I grew up as a deprived child. Long before it was popular, my mother was a health-nut. She rarely cooked with common staples like salt and sugar. There was one big problem with all of this healthy cooking. It didn’t taste that great. Shh! Don’t tell her. You might call it down right flavorless. By about age 12, I had taken over most of the cooking. I had a knack for cooking her healthy staples into something that tasted yummy.
I grew up without sugar; consequently, I rarely cook with it today. There’s one big difference with my modern day healthy cooking, my friends and family think it actually taste good. I am able to curb my children’s sweet tooth with these 5 healthy and delicious sugar substitutes. Yes, my children do eat sugar. Life is all about moderation and balance, not deprivation. I don’t want to teach them that they can’t have sugar but rather that there are alternatives to sugar and high-fructose corn syrup. When possible I’ve linked to our simple printable recipe guides for children.
My Favorite Healthy Sugar Substitutes and How I Use Them
- Agave is by far my favorite everyday sweetener. I especially like the dark amber flavor. It has a richness that taste like a cross between brown sugar and maple syrup.
- Agave is a low glycemic index sweetener.
- It does not crystallize like honey, making it easier to store and use. It easily blends into liquid.
- I love my amber agave in my coffee every morning! Rich and sweet, it only takes about a 1/2 tsp. per cup. Yummy.
- My kiddos love agave on everything. They substitute it for sugar, brown sugar, syrup and honey.
- For a snack, I often mix agave and cinnamon with mixed berries. The kids loooooove it!
- Cinnamon Yogurt Breakfast Parfait, Creamy Oatmeal with Fruit, Tutti Frutti Breakfast Smoothie
- Agave is my favorite sweetener when cooking dinner. It is perfect in salad dressings, sauces and savory dishes. I will be using my agave tonight to cook my Thia Cashew Noodles. Yummy!
- Recipes at: wholesomesweeneners.com and sohgave.com
2. Local Honey
- Most are familiar with honey. If possible buy local raw honey that has not been processed with heat.
- We use honey when baking our Whole Wheat Banana Apple Muffin Bites. No other sweetener is needed.
- We use honey to sweeten our Very Berry Creamy Sandwiches.
- We do not use pre-flavored packaged oatmeal or brown sugar to sweeten our oatmeal. We use honey or agave most often to sweeten our Creamy Oatmeal and Fruit.
- My children have never had a peanut butter and jelly sandwich; however, they do love Almond Butter and Honey sandwiches.
- The leaves of the Stevia rebaudiana plant have a sweet taste, zero glycemic index, zero calories and zero carbs.So how about that?
- Stevia extract is very sweet. It only takes a teeny, tiny scoop to sweeten your favorite drinks, smoothies and yougurt.
- My hubby has been using stevia in his coffee for years.
- My kiddos use stevia in all kinds of drinks, including MacGyver’s secret lemonade recipe.
- I only buy plain, unsweetened yogurt. The children sweeten the yogurt with stevia, agave or honey.
- Tutti Frutti Breafast Smoothie, Good Morning Sunshine Breakfast Smoothie, Cinnamon Yogurt Breakfast Parfait
- Our favorite is Now Better Stevia Extract Powder
- Our dentist recommended Xylitol.
- If you like to bake, Xylitol is your sweetener!It has the consistency and taste of sugar but has a third fewer calories.
- Xylitol is a sugar alcohol that is naturally present in small amounts in various fruits and vegetables.
- I use Xylitol when baking my Mini Cheesecakes. Everyone raves about the cupcakes without knowing I baked them with Xylitol. Don’t give my secrete away!
- You can substitute Xylitol for sugar in most recipes.
- It is thought that Xylitol may also inhibit cavities by denying plaque bacteria the fuel (sugar) it needs to erode tooth enamel.
- Moms you can even purchase Xylitol candy, which may actually be good for your kid’s teeth.
- I like NOW Foods Xylitol Pure Sweetener.
5. Maple Syrup
- I’m talking REAL maple syrup made from the sap of maple trees.
- In our home, we do not use corn syrup, that gross fake colored syrup stuff or artificially flavored syrups.
- Real maple syrup is expensive but we use it in moderation. The children do not smoother their pancakes, waffles or french toast.
- If pancake or waffle recipes call for sugar, I substitute maple syrup.
- Maple syrup is great substitute for brown sugar. Taste great in Creamy Oatmeal with Fruit.
- I also like to cook with maple syrup when making savory dishes and sauces.
Life with Jeannine
What healthy sugar substitutes have you introduced to your family? How do you substitute sugar in your everyday cooking?