We’re big fans of indulging at the Made In Nature offices, and nothing delights us more than a sweet treat midday just because. Of course, our favorite way to give in to sugar cravings is with a delicious slice of dried fruit which in addition to hitting our sweet spot tempers the rise in blood sugar levels since it also includes fiber. Next time you’re looking for a not-so guilty, indulgent treat try our recipe guru Stephanie Stock’s favorite, dried bananas smothered in creamy almond butter–convenient, delicious and a good source of protein. Or consider one of our favorite sugar substitutes.
We understand though, sometimes you need something a little more devilish. For those days when only a brownie, cookie or piece of cake will do, you can still give in without devastating your diet. The key? Sugar substitutes. Readily available options taste as good (or better) than they’re crystal cousin and often have fewer calories and less impact on your blood sugar. Here are a few of our favorites.
Dates: Dates are nature’s dessert, so it only makes sense they’d make a great sweetener. In fact, they’re 55 percent fructose. Date sugar is made from dehydrated, ground dates and makes a great replacement for brown sugar. It has a wonderful figgy sweetness that’s perfect for baking.
Coconut sugar: Has a low glycemic index (meaning it won’t spike blood sugar like sugar) and carries the added bonus of also delivering magnesium, potassium, and zinc. We also love that it has a delightful caramel flavor. Try coconut sugar as a one-for-one replacement to brown sugar.
Erythritol: Don’t worry, this sweetener is not as scary as it sounds. Erythritol is actually sugar alcohol found naturally in fruits, vegetables and even cheese. It’s nearly as sweet as table sugar but, bonus, is virtually calorie free. Substitute half the white sugar in recipes with erythritol. Trust us, no one will taste the difference.
Stevia: Though it has zero calories, stevia is actually 300 times sweeter than table sugar. Derived from a plant native to South America, Stevia has been used by native people for hundreds of years. We’re glad it’s finally made its way to the States. Because a little goes a long way, we like to use Stevia in drop form to sweeten beverages. Add fresh lemon juice to water and 1 to 2 drops of stevia for a cleansing lemonade. Refreshing and tasty!