We all love a little sugar, but America’s sweet tooth has gone way overboard. From drinks to snacks to desserts, there is plenty of sugary fare. And too many of us are indulging too much and too often.
We each have our own favorite sugary foods and these are the 10 top sugary temptations for my family and me -- and some alternatives that will still satisfy.
Temptation #1: An Ice Cold Sweetened Tea Drink
When you are thirsty the idea of an ice-cold flavorful ice tea beverage can be so tempting. Drinking a 16-ounce bottle of sweet ice tea adds about 160 calories and about 40 grams of sugar.
As long as you are fine with the alternative sweetener aspartame, you can usually find some of the same flavors in a diet version with zero calories.
An even better option is to brew your own highly flavored green, black, or white tea and keep it in the refrigerator for a refreshing cold drink a few hours later. No sweetener is needed, because the iced tea has so much flavor of its own.
Some of the tea bags I’ve found to make the best ice tea are blueberry pomegranate green tea, mandarin orange green tea, and vanilla caramel black tea.
Temptation #2: Creamy Raspberry Yogurt
Yogurt is such a great snack, given the fact that it pumps up your day with protein and probiotics. The problem is that some flavored yogurts can ratchet up the sugar to the tune of 33 grams of sugar per 6-ounce serving.
Light yogurtsabound -- sweetened with alternative sweeteners. But you can also create your own. Here's how:
- Start with a container of plain regular or Greek yogurt.
- Stir in 1/4 teaspoon vanilla paste and a teaspoon or two of brown sugar (add a pinch of ground cinnamon if you desire).
- Add 1/3 to 1/2 cup of fresh or frozen chopped berries.
By making your own flavored yogurt, the total sugar decreases to about 16 grams (9 grams are from the lactose in yogurt and 3 are from the berries.)
You also get four grams of fiber per serving, plus assorted nutrients and phytochemicals from the raspberries.
Temptation #3: Candy Bar
Whether it’s an afternoon slump or pre-dinner energy dip, that candy bar in the work vending machine or corner market can be awfully tempting. For example, the 2-ounce version of a popular bar adds 35 grams of sugar.
Slow down your chocolate enjoyment and ramp up the chocolate intensity just by switching to bittersweet or semi-sweet chocolate chips that have at least 60% cacao (often noted on the front of the package). The more nonfat cocoa solids a chocolate product or food contains, the more antioxidants it tends to contribute.
Pop a couple of chips in your mouth at a time and let the chocolate melt in your mouth on its own. Sixteen dark chocolate chips (0.5 ounce) contain just 6 grams of sugar and they add one gram of fiber.