[endimages]While an ice cream sundae or chocolate chip cookie at your favorite restaurant is not to be missed, if you want to indulge on a regular basis, you should reach for a healthy sweetener. Below are 8 healthy sugar alternatives that are actually good for you – find the one that suites your taste buds the best!
Honey is a fan favorite and the easiest sugar substitute to get at most dining establishments. Besides being oh-so-tasty, it also boasts wonderful health benefits – its known to boost the immune system, possess antiseptic and antibacterial properties and help reduce reflux and is helpful with a sore throat. Be sure to buy a raw, organic honey that is farm fresh to enjoy its full health benefits.
My friends and family laugh at me because I’m never without my vial of stevia! I’ve been using it for years and now its mainstream enough to be featured with the packets of sugar that sit on most restaurant tables. I’ve tried most brands of stevia and the best one by far is KAL, which I order online in bulk. Stevia is very sweet and an acquired taste, as it tends to have an aftertaste, but the obvious upside is that it has zero calories. Some swear it can lower blood pressure, blood sugar levels and help fight diabetes, as well. Note: Do not confuse Stevia with Truvia – they are not the same thing!
3. DATE SUGAR
As you know, dates are one of nature’s sweetest foods. So, it makes sense that they can be used as a delicious organic sweetener! Less processed than conventional sugar, date sugar is a much healthier option and it tastes very natural. It’s a particularly great sugar substitute when a recipe calls for brown sugar, but it won’t dissolve in liquid so it’s not the best option for sweetening your tea or beverage.
4. COCONUT SUGAR
Also known as coco sugar or coconut palm sugar, coconut sugar is another fantastic natural sweetener option. It’s been used in place of sugar for thousands of years in the South and Southeast Asian areas where coconut palms are abundant. In addition to tasting delicious, organic coconut sugar has naturally occurring nutrients including magnesium, potassium, zinc, iron, B vitamins, and amino acids.
5. COCONUT NECTAR
Similar to coconut sugar, liquid coconut nectar is a delicious sweetener for your beverages and can be used as an alternative to agave syrup. Coconut Secret makes a delicious, organic version that consists of healthy saturated fats to support heart health – its also said to improve energy levels and digestion. Even better? Consuming coconut nectar is said to actually decrease your sweet cravings!
6. MAPLE SYRUP
Its not just for pancakes anymore! Organic maple syrup is actually a great sugar substitute option to have around the kitchen for use in your favorite baking recipes. Maple syrup is boiled down directly from tree sap, making it 100% natural and free of additives. The unprocessed nature of this sugar substitute means it contains higher levels of calcium and potassium, which are beneficial to your health.
7. MONK FRUIT SWEETENER
Monk fruit is an ancient Chinese medicinal fruit with many healing properties. Lakanto, which is my favorite monk fruit sweetener on the market, is made by combining Monk fruit with fermented glucose to match the sweetness of natural sugar. Both the golden brown and white version can be used to bake or cook with and have virtually no aftertaste!
8. YACON SYRUP
A lesser known natural sweetener option, Yacón syrup is a sweetening agent extracted from the tuberous roots of the yacón plant indigenous to the Andes mountains. It was used by the ancient Incas in Peru because of it’s health properties. Its specifically helpful for digestion and is known to help ease constipation for many people, as it aids in increasing fiber intake.
PHOTO: Sunny Mama