Easy low-sugar swaps for everyone

I’m nearing the end of my second 21 Day Sugar Detox and honestly, it really hasn’t been that hard for me.

Of course, there are the cravings, the food prep, the “no thankyou” to homemade birthday cupcakes and the endless questions for waiters when out for a meal.

But in my experience, most sugar-free problems can be quickly rectified by a little inventive thinking – identifying a swap to replace the food in questions.

Having a swap in mind also helps those around me feel comfortable about enjoying something off-limits for me when I’m munching on something else.

Doing a plan like the 21DSD for me isn’t about deprivation, it’s about choices, trying new things and fine tuning what works best for me.

Here are my favourite low-sugar swaps.

Diet Coke/fizzy drink of choice – try sparkling water, especially with a slice of lemon or lime. You’re still ordering a drink, it still comes in a bottle and it tastes special!

Also, if you’re looking for a fun drink at home, why not try kombucha? You can drink up to 230ml each day of it on 21DSD.


Peanuts/crisps – Oh bar snacks, you taunt me. However, many pubs serve mixed olives, or you could sneak your own version of crisps (apple/sweet pot work well) if not.


Snack bars – my fondness for snack bars is well charted but I’m now loving carrot sticks/pepper slices and tahini, or mixed nuts/seeds. Portable and delicious!


Also, for a speedy breakfast on the go, these apple muffins are lifesavers:


Pasta – ok, I haven’t eaten pasta for years (wheat allergy) but I can vouch for courgette noodles and steamed veg being super satisfying, with great texture.


p.s. I use a Lurch spiraliser to make it more pasta-like. 

Ice cream/dairy – coconut yoghurt is delicious and you can find 21DSD friendly varieties (coyo, coconut collaborative) in the UK. Try adding cacao nibs, chopped fruit and seeds to make it extra special.


Dried fruit – walking past the medjool dates in my local supermarket has been torture but I’m quite satisfied tucking into a fridge-cold crisp apple and almond butter instead.


I find the extra crunchy, cold texture helps makes it feel special. A dash of cinnamon also helps blood sugar cravings.

Biscuits/crackers – try raw nut and/or seed crackers. There are some great versions out there, raw health and Inspiral do rather tasty ones.


You can load them up like crackers with smoked salmon, cucumber and homemade mayo or use them as tortillas in mexican-style dishes.

Cake – there are so many recipes for paleo treats and you can sub out maple syrup/coconut sugar etc in many of them while on 21DSD.


My chocolate, coconut and banana cake has a really bready texture and icing too – what more could you want to combat cakey cravings?

Quick fixes – when you need food right now, the 21DSD sometimes seems impossible. So here are my staples to have on hand, ready prepped, for such emergencies:

Boiled eggs, smoked salmon slices, roasted veggies, nuts, coconut yoghurt, chopped carrots, olives and sundried tomatoes, sliced beetroot



Hope you’ve found some interesting swaps in there, as my food adventures continue I find more and more!

* What’s your favourite food swap?

* What go-to snack is always in your handbag?

About Flake And Cake

I'm a reporter based in Bristol who loves to wear stripes, write in shorthand and attempt to make great strides in running.
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12 Responses to Easy low-sugar swaps for everyone

  1. Always got either a Nakd bar or something new I’m trying is a small bag of cashews so I can always grab a handful when I’m on the go – it’s working really well:) some great swaps here Claire. I’m loving Harry Eastwood’s books at the moment for healthifying baking!

  2. Ooh some great tips! I too am trying to go sugar-free. My go-to snacks are now rice cakes smothered in almond butter, and a box of nuts in my desk drawer. Houmous and oatcakes are a staple too!
    Louise x

  3. I always have cereal bars in my bags – I like the Seedstacked ones, or nakd, or Clif, or Pulsin’…. as they last for months and can get bashed around without getting ruined.

  4. Right now it’s the mint cacao bounce balls but they don’t last long in my bag at all! I love to snack on plain whole almonds and apples are always a fave snack too:-)

  5. AnnaTheApple says:

    Well I’m currently swapping squash for water with lemon slices and it’s going well! Very refreshing and no huge spikes in my blood sugar where I NEED CAKE IMMEDIATELY.
    Obviously my go-to snack are apples (no almond butter or additions, just plain old fashioned apples). But at work I love snacking on pistachios as I find they’re easy to not over-consume because they’re fiddly (all other nuts are just too difficult to not overeat if I have a big bag) and they keep me full without wanting anything sweet after.

    • I’m also experiencing a lack in ‘I need cake IMMEDIATELY’ moments, which kind of makes me sad haha. Apples are so delicious, especially straight out the fridge. I had some pistachios this weekends, so good:)

  6. I am loving courgette noodles at the moment. One of my favourite healthier swaps.

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