Image credit: OLIPOP
Everything from breakfast cereal to energy bars can contain unexpected sugar content. This is because sugar is an inexpensive way for food makers to improve the taste of foods. Unless you carefully check the nutrition labels and pick healthier options for sugar swaps when you’re grocery shopping, you may be buying (and eating!) more sugar than you think.
How Much Sugar Should I Eat?
The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends you limit your daily sugar intake to less than 50 grams—even less if you consume less than 2,000 calories per day. And the American Heart suggests that added sugars make up no more than 6% of your total calorie intake.
This equates to around 100 calories or 6 tsp, and 150 calories or 9 tsp on average for women and men respectively. But a surprising array of foods contain added sugars, meaning it’s easy to eat more than you expect!
Luckily, Costco has you covered with a variety of healthier sugar swaps.
Not sure how much sugar you consume in a day? Track with MyFitnessPal (for free!).
10 Costco Swaps and How They Will Help Reduce Sugar Intake
You can reach your goals of eating a balanced diet and lowering your daily dose of sugar by making a few food swaps next time you shop.
While reading nutrition labels is a failsafe way to get a sense of the sugar content of foods, standing in a store aisle staring at fine print can make a grocery trip take longer than you might like.
To help you on your next Costco run, MyFitnessPal asked a registered dietitian for lower-sugar options to make healthy food swaps from the warehouse store shelves.
1. Swapping sugar-sweetened beverages
Sugar-sweetened drinks like soda and even fruit juices are often loaded with sugar. A cola can deliver a whopping 39 grams of added sugar in a 12-ounce can. Bottled fruit punch may have 28 grams of added sugar in an 8-ounce serving.
Instead of grabbing a case of cola, try making a healthy swap with OLIPOP, a flavored fizzy drink that contains health prebiotics and only 2 grams of sugar per can. You can also grab some sparkling water from brands like Kirkland, Spindrift, and La Croix, which contain no sugar at all!
2. Swapping ice cream
You can keep the refreshment without the sugar rush by choosing Yasso Frozen Greek Yogurt Bars for a low calorie food swap. These tasty bars contain only 9 grams of added sugars and come in a selection of delectable flavors.
3. Swapping fruit-flavored snacks
Fruit-filled cereal bars can be convenient for snacking on the go, but a single blueberry cereal bar has 11 grams of added sugar. Gummy-style fruit snacks, despite their name, contain 11 grams of sugar per serving but do not contain any whole fruit.
Try “That’s It” Mini Fruit Bars for a healthy snack swap. These tasty treats can fulfill your sugar cravings with up to 13 grams of total sugar but no added sugar. It all comes from the natural sugars in the fruit. As a bonus, they contain fiber since they are made from whole fruits.
4. Swapping traditional breakfast cereal
Sweetened breakfast cereals are a common source of added sugar. A ¾ cup serving of sugar-coated cornflakes can contain 12 grams of sugar. Cereals with bran flakes and raisins can contain as much as 9 grams of added sugar.
Try swapping in NuTrail Keto Nut Granola Blueberry Cinnamon 2-Pack which contains no added sugar and 3g of fiber per serving!
5. Swapping sports drinks
Sports drinks are a popular alternative to sodas but may not be an alternative to high sugar content. Some sports drinks contain 24 grams of sugar in a 16-ounce bottle.
If you’re making food swaps to lose weight, this is an easy win. You can get your hydration fix with Liquid IV or Liquid IV Sugar-Free.
6. Swapping yogurts with added sugars
Yogurt has a lot of nutritional benefits, such as live probiotics, which can help gut health. It’s great for adding to smoothies and offers a nice helping of protein. However, some can have 13g of added sugar or more in a single serving.
You can get the benefits of yogurt by switching to plain yogurt like Oiko Triple Zero. Add fresh berries or granola and honey for more flavor!
7. Swapping chocolate snacks
Who doesn’t like a sweet treat now and then? There’s always a time and place for some candy, but if you want a sweet treat without the added sugar you’ll find in most chocolate snacks, try Chocxo Dark Chocolate Coconut Cups.
8. Swapping bars with added sugar
Protein bars are a fantastic option for energy or a quick boost before a workout. Some protein bars use up to 16 grams of sugar to add flavor.
Rxbars contain no added sugars, and Costco has them at the best prices.
9. Swapping granola bars with added sugars
Granola bars are another great go-to snack when you’re on the go. However, a lot of granola bars can contain more sugar than you expect. Some may have as much as 12 grams per bar.
Switch those out for Made Good Granola Minis, which contain less added sugar than other brands.
10. Swapping sweetened almond milk
Almond milk is a fantastic alternative for people cutting back on dairy. You can use almond milk in cooking, in cereal, in coffee, or as a drink all by itself. However, sweetened almond milk can contain 15 grams of sugar in an 8-ounce serving.
Swap in Kirkland Signature’s Unsweetened Almond Milk to get all the benefits of non-dairy milk without all the sugar.
Balance Your Diet With Simple Swaps for a Healthier Life
There are a lot of benefits to sticking with the recommended amount of sugar consumption. Too much sugar intake leads to excess energy void of essential nutrients your body needs and possibly weight gain.
Sugar can also contribute to the risk of type 2 diabetes, heart disease and high blood pressure. Swapping out foods with high amounts of added sugar for lower-sugar options can help you stay within the daily recommended allowance of added sugar, maintain a healthy weight, and improve your health overall.
Download the MyFitnessPal app and start tracking your daily sugar intake today!