If you're reading this while wearing a cozy flannel t-shirt and sipping on pumpkin-flavored coffee, then it's safe to say you love fall just as much as we do. Who doesn't enjoy picking apples, watching football, or bringing out the Crockpot to slow cook your favorite autumn recipes?
It's easy to get caught up in daydreams of apple streusel and pumpkin-spiced lattes. But as the change in season marks the official countdown to the holidays, it's even easier to overindulge in added sugars.
What Are Added Sugars?
- Sugar-sweetened beverages—soda, fruit juice, sports energy drinks, sweetened iced tea.
- Baked goods—cookies, brownies, dinner rolls, pastries
- Desserts—cakes, pies, ice cream
- Sweets—chocolate, gummies, candy bars
But added sugars don't limit themselves to only processed food. Consider your morning cup of coffee or tea. Do you add sugar or liquid sweetener? And how many cups do you consume throughout the day? That all could be added sugar, and since most Americans consume more than the recommended daily amount of sugar, this simple morning routine could easily put you over:
About 15% of the calories in the American adult diet come from added sugars. That’s about 22 teaspoons of added sugar a day. Sugars are usually added to make foods and drinks taste better. But such foods can be high in calories and offer none of the healthful benefits of fruits and other naturally sweet foods (The National Institutes of Health).
Now, let's factor in carbohydrates. Carbs come in three different forms: starch, fiber, and sugar, which our bodies break down and transfer into energy. But not all carbs offer the same nutritional value. Unprocessed carbs, for example, contain fiber and vitamins while most processed foods contain refined carbs, which are mostly stripped of their nutritional benefits.
Because the body digests refined carbohydrates faster than unprocessed carbs, they give us a quick burst of energy, which can also cause an increase in blood sugar.
So, in addition to monitoring any added sugar, you'll also want to pay close attention to the number of total carbohydrates per serving.
Okay, ready for the good news?
You can reduce your sugar intake while still enjoying many delicious fall recipes. Don't believe us? Below, we've listed 5 autumn recipes to try at home that can help you cut down on added sugars and carbs.
5 Fall-Inspired Recipes to Help Reduce Added Sugars
Cauliflower Mac and Cheese: This recipe delivers the cheesy, gooey goodness you're looking for from this classic fall dish. Feel warm and fuzzy, yet? You will soon! Created by That Low Carb Life®, this recipe replaces traditional elbow noodles with cauliflower rice that's layered with cheese.
Total Grams of Sugar Per Serving: 2 grams
Total Carbs: 7 grams
Buffalo Cauliflower Wings: What's fall without a Sunday football game? And really, what pairs better with watching your favorite sports team than a plate of hot buffalo wings? In this recipe by Wholesome Yum, these wings are baked, not fried, and it swaps out white flour with almond flour. This dish is typically a popular staple among the low carb community and tastes delicious. Just watch your portions!
Total Grams of Sugar Per Serving: 3 grams
Total Carbs: 8 grams
Sugar-Free Pumpkin Spice Creamer: Okay, coffee fans. We couldn't exactly leave you wondering if pumpkin-spiced beverages were off the table. In this creative sugar-free recipe by Sweet As Honey, you'll blend unsweetened almond milk and heavy cream with pumpkin pie spices to create a delicious, soul-satisfying taste that pairs well with your daily cup of hot or iced coffee.
Total Grams of Sugar Per Serving: 0 grams
Total Carbs: 1.3 grams
Apple Cider Donuts: Is there anything better than the smell of fresh, apple cider donuts to pair with your morning cup of coffee? If you're dealing with a sweet tooth this season, this recipe by Sugar-Free Mom allows you to enjoy your favorite fall flavors without worrying too much about added sugar or carbs. Perfect for breakfast or a treat in the evening, you'll love savoring these goodies. Just remember to share!
Total Grams of Sugar Per Serving: 1 gram
Total Carbs: 5 grams
Crustless Apple Pie: Last but not least is another sugar-mindful dessert recipe that's packed with all your favorite fall spices and is sure to draw up old memories of growing up. The Sugar-Free Diva keeps it simple and delicious. Instead of crust, this dessert uses rolled oats, cinnamon, and a brown sugar alternative to give you all your favorite fall flavors and aromas without the extra sugar per serving.
Total Grams of Sugar Per Serving: 7 grams
Total Carbs: 12 grams
Remember to Check Food Labels for Added Sugar
In addition to trying these recipes, you can also check food labels at your local grocer to identify which products contain added sugars. The number of added sugars (per serving) will typically be located under "total sugars" and may say "includes" before the amount to inform you that, of the total sugar content, X amount is added sugar.
The FDA recommends scanning your food label and paying careful attention to the daily value (DV) percentage of total sugars. Anything 5% DV, or less, is considered a low source of added sugars vs. anything 20%, or higher, is considered a high score of added sugar.
Need More Inspiration for Tonight's Dinner?