We’ve all faced this great dilemma: how do I satisfy my hankering for a sweet snack when I know I should really stay away from sugary treats like cookies, candy, or chocolate? Upgraid has put together a list of healthy alternatives with naturally occurring sugars that are also good for you. Now while fruits like apples and melon will do the trick, your first reaction may not be vegetables. But Upgraid has done the research for you and put together a very helpful list of some of the sweetest veggies that will curb your need for a chocolate chip cookie.
Sweet and Healthy?
5 Sweet Veggies to Satisfy Your Sugar Craving
In this list, all of the portions we are referring to is equivalent to one cup. So, in alphabetical order, here are five sweet veggies that will satisfy your sweet tooth:
1. Baby Carrots
The big variety of carrots are wonderful choices as well, but we decided to focus on the smaller variety since they’re bite size and you don’t need to be bothered about skinning them.
How much naturally occurring sugar is in one cup of baby carrots?
A single cup of baby carrots consists of 6.1 grams of naturally occurring sugar.
Why choose baby carrots?
Baby carrots are an excellent source of fiber, vitamin K1, potassium, and antioxidants. These small treats also have a number of health benefits, having been linked to lower cholesterol levels and improved eye health thanks to an abundance of beta carotene that your body converts into vitamin A. What’s more, their carotene antioxidants have been linked to a reduced risk of cancer. And it’s not just orange baby carrots that are good for you. Don’t shy away from their yellow, white, red, and purple varieties.
Ahhhh, the beet. One of the sweetest vegetables on earth. And while the beet has the most grams of sugar in one cup out of all the other vegetables on this list, the beet still is incredibly healthy. While it is often cooked first (steamed or roasted typically), beets can be eaten or juiced raw as well. Beets are a phenomenal addition to a salad and especially go great with vinegar to give you that sweet and sour kick. So, what else should we know about beets? Here’s a quick primer:
How much naturally occurring sugar in one cup of beets?
A single cup of beets consists of 9 grams of naturally occurring sugar.
Why choose beets?
Beets are heart healthy and contain nitrates and pigments that may help improve athletic performance. And if you’re looking for a sweet solution to chronic inflammation, beets also have anti-inflammatory properties that rival the benefits of synthetic NSAIDs.
As a bonus, fresh beets often come with leaves and while many people clip them off and toss them out, don’t! While not sweet, they can be cooked and enjoyed just like spinach.
3. Butternut Squash
Although botanically considered a fruit, butternut squash is used culinarily as a vegetable. Butternut squash (also known as winter squash) can be used raw in salads and smoothies. While safe to eat raw most often these are enjoyed cook. When you prepare them for roasting, we advise that you cut them into snackable cubes. Once finished, you can pop these bits of heaven in your mouth hot or cold.
How much naturally occurring sugar in one cup of butternut squash?
A single cup of butternut squash consists of 3.2 grams of naturally occurring sugar.
Why choose butternut squash?
Butternut squash is an excellent a good source of fiber and potassium, and the nutrients in this type of squash makes it beneficial for digestion, blood pressure, and for eyesight and immune function due to its high levels of vitamin A. Fun fact: there is actually 20% more potassium in a cup of butternut squash than there is in a banana (one of the best known sources of potassium in a person’s average diet)!
If you exercise often, butternut squash is here to help you recover faster. Thanks to its high levels of Vitamin C, butternut squash is instrumental in repairing tissue that may have been damaged due to strenuous activities like weight lifting.
4. Sugar Snap Peas
Wouldn’t you know that the one vegetable on our list that actually contains the word “sugar” in its name has the least amount of naturally occurring sugar in one cup? Sugar snap peas — or simply snap peas — were created as a cross between the snow pea and the garden pea in the 1970s. The result: a crunchy outer pod and sweet inner peas, both edible. Just trim or snap off the ends of each pod and remove the string that runs down the seam.
How much naturally occurring sugar in one cup of sugar snap peas?
A single cup of sugar snap peas consists of 2.1 grams of naturally occurring sugar.
Why choose sugar snap peas?
This sweet treat contains fiber, iron, folate, and vitamins C and K, all for just 40 calories per cup. These peas are high in beta carotene and vitamin A. Retinol, which is a derivative of vitamin A, plays a pivotal role in the development of our immune cells which fight off foreign invaders and keeps us healthy. Oh, and they’re mighty delicious.
5. Sweet Potatoes
The last vegetable on our list has a name that doesn’t leave much room for the imagination. But that certainly doesn’t take away from the fact that the sweet potato is a superfood. So, what makes it so extraordinary. Take a look:
How much naturally occurring sugar in one cup of sweet potatoes?
A single cup of sweet potatoes consists of 6 grams of naturally occurring sugar.Why choose sweet potatoes?
Simply put, sweet potatoes are awesome. Sweet potatoes are a rich source of fiber as well as containing an array of vitamins and minerals including iron, calcium, selenium, and they're a good source of most of our B vitamins and vitamin C.
In addition, sweet potatoes — especially the orange and purple varieties — are rich in antioxidants that protect your body from free radicals, unstable molecules that can trigger inflammation.
The Final Verdict
Now that you’re armed with a bevy of knowledge about the sweet vegetable solutions, give yourself a treat and try these foods out next time you have a craving for a sugary snack. Your body will thank you!