Along with other New Year’s resolutions, many of us aim to start the new year by eating healthier, which typically includes consuming less sugar. However, when the sun goes down and those late-night cravings set in, what do you do when you need something sweet?
Luckily, several sugar substitutions can satisfy your sweet tooth without compromising your diet or giving up on your New Year’s resolutions before it hits February!
Franklin Park® Senior Living offers exceptional dining options throughout our luxury senior living communities in Texas to provide nutritious meals to residents. Because of this, our team understands the importance of finding and using ingredients that are both healthy and delicious.
To help you on your healthy eating journey, we are sharing some natural sugar substitutions that are sure to satisfy your sweet tooth cravings.
What makes honey great for a healthy eating sugar substitute is that, in its raw form, it is natural, unprocessed, and contains beneficial nutrients such as B vitamins, antioxidants, and iron. Honey also provides additional benefits, including promoting bone health, increasing stamina, boosting immune health, as well as providing skincare and anti-aging benefits.
According to Nature’s Path Organic Foods®, “the advantages of using honey instead of sugar [in baking and cooking recipes] include quicker browning and more moisture. Honey also has fewer calories and less fructose and glucose; however, diabetics should still keep honey consumption low as they would regular sugar.”
Maple syrup has a distinct taste, so it may not be the best substitution for all your sweetening needs. Using it for specific recipes that complement a certain flavor can be a win on your healthy eating journey.
Nutritious Life states, “pure maple syrup is as natural and as unprocessed as it gets.” Simply the sap from maple trees boiled down into a sticky syrup; this sweetener also contains additional nutrients, including:
Additionally, “you can cut your sugar consumption by about 33% by using maple syrup instead. Maple syrup is also friendlier toward your blood sugar, with a glycemic index of 54 versus table sugar’s 65 (Nature’s Path Organic Foods®).”
Fruit purees are either cooked or fresh fruits that are blended to create a smooth consistency. One of the most commonly used sweetener substitutes in this category is applesauce.
According to Nutritious Life, the great thing about using a fruit puree as a sugar substitute is that “unlike refined sweeteners, whole fruit purees contain fiber, vitamins, and minerals. For example, banana puree offers natural sweeteners plus folate, magnesium, and potassium.”
You do need to be careful, though, when selecting a fruit puree. If you are not making this sweetener substitute yourself and opt to buy one from the store, such as applesauce, be mindful and check the ingredient list for any preservatives and added sugars.
If part of your healthy eating goal is to consume fewer calories, this sweetener substitute may be the one you have been looking for. Stevia is a powder extracted from the leaves of a plant called Stevia rebaudiana and is hundreds of times sweeter than sugar, gram for gram.
It is virtually calorie-free and does not impact blood sugar in the same way that table sugar does. Additionally, healthline reports that “a few human-based studies suggest stevia may have health benefits…including lowering high blood pressure in people with hypertension…[and] help maintain healthy blood sugar levels.”
Some stevia products are blended with artificial sweeteners and other sugar molecules to improve the taste, so be mindful of this and for organic, whole-leaf stevia whenever possible.
Just because these are all natural sweeteners, it does not mean that you should consume endless amounts of any of them. Like all foods, using these substitutions in moderation is key. If you have any concerns or need more guidance about what you should be eating, we advise you to consult your doctor or a dietician, especially if you have a health condition like diabetes.
To learn more about the dining experience we offer in our luxury senior living communities throughout Texas, we invite you to visit our website or contact a member of the Franklin Park® Senior Living team today!