Not all sugar is created equal. Natural sugar, found in fruit and dairy, is packaged with fiber, which helps slow digestion and prevents blood sugar crashes. These foods also offer other essential vitamins and minerals. Added sugar, on the other hand, provides zero nutritional value and can lead to blood sugar spikes and heart disease. That’s why the American Heart Association’s guidelines recommend no more than 24 grams (6 teaspoons) and 36 grams (9 teaspoons) per day for women and men, respectively.
To get a sense of your sugar intake, it’s a good idea to track what you eat and drink with an app like MyFitnessPal. From there, you can slowly cut back on added sugar. Breakfast is a great place to start, since foods like cereal, muffins and waffles are often high in added sugar.
These recipes all contain less than 7 grams of sugar per serving to keep you satiated and energized.
Why it made the cut: This tasty, RD-approved breakfast bowl contains a good balance of all three macronutrients. The egg whites provide plenty of satiating protein, and the dish is low in sodium and high in fiber thanks to the quinoa, which also contains powerful plant compounds like quercetin and kaempferol, known to have anti-inflammatory, anti-viral, anti-cancer and anti-depressant effects.
Why it made the cut: Butternut squash is rich in vitamin A, which supports the immune system, and this recipe provides 83% of your daily needs. This dish is also a great source of potassium, which helps regulate muscle contractions, and it can easily be made ahead of time.
Why it made the cut: Zucchini is low in carbs but high in insoluble fiber to support regularity and gut health. This recipe also contains almond flour in place of traditional white flour, which has a lower glycemic index, making it a better choice for people trying to manage their blood sugar.
Why it made the cut: Freekah is a flavorful ancient grain that contributes micronutrients, protein and plenty of fiber. Kale is an antioxidant-rich leafy green that also provides some protein and is rich in vitamins C and K.
Why it made the cut: This breakfast burrito offers significant amounts of fiber (10g) and protein (20g) to keep you full and satisfied until lunch. Black beans are great for bone health, too — they are rich in calcium, magnesium, manganese, copper and zinc. Save time and money by making this on-the-go option part of meal prep.