The hard thing about sugar substitutes is that there are so many! So many different brands claim to be healthier alternatives, but are they really?
Sugar substitutes is something that I have questioned a lot. What I have decided is that when it comes to a large amount of sugar, I will use different fruits. I feel like this is a better option to take as it isn’t just plain sugar. Fruits have many other benefits than just making a cake taste sweet.
My go to is overripe bananas. Not only are they cheap, but they are great for you. If a cup of sugar is called for, then replace it with a cup of mashed overripe bananas pureed with a few tablespoons of water.
Dates are good for your blood, stomach, and bones. If you need a cup of sugar, then you puree a cup of dates and ½-1 cup of hot water until a paste is made.
If figs are used, then not only can you get rid of the sugar, but you can cut the fat in the recipe in half. All you have to do is puree 8oz of figs with ¼-1/3 cup of water.
When a smaller amount of sugar is called for, then I will turn to other sugar substitutes. The one I like the most is using raw honey. It does have quite a bit of natural sugar, hence why I don’t use it in large amounts, but it also has amino acids. Coconut sugar is higher in calories, but it has more nutrients than other sugar substitutes. Pure Maple Syrup is also a good alternative as it has some minerals and vitamins in it, but like the coconut sugar and honey, it is high in sugar. Stevia is another option out there that many people like since it doesn’t add calories. It comes from a plant, and not a lot is needed to add sweetness.
For the most part when I cook I like to pick bananas for large amounts and raw honey for small amounts of sugars. However, I would say that this is more up to the person. Each option laid out above is highly better than artificial sweeteners out there. For a list of these that you will want to avoid follow this link.
For some low-calorie and/or lower fat alternatives, check out this link.
When you are cooking there are so many substitutions and alternatives that can be made to help your food be healthier for you. If you are unsure of an ingredient than google it, and see what better options there are out there. Just because a recipe calls for one thing, does not mean you have to follow it exactly. Don’t be scared to make your own changes to recipes you find, to make them better for your family’s health.
Dr. Axe. (n.d.). Five best sugar substitutes. Retrieved from https://draxe.com/sugar-substitutes/
Dr. Axe. (n.d.). The five worst artificial sweeteners. Retrieved from https://draxe.com/artificial-sweeteners/
Gunnars, K. (2017). Coconut sugar—Healthy sugar alternative or a big, fat lie? Retrieved from https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/coconut-sugar
Gunnars, K. (2017). Maple syrup: Healthy or unhealthy? Retrieved from https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/maple-syrup
Lauren, C. (2017). What is stevia? Retrieved from https://www.livescience.com/39601-stevia-facts-safety.html
National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. (n.d.). Low-calorie, lower fat alternative foods. Retrieved from https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/educational/lose_wt/eat/shop_lcal_fat.htm
Stakal, K. (2011). Using fruits to replace sugar in your recipes. Retrieved from http://www.organicauthority.com/eco-chic-table/using-fruits-to-replace-sugar-in-your-recipes.html