Try these “better for you” ways to indulge in sweet ingredients.
One of the biggest challenges of cutting out highly processed food is figuring out substitutes for all those refined ingredients, and sugar is a HUGE one. Pretty much anyone who bakes at home has used their fair share of white, brown and other refined sugars. The good news is that these simple “better for you” options can be used instead.
Real food sweeteners
100% pure, raw honey
Honey can be used in recipes in place of sugar. Because honey is much sweeter, you must adjust the ratios. Generally, 1 cup of sugar should be substituted with ¾ cup of honey. Use it:
- In recipes as a substitute for sugar
- In place of jelly or jam
- To sweeten plain yogurt
- Rather than using highly processed syrups, such as pancake syrup
- To sweeten your coffee, rather than using highly processed sugars or artificial sweeteners
100% pure maple syrup
Maple syrup can be used in recipes in place of brown sugar. Because maple syrup is much sweeter, you must adjust the ratios. Generally, 1 cup of sugar should be substituted with 2/3 cup of maple syrup. Use it:
- In recipes as a substitute for brown sugar
- Occasionally as a substitute for white sugar
- To sweeten plain yogurt
- Rather than using highly processed syrups, such as pancake syrup (just remember, a little maple syrup goes a long way)
100% pure unrefined coconut crystals or coconut palm sugar
Either of these can be used in place of brown sugar and powdered sugar. Use a 1:1 ratio.
Applesauce, with no added sugars or artificial sweeteners, can be an awesome substitute to sweeten certain recipes. Typically, half the amount of sugar is replaced with applesauce.
Unsweetened dates without added oils
Pitted dates can be blended in the food processor and used as a natural sweetener in a variety of recipes. Use it:
- When baking certain foods, such as granola bars (try our Homemade Breakfast Bars or Apricot Almond Granola Bars)
- To sweeten oatmeal
- Added to smoothies (soak one or two, remove the pit and toss them in!)
Typically, you can reduce the sugar used in baking recipes by a third to half without significantly affecting the taste or character of the batter. To simplify things, we’ve already reduced the amount of sugar in all our FfL recipes.
With real food sweeteners stocked in your pantry, your family will be able to enjoy treats without compromising the taste and sweetness of your favorite indulgences. Keep in mind, when using these substitutions (like honey for table sugar) you may need to reduce the quantity of liquid ingredients. You can check online for specific ratios in recipes or find real food resources that already replace highly processed sugars with better alternatives, like FULLforLife!