I believe it’s safe to say we all agree that refined and granulated white sugars and even sugar “substitutes” are bad news for our bodies but how to substitute these things for sweetness can be daunting. The grocery aisles are filled with sweeteners claiming to be natural and better for you. Because the price tags are usually hefty and I tend to still be a bit leery of labels, I try to stick with all natural sweeteners that I know are good and good for me.
Here are four of my favorite ways to sweeten things up!
1/2) Dates and Figs: Both dates and figs pack a savory punch and are great alternatives to sweetening up a smoothie or baked goods over using granulated white sugars and other potentially harmful sweeteners. In fact, you can purée both separately and they are great substitutes for sugar and fats in baked goods .
1cup of puréed dates or figs can substitute for one cup of sugar
3) Bananas: Bananas are naturally super sweet and are the base of all my smoothies because they add just the right amount of sweetness without having to add extra calories with honey, agave, or even maple syrup. Bananas also serve as a great base to most of my flourless/eggless vegan baking.
1 cup of mashed (super ripe) bananas can substitute for one cup of sugar
If you freeze the bananas and then allow them to thaw before mashing or pureeing, it makes them more sweet!
4) Maple Syrup: A high quality pure maple syrup is low on calories and a great alternative to sugar. I use it mainly in coffee, baking, and like everyone else, on pancakes and waffles. I also use maple syrup when making marinades, sauces, and dressings. Don’t be fooled by labels in the grocery store and pick up maple “flavored” syrup, your maple syrup would have one ingredient and that’s, maple syrup!
1 cup of maple syrup can substitute for one cup of sugar