We all know that sugar is bad for us. It contains empty calories that add to your weight gain while causing you tooth decay and increasing the risk of Type II Diabetes among adults. It can be very tempting to reach for that extra spoonful of sugar, but you may want to think twice before you do so. These natural sweetening substitutes will convince you to make the healthier switch!
Here are 22 natural substitutes for sugar:
1) Cinnamon - Cinnamon can be used to add flavor to oatmeal, cereal, cookies, and even a teaspoon to a cup of tea or coffee for an interesting kick! Cinnamon helps fight off harmful bacterias, reduces LDL cholesterol levels, and helps to regular blood sugar. Add that pinch of cinnamon to your diet!
2) Honey - Honey is composed of glucose and fructose, which are natural sugars that give it that sweet delicious taste. Honey also contains plenty of antioxidants, which helps repair your immune system when you get sick. You can add a teaspoon of honey to almost any dish to give it a bit more flavor and taste.
3) Agave Nectar - Agave nectar has a taste similar to that of honey. Agave syrup can be substituted for sugar when preparing brownies, cookies, or cakes. You can even flavor your iced tea with a little agave. Agave nectar is high in fructose, so be sure you take it in moderation.
4) Rum - Rum is the main alcohol ingredient used in the popular Mojito drinks. Rum extract can also be used to prepare rum raisin cookies, rum raisin bread, and hot buttered rum mix. You can add a teaspoon or two to sweeten fruits as well.
5) Grapefruit - The popular citrus fruit is packed with vitamin C, and powerful antioxidants that help keep your body well protected against diseases. You can add a little grapefruit juice to club soda or even sweeten your green tea with a teaspoon or two.
6) Maple Syrup - Maple syrup goes can be spread over pancakes, waffles, granola mix, and low-fat muffins, and baked goods. Maple syrup is loaded with antioxidants. Avoid refined maple syrup and go for the natural brands instead.
7) Lemons - Don't reach for that teaspoon of sugar to add with your tea, just squeeze a little lemon juice instead. Lemon juice mixes perfectly with honey, for a delicious salad dressing to add life to vegetable salads or chicken dishes. Avoid lemonade, since it's loaded with tons of refined sugar.
8) Mashed Bananas - Puréed bananas can be added to pancake or waffle mixes and banana bread as a sugary replacement. Bananas are naturally sweet and contain high amounts of potassium, which helps to promote healthy hearts. Bananas also make great snacks on the go.
9) Lime - Lime is an ideal substitute for carbonated beverages. Lime juice blends perfectly with club soda for a zesty carbonated taste. Lime slices can be added to pies and other baked goods for a tangy treat.
10) Raisins - The health benefits of raisins go back nearly 2,000 years. Raisins can be added to salads, cookies, sandwiches, or eaten from tiny packets. Raisins are high in fiber and fat-free. You can keep them in the freezer or stored in the cupboards, for a quick and nutritious treat.
11) Frozen Juice Concentrate - Frozen juice concentrate is a diluted liquid that can be used to bake traditional homemade apple pies. Frozen juice concentrate is high in fibers and antioxidants. Frozen juice concentrate is available in grape, lemon, and orange flavors. Make sure you get the concentrate that is low in additives.
12) Stevia - Stevia is a calorie-free natural sweetener that replaces the spoonful of sugar to your cup of tea. Tea leaves are a preferred choice among diabetics, since the natural sugars aren't metabolized by the body.
13) Apricot Puree - Apricots are a rich source of fiber, iron, and vitamin C. You can mix apricot purée together with baked foods, vegetable salads, and Greek yogurt. Apricots also help prevent cancer. Don't be afraid to experiment with some apricot purée!
14) Molasses - The dark brown sugar is a Molasses is derivative of refined sugarcane and sugar beets. Molasses provides high levels of iron and calcium, and is used as the main ingredient when baking gingerbread cookies or Moravian cookies. Make sure you keep your molasses intake low, since it does contain sucrose.
15) Unsweetened Cocoa Powder - Unsweetened cocoa powder makes for a perfect hot beverage option during those cold snowy days. Add the cocoa powder mix into a glass of hot water or mix together with skim milk. Try adding a touch of vanilla extract for a pleasant surprise.
16) Cranberries - Cranberries are renowned for having strong antioxidant properties, and for preventing kidney diseases. Sprinkle a handful of cranberries on yogurts or cereals, for a nutritious breakfast meal. Enjoy the cranberry sauce at your Thanksgiving dinner!
17) Milk - Milk contains plenty of calcium and vitamin D, which promotes strong healthy bones in your body. The lactose found in milk provides natural sugars that are good for you. Try drinking skim or low-fat milk as a replacement to whole milk.
18) Applesauce - Use the sugar-free applesauce while whipping up batch of cookies, brownies, and muffins. Applesauce is a low-calorie treat that can be served straight from the jar for a healthy and delicious dessert. You can even add a few scoops into a homemade fruit salad for a wonderful taste.
19) Club Soda - Club soda gives you the carbonated buzz for a bit of energy. Pour a little club soda over a natural fruit smoothie for a fantastic treat! Ditch the sugary carbonated soft drinks for sparkling club sodas instead.
20) Coconut Sugar - Coconut sugar is derived from the coconut palm tree blossom. It has a high level of sucrose, so it shouldn't be used in high amounts. Coconut sugar contains high levels of potassium, magnesium, zinc and iron as well.
21) Sucanat - Sucanat is the acronym that stands for Sugar Cane Natural. The natural sweetener is extracted from sugar canes, and contains less sucrose than refined sugar. Sucanat may be added to tea, chocolate desserts, or baked goods.
22) Brown Rice Syrup - Brown rice is the healthiest sugar substitute available next to tea leaves. It resembles honey in texture, is gluten-free, and makes for a perfect corn syrup substitute. You can add brown rice syrup to waffles instead of maple syrup for tasty breakfast.