If you’re trying to limit sugar, it can be tricky to figure out all the places it’s showing up in your diet, but reading labels at the grocery store is a good place to begin. You’ll start to realize that even the foods we think of as healthy (and they often are!) can still be high in sugar if we’re not making smart decisions about which kind to buy. Next time you’re shopping these are the 5 foods to pay close attention to ensure extra sugar isn’t finding its way into your diet.
Some yogurts are so packed with sugar, they really should be considered a dessert more than a healthy breakfast or snack. The average fruit-flavored yogurt contains about 32 grams of sugar in a single-serve cup. To get the protein and calcium perks of yogurt without all the added sugar, opt for plain yogurt and to sweeten it naturally, drizzle it with a little honey or maple syrup or top it with chopped fresh fruit.
Store-bought granola is another item that’s easily disguised as a health food. If you’re wondering why your favorite bag tastes so good, it’s probably because it’s pretty loaded with sugar. The average brand contains about 25 grams or so of sugar in a cup. Your best bet is to make your own granola, so you can sweeten it to your liking — it also happens to be way more affordable to make it yourself and it’s even tastier.
While both sweetened and unsweetened non-dairy milks like almond, oat, and soy are readily available, if you don’t look at the label close enough it’s quite easy to grab the sugar-filled variety without realizing it. Depending on the brand, there may be 10 grams or more in a cup of sweetened non-dairy milk. While that’s low compared to the other items on this list, it’s added sugar that’s not really necessary so keep a close eye and grab the unsweetened kind.
Store-bought salad dressing is a surprising item to find sugar in and yet, if you glance at the label, you’ll likely find at least a handful of grams of added sugar in a serving. This is another item where there’s really no need for sugar to be in it so to avoid it altogether, opt to make your own easy salad dressing at home.
Recipe to try: Carrot, Ginger, Miso Dressing Recipe
Have you noticed that dates seem to be everywhere these days? They’re stuffed with peanut butter as a snack, blended into smoothies, and sprinkled on salads. While dates are full of good nutrition — they’re high in fiber, potassium, and magnesium — they’re also quite high in sugar. Just one date contains 16 grams of sugar and you very well may be eating more than one in a sitting. Luckily, the sugar is dates is completely natural and so it’s still a better choice than a candy bar. Knowing that they’re high in sugar helps you to be mindful when enjoying them.
Read more: Added vs. Natural Sugar: What’s the Deal?