Whether it’s blatant (Lucky Charms, we’re looking at you) or hidden (packaged whole-wheat bread), added sugar tends to be a way-too-prominent ingredient in many breakfasts.
The American Heart Association advises consuming no more than 25 grams— or 6 teaspoons — of sugar per day for women and 36 grams or 9 teaspoons for men. Not a whole lot to work with there.
Between the spoonful of sugar in our coffee, the vanilla almond milk in our cereal bowl, and the cupful of that supposedly “healthy” raisin bran, we can easily exceed that limit with our morning meal alone. Eek!
Time to get breakfast back on track with food that’s filled with actual nutrition, not empty calories that do little for our energy. These recipes, containing zero added sugars, show you how.
Before we dive in, let’s just be clear. In this roundup, when we say “no sugar added,” we’re talking about ditching the processed stuff: cane sugar, maltose, sucrose, high fructose corn syrup, molasses, and other sneaky names hidden on common food labels.
But, we are keeping in natural sweeteners like dates, 100 percent pure maple syrup, and the sugars in fruits and vegetables (thank you, carrots).
Even though these natural sources are lower on the glycemic index (i.e., how much a sweetener raises your blood sugar), they are still sugar to the body, so it’s best to eat all sweets in moderation. Capish? Capish.
1. Caramel apple baked oatmeal
Caramel in a no-sugar-added recipe? Dates make it possible!
Six pieces of “nature’s candy,” processed with vanilla and water, are all it takes to make an all-natural gooey caramel sauce to swirl on top of a warm bowl of oats and chunky apples.
2. Pumpkin pie oatmeal
With cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg in here, who really needs added sugar? The spices take this recipe from plain old pumpkin oats to a warm, flavor-packed bowl of comfort.
3. Sugar-free granola
Unlike store-bought granolas that appear healthy but are complete hidden sugar bombs, this one is the real deal.
Rolled oats, nuts, and seeds lend some serious staying power, but if you absolutely need some sweetness, a bit of fresh or dried fruit is the perfect addition.
4. Savory spinach steel cut oatmeal
You don’t need to worry about any hidden sugars in your oatmeal when you’re filling it up with savory ingredients such as veggies and eggs. Pierce the yolk so that you can stir it into the mixture for some added texture.
5. Berry cheesecake quinoa parfaits
An indulgent dessert gets turned into a healthy breakfast with cooked quinoa instead of a crust and Greek yogurt stepping in for some of the cream cheese.
The sweetener is optional for good reason — it’s simply not necessary, thanks to the bananas and berries.
6. Strawberry coconut yogurt breakfast bowl
Leave out the teaspoon of maple syrup in this bowl, and it’ll be nearly sugar-free. With nut butter, strawberries, and coconut-y yogurt in each spoonful, you won’t even notice a lack of sweetness.
7. Mango coconut chia pudding
Mix three ingredients together overnight, and in the morning, you’ll wake up to a thick, healthy pudding made perfectly sweet thanks to mango chunks. It just doesn’t get easier than that.
8. Healthy 2-ingredient pancakes
Treat yourself to a short stack of these griddle cakes on even the busiest of days — it’s possible, since these require just eggs and bananas and a minute of cooking time to put together.
Plus, even with only two ingredients, they give you enough flavor so you won’t be tempted to add a glug of maple syrup. Talk about less is more.
9. Almond butter blueberry paleo waffles
It’s all about the healthy fats in this gluten-, dairy-, and grain-free recipe. Almond butter and coconut flour play leading roles in the batter. With blueberries folded in, you still get a hint of sweetness in every bite.
10. Savory buttermilk pancakes
Wake up to a different kind of buttermilk pancake with this recipe. There’s zero sugar in the batter, and they’re topped with a hearty mixed mushroom and egg topping instead of fruit compote or syrup.
11. Avocado and egg breakfast toast
There’s a version of avocado toast everywhere you look these days, but TBH, we’re not complaining. Who’d want the trend to die out when it breeds super-satisfying recipes like this one?
Slices of whole-wheat bread are topped not just with the green fruit, but also with runny eggs and a generous spoonful of cottage cheese for extra protein. Long live avocado toast.
12. Carrot cake breakfast cookies
Fewer than 10 ingredients are needed to make these cookies, and sugar is nowhere on the list. Instead, the flavor comes from raisins, bananas, cinnamon, and vanilla, which give the oat batter a whole lot of natural sweetness.
13. Pear oatmeal bars
This recipe’s sweetness comes purely from fruit — just make sure you’re using applesauce and nut butters with no added sugars (both are easy to find).
These are a much smarter — and cheaper — choice than many packaged granola bars out there. With this homemade variety, you know exactly what’s going into your food. You can’t beat that.
14. Mexican breakfast casserole
Being Whole30 compliant, this casserole is a guaranteed no-sugar option. But you don’t need to be on the plan to enjoy it; it’s layers of sausage, eggs, and sweet potatoes will please any breakfast lover.
15. Healthy baked beans
Baked beans are a traditional breakfast food for many, but many store-bought cans come packed with high-fructose corn syrup, which has been linked to obesity, diabetes, and increased risk of cardiovascular disease.
This recipe simplifies things with a much shorter ingredient list, where garlic and paprika do the flavoring instead of sugar. More beans, please.
16. Breakfast fried brown rice
Fried rice works just as well for breakfast as it does for any other meal. Yes, seriously. Just throw some morning staples — eggs, avocado, and bacon —into a skillet of brown rice to make it especially look and taste the part.
17. Farro breakfast bowl with turmeric and scallion scrambled chickpeas
This vegan recipe swaps out eggs for sautéed chickpeas and piles them onto chewy grains of farro instead of oats.
Topped with avocado chunks and a creamy sunflower seed sauce, this might be the most satisfying meat-free breakfast bowl you’ve ever had.
18. Sweet potato kale hash
Grated sweet potato mimics rice in this easy hash, where, along with peppers, onions and kale, you’re getting in a good chunk of your daily veggie servings.
In the absence of eggs, chicken sausage adds heft and protein.
Sugar is a sneaky little ingredient. Even with the best of our intentions, it can still find ways to show up in just about everything, three meals a day. And with the dangers of processed sugar being reviewed and reported all the time, we figure it’s best cut it out wherever we can.
Still, many of us have a sweet tooth that needs a little love once in awhile. The good news is, once you cut out the processed stuff, you may find that your tastebuds change. Suddenly carrots, dates, and maple syrup are really all you need to hit the (sweet) spot. Sign us up!