11 Low-Sugar Sweet Snacks Dietitians Love Without Artificial Sweeteners
- Do you have a sweet tooth while also trying to reduce or avoid your added sugar intake? If so, you are in good company. Low-carb, sugar-free, and keto products are all the rage, yet they often contain substantial amounts of sugar alcohols and sugar substitutes, both artificial and naturally derived. While that’s not necessarily a bad thing, some people prefer a small amount of the real deal. For those of you seeking low-sugar sweet snacks, there are plenty of wholesome convenient products that taste sweet without a ton of sugar or artificial sweeteners for adults and kids alike to enjoy.
What does low sugar mean?
There’s no actual definition of a “low-sugar snack”, so let’s review the recommendations for added sugar intake. The American Heart Association suggests limiting added sugars to 24 grams per day for women and kids (6 teaspoons) or 36 grams per day for men (9 teaspoons). Remember, these sugars are added during processing so naturally occurring sugar from fruit, veggies, and plain dairy like milk, cottage cheese, or plain yogurt does not count.
I usually suggest limiting added sugars in snacks to 6 grams or less which is 25% of the daily recommended limit for women/kids. Luckily, there are many available crave-worthy low-sugar sweet snacks that fit these criteria without the help of additional non-nutritive sweeteners.
I reached out to several of my registered dietitian colleagues to share the best-tasting options they purchase themselves and recommend to their clients. Among the wide variety of recommended options, many are also gluten-free, grain-free, dairy-free, or made without the top nine allergens which means there is something available for most special dietary needs.
1. KIND Thins
With 100 calories or less and a max of 5 grams of sugar, KIND Thins are a low-sugar sweet snack that’s chewy, tasty, and wholesome with nuts as the first ingredient. They are also Kosher, gluten-free, low sodium, and contain 0 grams of trans fat. Embrace fall with limited-edition flavors like Chocolate Pumpkin Spice and Caramel Apple Cinnamon.
Buy now: KIND Thins
2. CLIF Thins
CLIF Thins are a perfectly portioned, crispy, and crunchy plant-based snack that I love when I need a light bite on the go. With 100 calories and 5 grams of sugar per pack, they pick you up without weighing you down. They are made with organic rolled oats and are available in three yummy flavors including Chocolate Chip, Chocolate Brownie, and White Chocolate Macadamia Nut.
Buy now: CLIF Thins
3. Wonderful No Shells Honey Roasted Pistachios
I love all kinds of pistachios, especially the flavored varieties when a salty-sweet craving hits. These no-shell honey roasted pistachios hit the spot with 3 grams of total sugar and less than 1 gram of added sugar per ¼ cup serving. They also pack 6 grams of complete plant protein and 3 grams of fiber to help keep you satisfied until your next meal.
4. Unreal Dark Chocolate Coconut Minis
Delicious Unreal Dark Chocolate Coconut Bars have a very short ingredient list with 8 grams of total carbohydrates and only 3 grams of added sugar without the use of sugar alcohols or artificial sweeteners. At 70 calories each they are also gluten-free and contain no sodium. The minis are an ideal size to finish off a meal with a couple of bites of this classic flavor combo.
Buy now: Unreal Dark Chocolate Coconut Bars
5. Fiber Gourmet Cinnamon and Sugar Thinables
If you are a cracker lover, Fiber Gourmet Thinables are a gift. Thanks to resistant starch, one 70-calorie serving of these yummy cinnamon sugar crackers packs an incredible 12 grams of fiber with only 2 grams of total and added sugar in 17 crackers. They don’t crumble like many crackers, making them terrific to pack in lunchboxes or take on the go for sports games or family outings.
6. Skinny Dipped Dark Chocolate Cocoa Almonds
Chocolate-covered anything is usually an indulgence, luckily these low-sugar sweet snacks bring the flavor without excess added sugar. The thin yet satisfying dark chocolate coating allows the almond flavor and crunch to shine through. For only 4 grams of total sugar (3 grams added), they offer 4 grams of protein and a whopping 5 grams of fiber which equals 20% of the daily value for women. Additional flavors clock in a little higher in sugar but still fall into the 6 grams or less category so feel free to try them all.
7. Wilde Chicken and Waffles Protein Chips
Chicken chips may sound unusual, yet this creation mimicking the flavor of a plate of chicken and waffles totally works. They are made from chicken breast, egg whites, and chicken broth while crunching like potato chips. The subtle maple syrup flavor in this variety brings only 1 gram of sugar along with 10 grams of protein and 2 grams of fiber per serving.
8. Simple Mills Seed & Nut Flour Sweet Thins
“Chocolate Brownie Seed & Nut Flour Sweet Thins are one of my go to sweet snacks when I want something crunchy, and sweet, but made with real-food ingredients”, says Celine Thompson, MS, RDN, LDN of Fueling Fertility LLC. She adds, “They are also gluten-free for those who need to follow a gluten-free diet but want treats that actually taste delicious so they don’t feel like they’re missing out on fun foods.” One serving of 12 cookies contains 140 calories and 6 grams of added sugar.
9. Siete Grain Free Churro Strips
Lindsey Janeiro, RDN of Nutrition to Fit and Healthy*ish Recipes chooses Siete Grain Free Churro Strips because they “always satisfy any sweet and crunchy craving!” She shares, “I find them delicious as-is or crumbled over Greek yogurt for a more filling snack. With no artificial sweeteners, their sweetness comes from agave syrup and coconut sugar, totaling 5 grams of total and added sugars.” They are also vegan and free of gluten, grains, and soy for those with special dietary needs.
10. Partake Crunchy Chocolate Chip Mini Cookies
“Partake Chocolate Chip Cookies are a favorite of mine because, despite the low sugar content, the flavor is not compromised”, says Ryann Jung, MS, RD. She adds, “With only 5 grams of added sugar per serving, you can still satisfy your sweet tooth while keeping your sugar intake to a minimum. Partake cookies are vegan, gluten-free, and free of the top-nine allergens, making them the perfect sweet snack for anyone to enjoy.”
11. SuperSeedz Cinnamon and Sugar Gourmet Pumpkin Seeds
“My pick is Cinnamon and Sugar SuperSeedz Gourmet Pumpkin Seeds”, says EA Stewart, MBA, RD at The Spicy RD. She adds, “I love it for a low-sugar snack because pumpkin seeds are rich in magnesium, plus they provide protein and fiber, and who doesn’t love a sprinkle of cinnamon and sugar?” A 1/4 cup serving provides 3 grams of sugar and 7 grams of protein.”
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