Load Up on Naturally Sweet Foods
Trying to cut down on refined sugar without using artificial sweeteners? Get creative with healthy foods. There are plenty of fruits, vegetables, cereals, and snacks that can satisfy your sweet tooth. These foods aren’t empty calories and a source of cavities. They add flavor as well as fiber, vitamins, and minerals.1
Variety is the spice of life. Try to vary the fruits and vegetables you eat to include sweet, tart, and savory. Pick whole fruits instead of juice so that you’ll get more fiber and no added sugar.2
Sweet, colorful, and nutritious
Try these sweet fruits and vegetables to mix things up for your taste buds:
Sweet potatoes. These holiday favorites are packed with vitamin C, vitamin E, beta carotene, folic acid and potassium. Slice and bake them for sweet potato fries.3
Peppers. Slice up a rainbow of red, yellow, and orange peppers to add a sweet and spicy flavor to salads, rice, chicken, and fish. Peppers have a chemical that provides anti-inflammatory benefits, and they also may act as a blood thinner.4
Seasonal fruit. Take advantage of the luscious summer bounty of healthy, sweet fruits such as blueberries and cherries.5,6 The substances in cherries promote heart health and reduce cancer risk. Plus, they contain fiber and vitamin C.5
Spice it up
Spices also can help bring out sweet flavor in foods without contributing calories:
Mix ginger with a fruit glaze to top fresh fruit.
Try cinnamon with hot cereal.
Enhance flavor in cookies and rice with nutmeg.
Add cinnamon, ginger or nutmeg to coffee before brewing.
Sprinkle ginger over cooked carrots or cinnamon over sweet potatoes.7
1 “Background on Carbohydrates and Sugar.” International Food Information Council. www.foodinsight.org/Resources/Detail.aspx?topic=Background_on_Carbohydrates_Sugar Accessed 2010.
2 “Finding Your Way to a Healthier You.” Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. www.health.gov/dietaryguidelines/dga2005/document/html/brochure.htm#b3 Accessed 2010.
3 “Sweet Potatoes Are at Their Peak.” by Kristin Sessums, produced by American Dietetic Association, September 19, 2006. www.mysrhs.com/sweet-potatoes Accessed 2010.
4 “Peppers Are Nothing to Sneeze At.” American Dietetic Association, June 18, 2008. www.eatright.org/Public/content.aspx?id=3485 Accessed 2010.
5 “Dive into Sweet Cherry Season.” American Dietetic Association, July 23, 2010. www.eatright.org/Public/content.aspx?id=6442452692&terms=cherries Accessed 2010.
6 “July Is National Blueberry Month.” American Dietetic Association, July 1, 2008. www.eatright.org/Public/content.aspx?id=3494&terms=blueberries Accessed 2010.
7 “Sweet Doesn’t Always Mean More Sugar.” American Dietetic Association, May 1, 2007. www.eatright.org/Public/content.aspx?id=3228&terms=sugar Accessed 2010.