you’re not going to feel great about yourself emotionally after eating the sugar but you still do it?
  2. Do you feel you need to have something sweet everyday?
  3. Do you overeat or indulge in sugar alone where no-one knows about it?
  4. Are you fearful of sharing how much sugar you eat to close loved ones?
  5. Have you ever eaten sugar and hidden or done something so someone doesn’t find out?
  6. Has the guilt of eating sugar in a situation then led you on to eat more later on?
  7. Can you identify patterns (e.g. regular tendencies) where you use sugar to alleviate negative emotions e.g.  stress, boredom and frustration?
  8. Do you feel thinking about sugar takes up a lot of your headspace?
  9. Would you struggle describing any times when you’ve felt good about some sugar you’ve eaten?
  10. Do you eat straight from the packet or fridge very quickly without thinking?
  11. Do you feel right now sugar causes you more emotional pain over emotional pleasure?

sugar-shame

Section 3: How significant are your habits?

  1. Can you pinpoint the regular instances where you’re eating too much sugar e.g. in the evening after work, after a meal each day
  2. Do you have strong sugar habits around very specific foods e.g. Haribo sweets, a certain chocolate or type of biscuit etc.
  3. Can you remember a time when these sugar habits or food preferences didn’t exist?
  4. Is a large amount of your sugar intake from adding to tea or coffee or eating something sweet with tea or coffee?
  5. Do you feel the sweet after the meal habit is  your most significant area of sugar intake that you’d like to change?
  6. Are there days when the sugar habits just don’t happen because a situation is different e.g you’re not home alone so it’s different
  7. Have you noticed your sugar habits change when your routine changes?
  8. Have you tried to change lots of sugar (& health) habits all at once but they’ve all slipped back?

dark-brown-milk-chocolat

Section 4: Is your wider relationship with food playing significantly into your sugar issues?

  1. Have you dieted or restricted your diet for an extended period of time (over 3 months)?
  2. Do you sometimes overeat on other food other than sweet things e.g. crisps, carbs, junk food etc.
  3. Do you often tell yourself this is the “last time” I am doing this and tend to over eat because you “thought” it was the last time?
  4. Do food buffets and social situations make you feel slightly anxious?
  5. Do you have strong rules you try to stick to everyday e.g. eat no sugar, limit carbohydrates etc.?
  6. Do you overeat excessively when you feel you’ve fallen ‘off the rails’?
  7. Have you ever, or do you eat too much sugar to the point of feeling very sick?
  8. Have you ever suffered a large sugar binge? (eating over 1000 calories of sugary foods and feeling particularly bad about it)
  9. Have you got a history of any disordered eating?

Section 5: Are there bigger things going on?

  1. Are you feeling very desperate to lose weight rather than it just be ‘nice’ to lose a few pounds?
  2. Has your sugar intake increased in line with a recent increase of stress, pressure or challenging life situations?
  3. Would you rate your body confidence lower than usual?
  4. Have you suffered from any other conditions such as anxiety or depression?
  5. Do you feel you have no time for yourself or your own interests/hobbies?

How to analyse your answers

The sections are your indicator here. If you have a high % (generally over 50%) for the section, then the answer to the title of that section is very likely a ‘YES’ and will indicate which of the following strategies to take note of.  

If you have a high % for Section 1 and not so much the others:

In this case, it is more likely that you may have a stronger physical sugar (fructose) preference. 

Your best strategy could be to spend some time learning about the different types of sugar, look for ways to substitute lower sugar alternatives and work on recalibrating your tastebuds to become more sugar sensitive.

coffee-theme-coffee-peanuts

If you have a high % for Section 1 and you are above 50% in Sections 2, 4 or 5:

You will need to do the above re-calibration strategy but simultaneously address the emotional and food relationship issues with other mindset reframing exercises. You will likely need quite a personalised approach based on your answers to different questions.

If you have a high % for section 2:

You are potentially damaging your health more with the internal stress your relationship with sugar is causing than you are with the physical impact of the sugar. It will be helpful for you to look into what your coping mechanisms are for boredom and stress. If Section 1 is below 30%, focus a little less on the sugar and more on your habits around emotional processing and resilience.

If you have a high % in section 3:

It’s likely your routine habits are playing more strongly into your relationship with sugar. Potentially habits that are deeply embedded over years e.g. family dessert or hot drink rituals. You are best to put in place a steady singular habit change initiative and prioritise each habit so you avoid doing too much at once. 

If you have a high % in section 4:

It’s potentially likely that sugar is just the manifestation for deeper relationship with food issues. I’d advise away from any more detoxes or diets to reduce your cravings. Refocus your efforts on re-learning to eat without a diet mentality and move away from thinking going sugar-free is the answer to your challenges. 

If you have a high % in section 5:

It’s likely that the sugar challenges are more significantly the symptom of other bigger issues at hand. Don’t be afraid of seeking extra support in some form (close family or friends, counselling, a therapist or a coach). Make sure you feel safe and do not feel judged on your feelings, your life situation or sugar related behaviour.

Finally….  

As you can see, being ‘addicted to sugar’ can be much more complex than just eating too many grams of the stuff. However all of this has a way forward that can get you to a less ‘sugar addicted’ or emotionally sugar dependent place so essentially you can get on with living a very healthy and happy lower sugar life that let’s you do all you want to.  

6 essential ways to crowd sugar out of your diet

Are you familiar with the term ‘crowding out’?

It’s a great healthy eating and mindset strategy that employs eating more instead of eating less and restricting.

Crowding out means adding more to your diet.

By adding more healthy whole foods to your diet, you fill up on these and reduce the room available for less nutrient dense foods like sugar, refined carbohydrates and the rest of it.

So as a simple example, you pile your plate high with salad and thus have two slices of pizza instead of three – quite simply because you’re packed out with salad.

But can you ever completely crowd sugar out?

What about those times when you are stuffed – when you’ve crowded out with vegetables for flipping England, but you still want ‘something sweet’?

 

1. Crowd more protein into breakfast

When you steady out your fluctuating blood sugar levels, you physically reduce the chance of having sugar cravings.

Mid-morning can be a killer for cravings where you can find yourself fancying sugar and carbohydrates at 11am if you’ve eaten a meal that hasn’t balanced you as well.

If you do have cereal or a muesli for example, crowd out with nuts, seeds, and yoghurt to reduce the cereal portion and bulk up with filling protein. Maybe a little lower fructose fruit like berries or chopped kiwi fruit to increase the nutrition density without overloading on sugar.

You can do exactly the same with porridge (read here for how to lower sugar in your porridge toppings).

oatmeal-blueberries

Also don’t be afraid to add extra ‘breakfast sides’ to crowd out further e.g. a handful of cherry tomatoes, half an avocado and some nuts for extra protein. Sometimes I’ve added a boiled egg on the side of a low sugar smoothie and more recently I’ve started adding salad to my scrambled eggs.

Whatever you do, decide to have fun with it and experiment!

2. Crowd in leafy greens…everywhere

Most people don’t eat enough leafy greens, it’s as simple as that.

I get upset when I don’t. It’s almost like my ultimate daily health non-negotiable.

spinach-sugar-cravings

 

They are nutritionally supercharged wonders that help your body function efficiently and help you process sugar better if you do happen to eat it.

So crowding in dark leafy green wherever you can is a seriously good health habit to develop. 

Try some of these:

  • Add a side of broccoli or green beans to any meal
  • Wilt spinach and add to eggs in the morning
  • Add spinach or courgettes to pasta sauces
  • Try courgetti (spiralized courgette) instead of pasta
  • Whip up a rocket salad to accompany a bowl of soup
  • Add watercress, broccoli or kale to smoothies
  • And my favourite….eat SALAD FOR BREAKFAST!! 🙂

red-lunch-green-knolling

 3. Crowd tempting situations with healthy fat

This goes against the grain of traditional healthy eating advice but recently is has become more widely known that not all fat is equal.

Because it can be tasty and satisfying, in the case of reducing sugar cravings, it can work a treat.

If there’s an event or situation on the horizon where you know you might fall partial to some tempting sugar that you’d rather avoid, be sure to add some healthy but seemingly indulgent fat to your food instead.

Make it something that you really like and this works even better.

This will do two things – it will fill you up and satiate you but it will also stop you feeling deprived.

For example, a creamy or buttery sauce will add a rich satisfying element to your meal that will likely fill you up too much for dessert.

Some extra nuts or cheese on your salad will again add an indulgent satisfying element and if you’re going out starving, try a little avocado on a cracker to stop you gorging on the first unhealthy foods in sight.

You can even try having a few almonds after a meal to replace the post meal sweet fix (read here for 50 other post-meal craving ideas)

almonds

4. Crowd out your sweet activity

Coffee with the girls? Popcorn at the cinema? Ice cream night in?

We’re not just talking food and nutrition crowding out today.

Take a look at your diary and start to crowd out pastimes that involve sweet with those that don’t.

Suggest to your friend you catch up with a walk round the park or exercise class and be proactive in organising activities where you know sweet isn’t such a big part of the picture.

5. Crowd out sugary thoughts

I know when you’re slightly sugar controlled, it can be on your mind…a lot.

However, when you’ve a stressful situation at hand, it’s surprising how quickly something else can dominate your thoughts. Often we think about sugar too much when we are quite simply bored!

Add new projects to your focus. Fill thinking space with interior ideas for your new lounge or some planning for your upcoming holiday.

Create deadlines for yourself around these and you’ll have new goals to focus your thinking on.

6. Crowd out but balance

I used to make the mistake of crowding my plate with loads of vegetables or salad and not really much else because I thought this was the healthiest way to go.

However having just a giant barely dressed salad left me still a bit hungry and thus insanely tempted by the dessert menu.

So it wasn’t uncommon for me to eat a big old healthy salad and then stuff my face with apple crumble. In fact, it was standard for a while!

You can avoid this scenario by crowding your meal with appropriate portions of protein, vegetables and fat. Don’t forget you need all of these to properly fill yourself up when you are truly hungry and fuel your body’s functioning.

vegetables

So get crowding out!

Forget eating less. Forget depriving yourself. Crowd out to ease out the sugar habits gradually and it will get easier and easier I promise.

Fill yourself up with colourful whole foods and nourish yourself with healthy activity that feeds your soul so you simply don’t leave enough room in your stomach or life for the sugary stuff!

Any other crowding out strategies that you know and love? Comment below with your ideas! 

7 ways to combat sugar boredom eating

You don’t feel stressed or particularly emotional but you’re still finding yourself later in the evening in front of the cupboard looking for something to eat.

That digestive biscuit ends up in your hand before you’ve even had time to think about things.

Frustration and guilt starts to kick in. Either you’ve got ironing and a 100 other more productive things to be doing right now OR you’re just chilling, knowing you’re not going to do anything productive but at a bit of a loss with what else to do with yourself.

Say hello to boredom eating. The thing that you just ‘do’ sometimes and you don’t fully understand why.

When you think of stress vs. boredom eating you’re essentially looking at times when you have too much to do vs. times when you don’t have enough exciting things to do.

Kinda feels like you can’t win right?

My big boredom eating 

I’m sure most can relate to some form of boredom eating at times but for anyone working at home or in an office, I know it can be a serious issue.

The number of times, even when I was low sugar, that I found myself in my kitchen for ‘breaks’ was ridiculous. For me it was compounded with a lack of community and connection at home too.

Likewise when I was in an office, my breaks from the daily grind of work were usually the cafeteria, or a vending machine or the tea corner (well stocked with sweet goodies of course).

coffee-cup-table-morning

I wasn’t particularly stressed many of these times or more than usual emotional. I was just a bit bored of that spreadsheet task that I’d been doing for 2 hours and I needed a well earned break. Tea and a ‘treat’ was all I knew.

However, there was difference I remember between boredom and stress eating. With boredom eating I’d eat anything – I just wanted the activity and the break. Emotional eating i.e. feeling down or upset – I’d want the foods that comforted me – the indulgent nut butter, the dark chocolate etc.

Interesting to note the slight distinction right? Either way, the amount of unnecessary overeating when I blatantly wasn’t hungry escalated as these actions started to become pretty entrenched habits. Didn’t feel so great about myself. 

Maybe you can relate?

Why are we as humans so prone to this?

Unfortunately studying boredom eating is pretty hard. Until clever brain scanners can track every kitchen move in terms of what’s going on with our brain activity, we are somewhat in the dark.

However, many make a logical assumption of responsibility towards dopamine – the hormone that get’s fired up when you’re in love or when you’re occupied intensely by Candy Crush (two very different things I know!)

in-love

The common link between being obsessed with someone and zapping pieces of fruit to open up some fancy new level is that both keep us excited and away from food thoughts.

So a theory on boredom eating is that we’re trying to quickly fire up that excitement to get a dopamine hit. We go for food (especially sugar) because it does this very well and it’s accessible, quick and easy.

So what can we do to combat boredom eating sugar?

Here’s 7 things for you to try and consider based on some things that I have found from my coaching work, my studies and what worked for me:

1. Brainstorm other FUN activities to do instead

It’s the most obvious and you probably knew I was going to say it.

Sit down with a pen and paper right now and write a list. Think of anything and everything. Things that might need preparation and things that don’t. Things you can do in 2 mins, 30mins and a few variations in between.

Consider ideas for every setting and situation – home, the office or out and about.

Consider what is really FUN for you. Going for a walk might work wonders for someone but it might bore you so much that you eat even more when you get back.

For me, and this is embarrassing – I discovered You Tube supermarket selfie comedians who would sing a rendition of Take That in front of some unsuspecting bystander (I know, random!  

The thing was, I laughed at these. A lot. I forgot about food and wanted to watch another. Now I know this isn’t the most productive use of my time but I’m telling you it really worked in diverting my kitchen cupboard habits at home because it was a quick and easy dopamine fix.

I also tried meditation, messaging friends and squats. Meditation and friend messaging worked well for me but squats just weren’t fun enough.

meditation

2. Make a boring activity fun

Often the boredom eating comes because we know the next thing we need to do is boring and we are procrastinating from doing it by eating food.

Ever avoided ironing with a cup of tea and biscuit? Yep, that’s it.

It’s an absolute killer for overeating because we know when stop eating, we have to do the boring task.

So what to do?

Add something to the task to spice it up.

I seek to find exactly the right tunes when I have to churn through e-mails and if I strike gold with the playlist, I really feel great and forget about a food wander break.

Maybe you could buy yourself a new audio book whilst you clean the house or do the ironing? Paint your nails whilst listening to a study lecture?

https://www.happysugarhabits.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/woman-girl-technology-music.jpg

Have a think and consider what can spice up your boring tasks to get that dopamine fired up again.

3. Don’t keep certain sugary foods around in boring situations (if you know you’re prone)

Try to avoid working or being somewhere where your sugary boredom snacks of choice are to hand.

So if you’re tackling a tedious presentation, go sit yourself in a meeting room away from the cabinet cakes.

Likewise at home, remove sugary items from your cupboards so they don’t look you straight in the face when you open the door.

When there’s simply nothing to hand, your boredom eating urge is forced into an alternative and it might be the case that by creative problem solving endeavours you find something that is fun instead.

4. Postpone for a few minutes

If you can consciously catch yourself and be fully present with the fact you’re eating because you have nothing better to do or that you are engaging in blatant procrastination then you’re in quite a good place awareness wise.

Why not see if you can win yourself over with ‘ok in a few more minutes’ before I snack there.

So give yourself a full unrestricted guilt free pass to boredom eat whatever you want with the condition that it’s at least 5 mins on from that moment.

You will have to do something for 5 minutes and there’s a very chance you get into the flow with that and forget about your free pass. Maybe you won’t on some occasions but it’s worth a good try and it does work.

If it was a weekend and I was on the cusp of boredom eating I would ring someone for 5 minutes. The conversation most of the time would completely distract me and eating urge passed. If it didn’t, I had my free pass and let any guilt go.

5. Distinguish between stress and boredom eating

This is quite tough but like I did earlier when I could identify the different foods I wanted in each situation, when you really start to distinguish and get clear on the trigger of your behaviour, you can better deal with it.

If you observe the majority of your sugar snacking is through boredom, is there anything wider at hand you can do to avert the trigger. Can you change up your routine a bit? Or manage your mental energy in a different way e.g. do boring tasks at a certain time?

Usually there is a logical non food solution to reduce the amount of time when you feel bored. I know I like to batch in person meetings early afternoon rather than do writing at this time because the people element keeps me super engaged at a prime slump time. Little things like this can make a difference when you tune into them.

6. Accept it happening but watch the habits

At the end of the day, accept that boredom eating will happen from time to time. Seeking to eradicate it 100% of the time is unrealistic and can lead to you heavily judging yourself which can lead to another round of emotional eating to soothe the guilt.

Know I still do it now from time to time but try to use these instances to learn about my routine and my energy levels. What I really try to do is be super conscious of habits developing.  

When you do something more than three times in a row and especially if it’s at the same time, it’s the early formation of a habit. Just breaking the pattern either with a different food, an activity or a change of routine can work.

boredom-eating

7. Boredom eat minimal fructose

Up until now, this article could apply to boredom eating any food, but I’m assuming munchies of the sweet nature are your preference here.

If boredom eating is happening frequently as it was for me, it’s best to make it as lower fructose as possible to help you keep strong sugar cravings from also factoring into things.

Ok you’re still boredom eating which isn’t great but you don’t have to think all or nothing here – sometimes a ‘better’ healthy option can do and you can feel happy with that.

coffee-theme-coffee-peanuts

I’ve got loads of low sugar snack ideas here you could try.

Give things a go

I hope as a result of this article you have MORE FUN! Because that’s in a nutshell what this is about.

Fill your time with projects and activities that engage you, get creative in jazzing up the mundane and try out that 5 minute guilt free distraction pass.

Finally accept this happens to the best of us. I don’t have a full proof guarantee of what will work for you but you can change your habits here and choose better options from this moment.

 

low-sugar-hot-chocolate

How to manage sugar cravings during your menstrual cycle

Last week running my webinar, someone asked about the intense sugar cravings they were having in the week before their period. As I started to answer the question I noticed lots of others on the webinar chat box chime in ‘me too!’ so I figured it was time to write on this one! (one for the ladies this week!).

Maybe you can relate….

You’re doing to doing well with your lower sugar efforts until that PMS week comes along and you feel maybe one of the following:

I want chocolate.

I feel fat and horrible and I want chocolate.

I’m useless. Life is not feeling great right now and I want chocolate!

You think because I live a generally lower sugar lifestyle these days that I’m immune to this? Hell no.

However, I’ve gathered some knowledge and techniques that have helped, so here’s some practical sugar busting PMS tidbits you can try.

Why the cravings and feelings in the first place?

As any woman knows, the week before our cycle, our hormones go a bit mental. The stress hormone Cortisol increases and the happy hormone Serotonin decreases.

These biological changes remove our sense of emotional well being where generally happy feelings are likely to be replaced with irritability, anger, exhaustion and depression – personality depending.

I’m not really an angry person so my pre-menstrual symptoms usually manifest in some form of crying and a more pronounced irritation at something irrational like a wobbly table! (This was the most recent one I can think of!).

To add to that bundle of fun, it’s common to bloat and retain water. It’s not abnormal to increase 5-10lbs through water retention and when clothes feel tight and uncomfortable, it’s just not fun. I will have a few days where I don’t want to wear half of my wardrobe and feel like a baby elephant – I get the water retention bad.

Psychologically all of this can cause sugar cravings primarily the form of emotional comfort, especially if sugar is your default emotional crutch where habits are well established i.e you’ve always reached for chocolate to feel better. We aren’t feeling great and it’s our natural response to reach for sweet sugary comfort which does temporarily increase our happy hormones serotonin and dopamine. So our brains know that it does work.

Another reason why we can crave sugar at this time is potential magnesium deficiency. During this second half of our menstrual cycle when progesterone and estrogen are elevated, magnesium levels plummet and our bodies are naturally going to crave it.

Guess what’s magnesium rich? CHOCOLATE!!

dark-brown-milk-chocolat

So what can you do to help with these crazy cravings. Here are my best strategies:

1. Up the magnesium

First one is obvious given the whole magnesium thing. Dark chocolate or cacao which has as little sugar as possible and is as minimally processed as possible is actually pretty healthy and will up your magnesium levels. I personally love cacao nibs (click here for 5 easy ways to use them), Lindt 99% and 85% dark chocolate to get my fix. Here’s a video showing you the comparative sugar content between %s.

Don’t forget you’ve got raw cacao powder you can add to smoothies or make a completely sugar and sweetener free low sugar hot chocolate recipe.

low-sugar-hot-chocolate

Green leafy vegetables like spinach, along with some nuts and seeds like pumpkin, sunflower and sesame seeds are also a good source of magnesium. You can add all of these things as an addition to most meals and snacks pretty easily e.g. scrambled eggs, salads, soups etc. It goes without saying to just try and keep your diet as healthy, well balanced and varied as possible.

spinach-sugar-cravings

 

You might also want to look into magnesium supplementation. I’ve never done this myself but I will point you in the direction of Dr Carolyn Dean who shares loads of helpful information to help you decide if this is an option you want to explore.

2. Ease up on any restriction

You may have also noticed that you want to eat a lot more during this part of your cycle. Carbohydrates, fat and sugar especially. This ‘I could eat a horse’ feeling can feel frustrating, especially if you’re conscious about your weight (which is even more likely due to bloating & water retention).

So what’s the remedy?

Recognise what’s going on with your body, emotions and cycle and resist any urges to do some drastic form of diet or restriction. These are likely going to backfire and install unhealthy mindsets that don’t serve a good relationship with food or sugar. Binges at this point will inevitably be more likely and your body wants and needs more food, so allow for it. You wont’ be as hungry the other weeks and accepting this natural cycle is really eating in line with your body. 

It’s also worth practice intuitive eating more attentively – so really listen to your hunger and cravings and try to eat the healthiest version of what you’re body is craving.

So if you’re craving starchy carbohydrates, could some roasted sweet potato fries do the job? If you’re hankering for some fat, could you add some extra grass fed butter to your veg or eggs? If ice cream is screaming your name, could you top some full fat creamy yoghurt with berries and grated dark chocolate? Or blend a frozen banana with some coconut cream and a drizzle of chocolate. Yum!

bananachocolate

Try to resist thinking black and white at this point and really seek those lowest sugar or healthy carb middle ground options that will satiate your cravings and feed the hunger.

3. Up Serotonin in other ways

If you know you habitually use sugar or sweet things to feel good, it’s time to up your serotonin in other ways and start getting these established as new habits. Think exercise, sleep, massages etc.

Feeling stressed? Move your body for the pure reason to feel good and get a happy fix (not just to counter and burn what you eat). So take the pressure off how long or hard you workout for and really seek to find something where you enjoy the actual process of the exercise.

Start prioritising your sleep as a health non-negotiable and maybe treat yourself to a massage. Also don’t underestimate the powerful hormonal fix you get from connecting with friends, partners and loved ones around this time too.

Start building these things in as your more default emotional coping mechanisms habit by habit. Track them. Get some accountability to start doing them more. 

If you want more hormone knowledge, two books I would recommend having read both are The Hormone Cure by Sara Gottfried and The Woman Code by Alisa Vitti.

4. Body confidence, mindfulness & gratitude

I didn’t’ have my menstrual cycle for nearly two years and it was somewhat nerving to say the least. Now when I am throwing a tantrum at my wardrobe, feeling fat and the rest of it, I bring my mindfulness practice right into play to consciously remind myself of a few things – most notably, that my body doing all of this jazz is healthy and I am not to take this this for granted.  

If you are feeling fed up getting PMS cravings and symptoms, chances are your body is working as it should! You’re able to reproduce and is going through the motions which when you think about all that is going on inside, it’s quite an incredible thing. Eating a bit more than usual if it happens can be managed. 

Being aware of your emotions, how they tie into your cycle, what’s going on in your head with yourself and how it all plays out into your habits and decisions is where mindfulness and emotional intelligence can really come into it’s element as a low sugar lifestyle strategy. 

Just consciously practice catching your thoughts and turn any negative ones on their head where you can. Then add in some gratitude. Don’t beat yourself up for overeating a little chocolate and instead use it to practice slowing down and mindful eating. I find journalling in the morning really helps, doing some form of movement everyday (even if it’s a seemingly lame 1k run) and actively try to process negative emotions with talking to friends, dancing and time off.

running-serotonin

 

In a nutshell

If you get sugar cravings for one crazy week a month – know you’re not alone and well, you’re normal!

Eat all things raw and dark cacao.

Put in place your magnesium and serotonin strategies.

Practice intuitive eating over anything restrictive and make ‘better’ low sugar choices where you can.

Finally, be mindful of what is going on with your wonderful healthy body and practice gratitude where you can (even for that irritating wobbly table ha!).

How do you find your sugar cravings are before your period? Do you crave particular things? Chocolate? Share in a comment below or just let me know if this has been helpful – I hope it has!
Laura xx

 

greek-style-yoghurt

Greek style yoghurt vs greek yoghurt

So the question is do you know the difference between greek and greek style yoghurt?

I’ve used yoghurt as a sugar busting staple for years now. I put it in low sugar smoothies; mix it up with sugar-free granola and/or fruit; and quite often eat it as a dessert with a few cacao nibs sprinkled over the top.

So one day I figured I wanted to know the difference between greek style yoghurt and greek yoghurt and understand the differences.  So here’s the lowdown and a few other greek style yoghurt facts to keep you in the know.

greek style yoghurt

Greek style yoghurt vs. greek yoghurt

A while back I went for a super healthy lunch with yoghurt pro Alison White from Total Greek (also known as FAGE).

We chatted all things yoghurt, life and sugar-free foods whilst drinking a glass of sparking wine ha!

greek style yoghurt vs. greek yoghurt

Here are some handy Greek yoghurt facts you may not know that will help you make informed decisions without getting lured or misled by marketing or packaging.

  • A really thick yoghurt has either got there in two ways:

1) it was either strained a few times to remove the whey or

2) it has had milk protein powder, starch or other additives added to it to get there. The easiest way really to determine this is to look at the ingredients list.

  • In the UK there is a difference between ‘Greek yoghurt’ and ‘Greek Style Yoghurt’. Greek yoghurt now has to be authentically made in Greece. Greek style yoghurt is just made to seem like it and can be thickened by either one of the two processes above.
  • In America, anything can be called ‘Greek’ – basically this whole Greek style yoghurt thing in the UK is the result of a big court case between Total and Chobani. Total (or FAGE) yoghurt is at present the leading authentic Greek yoghurt brand on the market.

This post isn’t sponsored FAGE UK, I simply wanted to share this because I think it’s quite useful to know and found it personally interesting. Buying sugar-free yoghurts can often be utterly confusing and I know I get a lot of questions about it via e-mail.

I do personally think Total Greek are one brand with a very good quality product for lower sugar living. They also have some superb healthy (& many sugar-free) yoghurt infused recipes on their website too – these sweet potato fries with rosemary garlic yoghurt dip being one of my favourites.

However there are other cheaper Greek yoghurt style yoghurts made by the supermarket brands that are still sugar-free and healthy.

I’ll also mention that have the Total Greek Cookbook which generally has a great selection of yoghurt infused recipes. There are some that use sugar though too so you have to filter through a little.

The difference between Greek yoghurt vs. natural yoghurt

Now you’ve got Greek style yoghurt vs. greek yoghurt sorted, here’s a video I made explaining the difference between Greek yoghurt and natural. Yes let’s go yoghurt crazy today!

What’s worth remembering is that when it comes to managing hunger, Greek yoghurt has a higher protein count – 10g per 100g compared to 5-6g in natural yoghurt – thus it will keep you fuller for longer.

Also remember that about 4-7g of the sugars listed in yoghurt are the natural lactose sugar, which doesn’t count as sugar (of the fructose kind) on a sugar-free or lower sugar diet.

Always check for added sugar in the ingredients list though.

greek style yoghurt protein

My transition off sugary yoghurts

In my former sugary years I used to eat a ‘Muller Light’ or low fat fruity yoghurt pretty much every day, sometimes 2-3 a day.

I did this for literally years.

A fruity yoghurt was often my ‘healthy’ post meal sweet fix – anyone used it the same?

At University I would chose the cheapest and – shame-shock-horror – I even used to buy those Sainsbury’s basics low fat fruity yoghurts at one point. Yes I did, sins confessed!

When I moved to London I would buy Muller Lights, Shapers, Activia brands or whatever was on special offer. I am still in awe of the entire supermarket aisle that is awash with colourful wide variety of sugar laden yoghurts.

When people today ask me why I started Happy Sugar Habits, I often say it’s because I was simply mortified at discovering some of the yoghurts I loved had a shocking 15g of sugar in them and no-one back then was talking about this.

greek-style-yoghurt

So I wrote a blog post on the lower sugar yoghurts and things went from there.

These days I don’t touch fruity sugar-filled yoghurts – they just don’t appeal. Of all the sugary things out there, I really don’t miss these. A mouthful of one every now and then confirms this to me – they are way too sweet, sickly and taste a bit artificial. I would rather drizzle some brown rice syrup or good quality honey on some full fat natural yoghurt to get something a bit sweeter when I do fancy it.

Do you eat yoghurt and what with? Breakfast? Dessert? Any more questions just hit me up with a comment below.

30 low sugar recipes to tame your sweet tooth

When it comes down to it, it’s what you eat day in day out that will drive how much of a preference you have to sweetness.

The eating psychology, emotional and mindset side of things when shifting around sugar are of course NOT to be underestimated in any sense. However, learning to make, love and habitually eat lower sugar food at least 80% of the time will keep you in that zone where you really can taste stuff that is too sweet being too sweet.

That’s a powerful place because you build trust in yourself, you self regulate around sugar better, you use less willpower and you eat lower sugar without thinking and without it being a ‘diet’ (which can backfire anyway).

In a weird way it lets you eat sugar when you want it more freely.

So to help you get this lower sugar regularity into your life, I’ve compiled 50 ‘properly’* sugar-free recipes that will do this – decrease your preference to sweetness with repeated use.

*When I say ‘properly’, I mean no medjool dates overload or made sweet with a large portion of a sugar substitute like honey or stevia. Some of them might use a little of a sugar substitute or dark chocolate here or there but I’ve checked it’s small enough to keep these in the less sweet category. I haven’t bothered putting too many mains or salads in here because most of the time they are low sugar anyway.

This list is a mixture of my own and from other great websites and I’ve added some helpful notes around each. ENJOY!!

the (1)

1. Lemon cashew melts

IMG_1825

A great recipe for those post meal sweet cravings. These can keep for a long time and be eaten straight from the freezer. They are super easy to make and packed full of satiating healthy fat where you’re using coconut oil and cashew butter. The lemon twist makes them totally delicious.

Get the recipe here.

2. Coconut vanilla ice cream

COconut-ICe-Cream

Completely sugar-free and with just two ingredients this recipe is crazy simple. Thanks to Sonnet over on In Sonnet’s Kitchen it’s the completely sugar-free answer to a Bounty ice cream. Make sure you use quality full fat coconut milk and a fresh vanilla pod to really get the maximum flavor. Add your own fresh fruit as optional and enjoy as a delightful dessert.

Get the recipe here

3. Rosemary & walnut granola

rosemary-walnut-granola-spoon

We always think of granola having to be sweet but have you ever considered a savoury option instead? Rosemary is an incredibly flavoursome herb that will tantalise your tastebuds so much you’ll forget sugar ever exists!

Get the recipe here

4. Sweet potato smoothie

sweet-potato-smoothie

Smoothies are usually packed with fruit, which whilst healthy, can be a fair load of sugars in one hit. For a less sweet smoothie fix, why not try this unusual sweet potato smoothie which uses just ½ a banana, a sweet potato and desiccated coconut to sweeten. It’s thick, creamy, filling and delicious.

Get the recipe here

5. Warrior banana protein loaf

Warrior-Loaf-750x488

Love banana bread? This is an amazing lower sugar alternative where just a few bananas nicely sweeten a whole 8 portion loaf. Matt and Keris from Fitter Food have also managed to pack loads of protein and superfoods into it so it’s super filling and packs a nutrient punch 10x better than conventional banana bread.

Get the recipe here

6. Maca almond coconut fudge

macafudgeside

Sugar and butter are usually the main two ingredients of fudge, however this recipe magically has neither. Using almond butter, coconut oil, desiccated coconut and adding flavour with a superfood powder, this is fudge of the healthiest variety.

Get the recipe here

7. Crunchy harissa chickpeas

reciper_harrisa_chickpeas

You don’t want nuts but you want something crunchy and satisfying that’s a transportable sugar-free snack? Enter in these tasty roasted chickpeas by Amelia Freer which make an ideal snack and are super simple to make with just a few ingredients.

Get the recipe here

8. Savoury olive and almond flapjacks

savoury-olive-almond-flapjacks3

Traditional flapjacks are usually packed with sugar, golden syrup and dried fruit. Why not turn sweet flapjacks on their head and try a super tasty savoury version. These are great to make on the weekend and keep handy around the house or can be a great thing to bake for guests or friends who want something a bit unusual.

Get the recipe here

9. Cashew & vanilla butter

cashewvanillabutter

Nut butters in general are a great lower sugar staple but if you fancy one with just an extra bit of sweetness and an unusual twist, this fantastically simple vanilla cashew combination by Deliciously Ella could be one to try. Use it as a sugar-free porridge topping, mixed in with natural yoghurt or on a slice of toast instead of jam. Yum!

Get the recipe here

10. Quinoa, courgette & spinach bake

spinach-quinoa-bake

Making a big breakfast bake for the week is a low sugar lifestyle winner for sure. You’re able to get vegetables and protein in whilst saving yourself masses of time. If you’re still wanting a bit of a substance, this quinoa based bake is perfect and super satisfying

Get the recipe here

11. Buckwheat & oat bread

buckwheatloaf

I know eggs for breakfast aren’t always the most practical which is why I would encourage making a savoury loaf instead to keep handy as a quick grab. Also a great addition to salads at lunch time. This super seedy grain packed one by Madeleine Shaw is the perfect sugar-free, high in protein packed goodness to do the job.

Get the recipe here

12. Cardamon & buckwheat no bake bars

IMG_5004

Sometimes a delicate flavour can add a slight sweetness to a recipe that reduces the need for an excess of sickly syrup or dates. Cardamon is one of those that can work some serious sugar-free magic. There’s a smidgen of rice malt syrup used in this recipe to help them stick together but the simple flavours and textures combine to make these satisfying and sweetish without being an overload.

Get the recipe here

13. Quinoa sushi

quinoasushi1

It hurt me too when I found out, but yes sushi rice unfortunately does usually contain sugar. Now I usually have it out only once in a while so I’m not bothered for those few occasions when I do fancy it, but if you do decide you want sushi in your life more often, you could be really clever and make this sugar-free quinoa variety by the Sugar-free fairy.

Get the recipe here

14. Butternut squash and coconut soup

butternut-squash-coconut-soup

Butternut squash soup of the shop bought variety usually has sugar or something sweet added to it which is a shame as it’s a warming winter staple. Making your own and usuing the creamy richness of coconut milk will bring out the same natural sweetness of the recipe sans the sugar.

Get the recipe here

15. Roasted tomato & quinoa soup

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Again tomato soup is a sugar culprit. Shop bought varieties and even restaurant ones tend to have quite a bit of sugar in them – more than other soups do. This tomato soup recipe from Laura Agar Wilson of Wholeheartedly Healthy has naturally sweetened this soup through roasting the tomatoes. She’s also added quinoa and avocado to the recipe that adds a bit more substance through protein and fat to make the soup into more of a meal.

Get the recipe here

16. Salmon & leek bake

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Getting some oily fish in your breakfast kicks you off with super healthy protein and fat that set your tastebuds on the healthy low sugar train for the rest of the day. If you’re a salmon fan, this bake suffices as a totally delicious breakfast that will nourish and make you forget cereal ever existed.

Get the recipe here

17. Basil & spinach pesto

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You can really tantilise your tastebuds and make your food taste incredible with other flavour combinations that don’t go anywhere near sugar. Pesto is one of those wonder ingredients that can be combined with chicken, vegetables or eggs to add instant flavour that will make you literally fall in love with savoury food over and over again. This classic recipe from I Quit Sugar is just one of a number of great variations they have on their great sugar-friendly recipe website.

Get the recipe here

18. Completely sugar-free muesli

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Whilst many muesli’s can be added sugar free, they can still be packed with dried fruit and drive your cravings up if you’re not careful. It can be a much better idea to make your own dried-fruit free base and then add a fresh fruit like a few berries to naturally sweeten. This is a basic sugar-free muesli base recipe that is a low sugar stock cupboard staple once you make it up.

Get the recipe here

19. Courgette, mint & feta frittas

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Another way to have a savoury breakfast that feels fun and indulgent. Cheesy courgette frittas don’t seem healthy but if you fry them in a healthy oil then they can be. You can make a big batch of these ones from We Heart Living to carry as a sugar-free breakfast or keep as a nice snack in the fridge. Add greek yoghurt, a salsa or sour cream to serve

Get the recipe here

20. Creamed coconut sweet potato balls

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Energy type snack balls are usually packed with dates which although healthy are still pretty sweet. Why not try a truly sugar-free option with these sweet potato and creamed coconut balls. They are filling and satisfying whilst just being slightly sweet.

Get the recipe here

21. Sugar-free tomato sauce

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It’s a staple yet most shop bought tomato sauces do nearly always contain sugar so having a sugar-free recipe in tow is essential. Although it’s an effort to make your own, you realise that it can taste so much more delicious and fresh. I love Deliciously Ella’s vegan recipe and in addition to all the traditional uses, my favourite is sugar-free tomato sauce slathered on a slice of rye bread with sliced avocado and maybe an egg for breakfast.

Get the recipe here

22. Sugar-free BBQ sauce

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BBQ sauce is a favourite for some but another sugar laden condiment that does the rounds. Thanks to Alex at Spoonfulofsugarfree.com you can have some fun recreating your own sugar-free version to impress your BBQ guests. Thanks Alex!

Get the recipe here

23. Smokey vegetable fried eggs

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Sometimes keeping it simple is best. Fried eggs are simple, quick and easy and will always be a low sugar breakfast winner in whatever form. It’s best to add some colourful vegetables if you can so try this smokey vegetable fried eggs option as the perfect brunch option.

Get the recipe here

24. Cauliflower & coconut tart

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It’s important to feel like you can still indulge and eat super delicious things without the need for sugar. Rich creamy recipes are especially great for this and this cauliflower and coconut tart from Honestly Healthy fits that bill perfectly with lots of vegetables mixed in. It’s also efficient where it could easily be cooked on go and eaten for dinner, lunch with a salad or even for breakfast.

Get the recipe here

25. Berry & avocado smoothie

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Smoothies can be either pretty high in sugar or much lower depending on the amount of fruit and sugar substitutes you put in them. Whilst always healthy, lower sugar smoothies will keep you more sensitive to sweet. Filling out your smoothie or a creamy component like avocado or natural yoghurt can help you keep them tasty and lower on the sugar side of things and this recipe does exactly that.

Get the recipe here

26. Dark chocolate avocado truffles

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Some days, only chocolate will do. It’s good to have some options and even though these truffles have a little sugar, they are extremely low sugar in comparison to a Lindt truffle ball. They also pack in the nutrition and healthy fat from avocado and are super fun to make.

Get the recipe here

27. Sweet Potato & Walnut cake

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Craving cake or carbohydrates but don’t want the sugar? Whilst this isn’t low carbohydrate, it really can curb a full on cake craving and you can keep portions in the freezer that can be microwaved into a instant sugar-free cake deterrent. It has no sugar substitute whatsoever where it’s sweetened with only coconut and sweet potato. I personally have used this recipe a lot and it’s the most popular one on my website.

Get the recipe here.

28. Salt & vinegar nuts

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Nuts are like a staple low sugar snack that you may find yourself frequently using but they can get a bit boring if you’ve been using them regularly. It’s really important you keep things interesting so you don’t go nuts on nuts! There are some fab recipes out there to jazz up your nuts but this salt ‘n’ vinegar one from Fitter Food is a good one to try and might starve off crisp cravings at the same time!

Get the recipe here

29. Kale & avocado porridge

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Think porridge always means sweet? Think again! I never got around to getting a truly savoury porridge or oatmeal recipe up on to the blog but I want to show that it’s possible. Shape.com have some great starter recipes – particularly they kale and avocado porridge topping with cacao nibs! If you try please report back to me!

Get the recipe here

30. Sweet potato & coconut bake

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Want what feels like a dessert for breakfast? This naturally sweet tasting coconut and sweet potato bake feels decadently indulgent and is completely sugar-free. Add some cream or full fat natural yoghurt to really compliment the textures. It bears some similarity to traditionally sweet bread and butter pudding but without the sugar.

Get the recipe here

So now I am completely exhausted from putting this together and want to eat everything! If this has been helpful then please do share. All these amazing other individuals that I’ve mentioned – health gurus, chefs and photographers do amazing work and there’s plenty of low sugar foodie love to share.

Any more great ones you’d like to add in a comment below please do!

Laura xx