Alternatives to Sugar

Sugar Alternatives

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Stevia
Stevia is 300 times sweeter than sugar.  Stevia has no calories and no glycemic impact making it suitable for diabetics and those watching their weight. Proper stevia is actually green as it comes from a natural herb.

Coconut Sugar
Coconut sugar is nutritious and has a low score on the glycemic index. It tastes similar to brown sugar but is slightly richer. You can substitute coconut sugar for traditional sugar. Once tapped for sap, the trees can go on producing for 20 years and produce more sugar per hectare than sugar cane.

Date Sugar
Made from dried dates; the fruit is dehydrated then ground to produce the sugar. Retaining many of the nutritional benefits of dates, it has a rich sweet flavour that makes it an ideal alternative to brown sugar. Unfortunately it doesn’t melt and is difficult to dissolve, making it unsuitable for use in drinks and some baking recipes. However it’s a great additional to wholegrain bread.

Raw/Organic Honey
Sweeter than sugar, packed with vitamins, and honey also has antimicrobial properties. It does have more calories than normal sugar but because it’s sweeter you use less of it. Use in hot or cold beverages, or baking cookies and biscuits.

Molasses
These are by-products of the sugar production process. Although producing sugar from sugar cane has a negative environmental impact, not using all the products only compounds it. Because of the way traditional tabletop sugar is produced (heating the top layer which forms the crystals you have in your bowl), many of the nutritional benefits are left in the molasses. Blackstrap molasses is perhaps the most beneficial and is a good source of iron and calcium. It’s quite thick and viscous and is best used in baking. It is also sweeter than sugar and so you’ll need less.

Barley Malt Syrup
It’s easily digested and has a low glycemic index. It is however not as sweet as sugar, and its distinctive taste makes it a poor choice for tea and coffee. A good choice for cooking or baking, as it has a distinct malty taste.

Yacon
A relative to the Jerusalem artichoke, is available as dehydrated chips or syrup. The syrup is high in iron and only mildly glycaemic. Choose certified organic.

Agave Nectar
About 25% sweeter than sugar, you can use less agave when replacing it for sugar.  Also contains prebiotic bacteria to assist gut health.

Brown rice syrup – traditionally used as a sugar substitute, brown rice sugar has been found to be high in arsenic, so may be best avoided.  Study regarding arsenic levels – http://now.dartmouth.edu/2012/02/organic-food-sweetener-may-be-a-hidden-source-of-dietary-arsenic/

Xylitol – another common sugar substitute, xylitol is not natural and is created from chemicals in a laboratory, so it’s not a natural alternative.

Pure Maple syrup has a low glycemic index and is wonderful.

Berry Nice Brownies

Recipe by Georgia from www.wellnourished.com.au

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These gluten and grain free brownies are delicious, decadent treats.  They are SO easy to make and sure to become a family favourite.

Why are they heathy?
They are high in fibre and protein and naturally sweetened too.  Plus they sneak in a serve of vegetables.  A perfectly, nutritious chocolate treat.

Ingredients
200 grams (approx 2 cups) raw medium sized sweet potato, peeled and grated
125 grams (½ cup) of butter, melted or macadamia nut oil or coconut oil
170 grams (½ cup) honey, pure maple syrup or rice malt syrup
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons of vanilla powder or paste
30-60 grams (¼-½ cup) of raw cacao powder  (the more cacao, the richer the chocolate flavour)
2 teaspoons of baking powder
1 teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda
2 tablespoons of coconut flour
½ cup (approx) of raspberries, fresh or frozen or pitted cherries are lovely too (estimate about one berry per slice)

Method

  1. Preheat your oven to 180 degrees celsius.
  2. In a large bowl, blender or processor, mix together the sweet potato, butter or oil, sweetener, eggs and vanilla until combined.
  3. Add the cacao, bicarbonate of soda and baking powder and combine.
  4. Finally stir through the coconut flour. Coconut flour absorbs a lot of liquid so you only need the two tablespoons.
  5. Line a small slice tin with baking paper.
  6. Pour the batter into the tin and top with the raspberries or cherries (optional).
  7. Bake for 25 minutes or until the centre is firm to touch or a skewer inserted comes out clean.  Cool and slice.
  8. Store in the fridge in an airtight container or you can also freeze them.
  9. Enjoy at room temperature or warm with double cream or coconut cream and fresh berries.

Variations
Fructose free
Sweeten with rice malt syrup.

Dairy Free
Use macadamia nut oil or coconut oil rather than butter.

Nut free
Choose butter or coconut oil over macadamia nut oil.

Find more gorgeous recipes at www.wellnourished.com.au