Refined sugar has found its way into a lot of pantry staples, from breakfast cereals to packaged snacks to salad dressings. If you consume refined sugar every day, it can cause inflammation, obesity, diabetes, and other illnesses.
Natural sugars are not only versatile to cook and bake with, but it is good for you. Along with refined sugar, artificial sweeteners are not good for health. You can use Lakanto Monk Fruit sweetener in your favourite baking recipes. If you are thinking for a while to give up on refined sugar, here are six natural sweeteners and some recipe inspirations to get you started:
1. Monk Fruit Sweetener
This 100% natural sweetener is extracted from Monk Fruit, a.k.a Luo Han Guo. Lakanto Monk fruit sweetener is low glycemic, zero-calorie, and 300X sweeter than sugar. This keto-friendly, vegan sugar substitute works just like sugar. So, if you are making some pancakes for breakfast, add Lakanto Monk Fruit sweetener in a 1:1 ratio. Lakanto sweeteners are great for people with diabetes or on a wholefoods diet. You can use it in tea or coffee or use it in your favourite baking recipes. Visit the Lakanto India website to check out the monk fruit sweetener range.
Recipe inspirations: Chocolate chip cookies, blueberry muffins, apple pie, etc.
This natural sweetener not only tastes delicious but is also loaded with health benefits. Always buy raw honey for a local beekeeper to get the maximum benefits. Locally sourced raw honey contains bee pollen that is rich in health benefits.
Honey is anti-bacterial and has wound healing properties. Honey has anti-inflammatory properties, which are great if you are having a cold or flu. Honey contains a wide range of antioxidants like phytochemicals, flavonoids, and ascorbic acid. You can add a teaspoon of honey to your morning cup of green tea. For a quick remedy to cold and sore throat, make a ginger honey tea. Mash a thumb-size piece of raw ginger in a mortar and pestle. Put the smashed ginger in a teapot and top it with hot water. Cover with a lid and let it brew for 15 minutes. Pour the prepared tea into a cup, add 1 tsp of honey, and mix well.
Recipe inspirations: Herbal teas, honey thyme lemon cake, honey oatmeal bread
Dates are naturally sweet and come with multiple health benefits. While there are a variety of dates available out there, Medjool is considered the king of dates. Always buy dates that are grown in Israel, Saudi Arabia, Oman, or other Middle Eastern Countries. You can enjoy dates as a snack or use them in baking or even cooking certain dishes to add sweetness. In middle eastern households, dates are often offered with tea as a sign of their hospitality. In Persian households, dates are often added in Pilaf or Biryani dishes which are cooked with rice, meat, and spices. Dates are high-nutritious and high in fiber, potassium, magnesium, copper, manganese, iron, and vitamin b6.
Recipe inspirations: date chocolate cake, date energy bars.
A classic syrup to drizzle over pancakes, you can use Maple syrup in a myriad of recipes. Maple Syrup is naturally sweet and comes with nutritional benefits. Always buy organic maple syrup, preferably sourced from Canada. Maple syrup is rich in manganese, zinc, calcium, potassium, iron, and magnesium. You can use maple syrup to drizzle on crepes, pancakes, and waffles.
Recipe inspiration: maple glazed chicken, maple harissa carrots, maple apple crumble.
Originating in South America, the natural sweetener, Stevia, is extracted from a plant. Stevia leaves are about 200–300 times sweeter than refined sugar. Stevia doesn’t give a blood sugar spike, making it a healthy sweetener for diabetic people. You can use Stevia in powder or liquid form. Use Stevia to add to your morning cup of tea or coffee.
Recipe inspirations: Ice teas, baked custard, cocktails, mocktails
You can make applesauce at home with apples that taste naturally sweet. To make the applesauce recipe, add 2 pounds of peeled and cored apples with 1/2 cup water, 1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar, and bring it to a boil. Once the apples are cooked, mash apples with a hand blender or a potato masher. Store the applesauce in an airtight jar in the refrigerator.
Recipe inspirations: muffins, breakfast cookies, cakes, and bread.
Ripe bananas are a great way to naturally sweeten your baked items. To make banana puree, you need to smash 3-4 ripe bananas using a fork and use the puree in the recipe.
Recipe inspirations: chocolate banana bread, banana chocolate chip cookies, muffins.
Coconut sugar is extracted from the nectar of flower buds of the coconut palm. It has a low glycemic index and tastes sweet like sugar. It is a sweetener of choice for diabetics as it does not give a blood sugar spike as compared to refined sugar. Along with sweetness, coconut sugar has some nutrients like potassium, zinc, iron, calcium, and antioxidants. Coconut sugar has a rich caramel taste similar to molasses.
Recipe inspirations: coffee, cookies, muffins, tea cakes.
You can easily make date syrup at home using Medjool dates. Simply blend the dates with water until smooth and store in the fridge. Dates are rich in nutrients like iron, calcium, folate, vitamin K, magnesium, and selenium.
Recipe inspiration: Drizzle over pancakes
These are some of the healthier natural sweeteners that you can use daily instead of refined sugar. Even though these are natural sweeteners, use them in limited quantities. Visit Lakanto India for more recipe inspirations using monk fruit sweetener.