Fruit gets a bad rap due to its high sugar and carbohydrate level, even for those containing more fiber found in the skin and peels, such as apples, berries, kiwi and pears. However, while eating fruit in moderation to keep overall sugar intake low is smart, you don’t want to completely avoid fruit as many are nutrient dense and delicious.
In fact, fruit is the perfect food to nosh on when a sweet craving strikes, as it has high vitamin and mineral content and both heart-health and immunity benefits to keep you strong and well.
Of course, picking fruits that satisfy your sweet fix but for the fewest grams of sugars possible is going to provide the most benefits for your health and will help keep blood sugar stable. Excess sugar, even if natural as opposed to added, will raise risk of diabetes, heart disease and other forms of disease associated with higher levels of inflammation.
Plus, if you’re looking to lose weight or improve weight management, it’s best to choose a lifestyle that monitors carbohydrate and sugar consumption, such as the keto diet or a more low-carb approach. These are the top fruits to eat if you’re looking for low-sugar options, as well as those with more fiber content per bite. Just make sure to eat the skin, since that’s where the fiber resides!
Berries are actually keto-friendly, so many dieters will enjoy a serving of fresh or frozen blueberries, blackberries, strawberries or raspberries in a cup of plain yogurt or as a side to go with a tofu scramble or slice of avocado toast (on low-carb bread if you’re strict with grams of net carbs or are keto!). They are also packed with fiber to improve gut health and immunity, which lowers risk of illness and keeps you regular. To increase fiber further, add berries to a bowl of granola and milk. Go with unsweetened soy milk, which has a good dose of protein per serving, and a keto-friendly granola that is low in sugar, too.
Melon, especially soft and juicy watermelon, can be tricky to enjoy when it’s not fully ripe or when you’re eating it out of season, where it is harder, more green, white or light pink in appearance and not as deep red in color.
That’s why no summertime BBQ is complete without ripe, delicious watermelon that’s juicy, red and melts right in your mouth. Still, watermelon happens to be a low-sugar fruit option that is best for those looking to monitor sugar intake, such as for those with diabetes, with weight loss goals in place, or with a dietary lifestyle that limits sugar intake, such as with a keto or paleo diet. And it’s lower in sugar than other summertime fruits like pineapple, papaya and mango, all of which tend to be among the highest in sugar-laden fruits.
Definitely enjoy it when it’s in season, and for times when it isn’t, you can use it in other recipes, such as in smoothies or soups, where the need for ripeness in flavor isn’t as necessary or noticeable. And in season, eat it fresh (yum!), make fresh squeezed juice or smoothies, grill it alongside romaine and other veggies for a salad, or use it in dessert to make a sorbet (which is dairy-free!).
Kiwi happens to have as much vitamin C as an orange, and it has a hearty dose of fiber in the skin, which helps you stay fuller for longer. Plus, it has a nice sweet and sour tang to it, and while you can grab a knife and slice it, you can even just pick it up as you would with an apple and bite into it whole.
Why? Because the skin is edible! And you should eat the skin, or else you’re missing out on the fiber benefits, which will lower the total carbohydrate count of the kiwi too. Enjoy kiwi in smoothies, yogurt, salsa for tacos or chips, oatmeal, chia seed pudding and more.
Lemon and Limes
You may think of lemon and limes as being less a fruit and more a garnish; however, they can do way more than add some zest to your glass of water, lentil and kale salad, or your vodka water beverage when out. They are low in sugar and can really shine when used as a dressing or sauce that balances a dish or in a baked good, like a baked lemon loaf or poppyseed muffin or a key lime pie.
You can use lemon and lime to make fresh squeezed juice, as well as dressings, sauces and marinades, where they'll both add a tart and citrusy punch of flavor to give your recipe some tang. And you can even use lemon to prevent your avocado from browning when storing leftover avocado in the fridge for later use! It’s multi-purposeful!
Another citrus, grapefruit, is also low in sugar in comparison to other fruits, and it is a great snack or breakfast option for those with diabetes or who are looking to lose weight on a low-sugar diet. Plus, grapefruit may also suppress appetite, which can also aid in any weight loss or management efforts too!
Half a grapefruit with a tofu, avocado and veggie scramble would make a good breakfast. Or pair the grapefruit with a dairy-free yogurt and toss in protein granola, nuts and seeds, like pistachios, almonds and pumpkin seeds, to ensure enough protein for that morning meal. And if for a snack, feel free to eat the half with a handful of nuts for some protein and good fats to fill you up until your next meal.
You can also grab a protein bar and grapefruit with a knife to take on the go to then enjoy at your office (we all have those mornings, right?). You can even eat it for dessert. Just drizzle a little bit of maple syrup or honey on it for some added sweetness, and it’ll taste delicious. You can also serve with a scoop of a low-sugar or keto ice cream, like vanilla bean.