By Sarah Hunt, AZFB Communications Intern
Let’s face it, you just can’t make a dessert taste good without a little sugar, no matter how healthy the ingredients are. But you CAN use sweeteners that are natural and a lot more healthy for your body than processed white sugar.
There are surprisingly a good amount of options when it comes to these natural sweeteners. There’s honey, stevia, monk fruit (What is that? You may ask. Right? I had no idea what it was at first either), dark chocolate chips with low sugar content, agave, cinnamon or nutmeg, date syrup, and more.
Today we’re going over why some of these sweeteners are better for you than refined sugar and giving you some yummy dessert recipes to make. This way you can still have your cake and eat it too, with zero guilt!
Monk fruit, in my opinion, is the crown jewel of natural sweeteners. If you’re buying the Monk Fruit In The Raw brand (find it here on Amazon for the best deal), one serving size is equal to one teaspoon. In that one teaspoon, there is ZERO sugar, fat, or sodium. It has 4 grams of carbohydrates and 4 grams of erythritol. Erythritol is a natural sweetener from corn that is a substitute for sugar. It is 200 times more sweet than sugar, so the recommended ratio to substitute it for sugar and use it in baking is about 1/3 cup of monk fruit for every cup of sugar.
Articles by nutritionists: The Plus Factor: and Why There’s Monk Fruit in Our Logo
Honey does have some vitamins that granulated sugar can’t give you, but it definitely still has a lot of sugar in it. If you think substituting this for sugar in exact measurements is better, you’re wrong. I was surprised when I found this out too! The article below about using honey in coffee explains the pros and cons of using honey as a sweetener.
Articles by nutritionists: 6 Manuka Honey Benefits That Prove It’s Worth the Buzz
Low Sugar Dark Chocolate Chips
There are a few brands that make these, my favorites are Lily’s, Choc Zero, and Enjoy Life. Lily’s and Choc Zero are very similar, so here’s the breakdown: Lily’s serving size is 60 chips, with less than one gram of sugar and three grams of erythritol. They use stevia extract as their sweetener. It has zero sodium, and eight grams of carbohydrates. Choc Zero uses monk fruit as its sweetener. It’s serving size is also 60 chips with one gram of sugar. These are 70 calories per serving, 10 more than Lily’s. It has 6 grams of carbohydrates (two less than Lily’s) and 15 grams of sodium.
Deciding on which chips are for you just depends on your dietary needs. I have low blood pressure so I need more sodium in my diet than others, so I would opt for the Choc Zero (and I personally think Choc Zero tastes better too 😉). Enjoy Life chocolate chips does have the same amount of sugar as regular chocolate chips, but the benefit of this brand is that it is dairy free, soy free, gluten free, and Kosher. One of my friends who has dairy and gluten sensitivities introduced me to these, so these are the perfect alternative to normal chocolate chips if you have these dietary issues.
One of the best places to find recipes is the In The Raw brand’s recipe database, when you can filter recipes based on what kind of natural sweetener you want to use! Find it here.
Other Low Sugar Dessert Recipes: 7 Low-Sugar Mexican Desserts Bakers of Any Level Can Master
As always, find more healthy and delicious recipes on Fill Your Plate’s recipe database! Look out for part two of this article, coming out soon!