Natural Sweeteners

Bleached white sugars and high fructose sugars are some of the worst things in the American diet these days. We can’t always control what comes in our food when we eat away from home, but we can control it at home. That’s why I use more natural sugars at home in all of my cooking and baking. Here are some types of natural sweeteners you can use at home:

1. Sucanat

Sucanat is my favorite sweetener, and I use it in everything from baking my pumpkin pies to stirring it in my favorite coffee. Sucanat has a slight molasses flavor, but it’s not something that we notice any difference with when I cook with it.

2. Local Honey

This is the second most used sweetener in my home. I use it in smoothies, tea, some of my baking and even in my homemade kefir. Honey has the most health benefits when it is bought locally. I particularly like using honey when I make breads. It activates the yeast and adds a nice sweetness to breads.

3. Stevia

I’m not a big fan of Stevia simply because it has a really weird aftertaste. However, many people do like Stevia the best. This is a great little herb to keep in your kitchen and you can add the leaves to smoothies to sweeten them up naturally. Or you can buy Stevia in a liquid or powder form.

4. Medjool Dates

These dates are extremely sweet and are great for adding some sweetness to smoothies, breads and muffins. If I’m craving sweets, I’ll pop one of these in my mouth and it satisfies my sweet tooth.

5. Maple Syrup

I like using maple syrup for sweetening plain yogurt and kefir. It gives both a nice sweetness and flavor. And of course, maple syrup is just divine on pancakes, french toast and waffles.

6. Molasses

It’s not my favorite sweetener, but it’s a good substitute.  If you really like that molasses flavor, then go with a good blackstrap molasses for your sweetener.  Use it as a syrup or in your baking.

7. Fresh Fruit

Fresh fruit is a great way to add sweetness and sometimes even color to your food. Fresh fruit is especially good to eat straight if you are craving something sweet. And if you want to make a frosting for cakes or cupcakes, color the frosting naturally with blended raspberries or blueberries. Combine with a little honey and you have plenty of sweetness and color in your food, naturally.

This holiday season there will be a lot of baking and cooking going on, with not all of it very healthy.  Exchanging regular white sugar for some of the above alternatives is a great way to make your diet healthier, but is also a great way to promote sustainable, green farming.  If you will be joining me for the Have a Healthy Holiday event next week,  go ahead and switch out some of your sweeteners so you are ready for the recipes!

Do you use any of these sweeteners at home, or do you have others that you recommend?

11 Comments:
  1. What about Agave? I love that stuff and it’s organic and doesn’t have that honey taste to it.

  2. i love agave nectar – I think it has a lower glycemic index than honey, with no honey aftertaste.

  3. Agave is great for baking but not all agave’s are created equal. At the present time I only use Volcanic brand and Ultimate Super Foods in my recipes because they have testing results on their sites to back up there claims of purity, glycemic index and fructose levels.

  4. Thanks for the list of natural sweeteners. I have been wanting to swap out white sugar in our house and had thought about agave, but read mixed reports on if it is actually good or bad. I am leaning towards sucanat, but was nervous about baking with it. Glad to hear you bake with it with no problem

  5. Honey is our favorite here for baking and cooking, its the easiest to find and least expensive as we have a friend that has bees and as an added bonus the bee pollen helps my daughter and husband with their allergies.

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