6 Best Snacks for Anyone Cutting Out Sugar, According to a Nutritionist
If you're trying to wean yourself off sugar, you know that eating on the go can get tricky. So many packaged (and easily portable) foods are full of the sweet stuff. But luckily, there are a few healthy low-sugar and no-added-sugar snacks out there. The six below are rich in nutrients to help you refuel. Whether you like savory or slightly sweet, crunchy or chocolatey, you're sure to find options that satisfy. Stock up and keep them handy, so you’re well prepared when that 3 o’clock craving comes calling.
Cynthia Sass is Health’s contributing nutrition editor, a New York Times best-selling author, and a consultant for the New York Yankees and Brooklyn Nets.
1) Biena Chickpea Snacks
With just three ingredients—chickpeas, sunflower oil, and sea salt—this crunchy plant-based snack is simple and completely free of added sugar. One serving provides 6 grams each of protein and fiber, and 8% of your daily iron needs. Bonus: chickpeas, a member of the pulse family, have been shown to help protect against type 2 diabetes and support weight management.
Buy It: Biena Chickpea Snacks
2) SuperSeedz Maple Sugar and Sea Salt
Even though organic sugar and maple syrup appear in the ingredient list on this bag of pumpkin seeds, the amount of sugar per quarter cup serving is just 3 grams, or less than one teaspoon worth. (I think the flavor is worth that bit of sweetener, but if you prefer a zero-sugar option, choose the Sea Salt variety). A quarter cup portion packs a generous 7 grams of plant protein, along with 10% of your daily iron needs, 15% of your zinc needs, and 30 to 60% of the recommended amount of phosphorus, magnesium, and manganese.
3) Quinn Organic Sea Salt Popcorn
Each bag in this box contains organic popcorn, sea salt, and nothing else. Popcorn count as a whole grain, and packs an antioxidant punch that rivals produce. Because it’s airy, you get to eat a decent-size portion without racking up excess carbs. One serving (three cups popped) satisfies 12% of your daily fiber target, and contains just 80 calories, primarily from 16 grams of total carb (about the amount in one slice of bread).
Buy It: Quinn Organic Sea Salt Popcorn
4) Amrita Chocolate Chip Coconut Minis
These bite-size bars—made from dried fruit, cocoa powder, chia seeds, coconut, and brown rice protein—are free from allergens and ingredients commonly associated with intolerances, including gluten, dairy, soy, egg, and nuts. At just 3 grams of sugar per mini, you can get a chocolatey fix along with 4 grams of plant protein.
5) Elan Granola Shot Paleo Mix
Maple syrup is toward the bottom of the list of ingredients in this granola, which contains just 2 grams of sugar per 1/3 cup. The other ingredients are cashews, sunflower seeds, Brazil nuts, pumpkin seeds, unsweetened coconut, macadamia nuts, flaxseed, and organic virgin coconut oil.
One serving provides mostly heart-healthy monounsaturated fat, along with 5 grams of protein and 3 grams of fiber. The snack also satisfies between 15% and 90% of your daily need for seven important nutrients, including the antioxidants vitamin E and selenium. Eat the granola as is, or mix it with plain grass-fed yogurt or unsweetened almond milk.
Buy It: Elan Granola Shot Paleo Mix
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6) Wonderful Roasted Pistachios
Pistachios may seem like a decadent snack, but they’re quite healthful. A pack of Wonderful pistachios (1.5 oz) has just 2 grams of natural sugar. You’ll also take in 5 grams of protein, good-for-you fat, and 15% of your daily need for four key vitamins and minerals, including vitamin B6 and manganese. (Bonus: Recent research shows that pistachios contain fewer calories than the labels state, because their fat content isn’t well absorbed from the digestive system into the bloodstream.)
Buy It: Wonderful Roasted Pistachios