Got a Sweet Tooth?
Sugar Substitutes to Satisfy Your Cravings – written by Nindy Grewal, Registered Holistic Nutritionist
Holiday season is approaching fast and so are all the tempting goodies. The Christmas cookie exchange parties, holiday dinners and work social gatherings have begun and all the glory of baking (and eating) is in full motion!
Every year we do so well by keeping our nutrition in check, but once the holidays begin, it all goes out the wayside! What can we do when we are constantly being offered chocolates, cookies, and rich pastries at every event we attend? Although all these treats are delicious, we know that all that sugar is not only going to add up to more pounds on the scale come January, but it also means bad news for our immune system. As you may recall from my last post, sugar can lead to a series of issues in our bodies, mainly because it lowers our immune defenses. Processed white sugars are also very bad for energy and blood sugar balance. Sugar will spike blood sugar and then cause it to crash, which deprives you of energy and messes with your mental clarity and focus. These drastic highs and lows in blood sugar can put you at risk of becoming insulin-resistant or hypoglycemic.
So how can we still enjoy celebrating the holiday cheer without our pants getting tight and feeling run down with a cold or flu come January? Be smart with how you sweeten your tooth. There are tons of natural, more wholesome alternatives to processed sugars and chemical laden, sugary treats.
Below I have listed some alternative sweeteners that can be used for baking at home. If you are not a baker yourself, you can also offer these options to your friends and family that do bake. Also ensure you are reading your labels when purchasing baked goods and drinks to see what ingredients may be present. There are lots of healthier options to choose from and bakeries that offer better quality ingredients. These healthier sugars are low-glycemic (meaning they won’t spike your blood sugar) and they are found naturally in either fruit or grains.
Natural Sweeteners and Their Benefits:
Dates – wide variety of types (Medjool, Acai, Barhi, Halawi)
- high in fiber (esp. soluble fiber which helps relieve constipation)
- overall good for digestive health (strengthen good bacteria in the colon)
- high in magnesium (good for bone health)
- high in iron, so they provide energy and help with anemia
- high in selenium (antioxidant that helps prevent cancer)
- good for heart health and lowers cholesterol
Maple Syrup– 100% pure organic maple syrup with no additives or preservatives added
- lower glycemic index than processed sugar
- completely natural so the body recognizes it as whole food
- high in minerals: Zinc, Magnesium, Potassium, Calcium, Iron
- high in antioxidants and enzymes
Honey – 100% Raw, organic honey
- high in antioxidants
- high in phytonutrients
- anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties
- great energy source (good for pre-workout and recovery)
- boosts immune system
Stevia – powder or liquid drop forms available
- zero calories
- 100% natural
- lowers blood sugar levels (good for diabetics)
- lowers bad (LDL) cholesterol
- helps strengthen the immune system
The take home today is that you can sweeten your life, but just choose the ones that have beneficial properties and do not cause harm to your body.
Here is an easy recipe to try at home:
Homemade Peanut Butter Cups (Vegan and Raw)
- 1/4 cup of maple syrup
- 1/2 cup of coconut oil
- 1/2 cup of cacao powder
- *Melt the coconut oil and add cacao powder and maple syrup and mix well.
Line mini muffin tray with liners and fill bottoms with chocolate sauce. Freeze for 5 minutes
Peanut butter filling:
- 2 soft Medjool dates
- 4 Tbsps of peanut butter (or any nut butter)
*Blend the dates with the peanut butter. Fill the peanut butter on top of the chocolate lined muffin tray.
*Top with more melted chocolate sauce. Freeze for another 10 minutes. Enjoy!
These raw chocolate treats can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.
To learn more about healthier food choices and how to support your wellness with nutrition, book your FREE 15 minute consultation today!!