I may be a health coach but I still have a huge sweet tooth. (“Sweet teeth” as my daughter says.) Growing up, I was the biggest junk food junkie. I lived on candy, ice cream and soda – obviously before I knew any better. We now know of course that excessive amounts of added sugar can lead to diabetes, heart disease, cancer and more. These are all things that run in my family and quite possibly in yours.
But no matter how bad added sugar is for our bodies, it may not be realistic to cut sweet treats out completely. So what I have done is found ways to get my sweet fix by using fruit and natural sweeteners other than processed white sugar to my diet.
Keep in mind that there are pros and cons to ALL sweeteners. None of them are perfect. It can be frustrating trying to navigate your way through them. So, the next time you are doing your grocery shopping here are a few tips to make your buying process run more smoothly:
Choose Natural Sweeteners
Maple syrup, honey, stevia, date paste and coconut sugar all come directly from nature. You must make sure to check labels before you purchase. Many times, big companies trade out more natural sweeteners for the less expensive and sometimes artificial ones like high fructose corn syrup and “natural flavors”.
What are you using it for?
Will you be baking with this sweetener? Adding it to your morning coffee? Sprinkling over your breakfast? The texture, the taste and amount of sweetness are all things to consider when you are choosing which sweetener is best for you. Sometimes you can use fruit or even pureed fruit rather than white refined sugar – especially in baking. Many of you have made my banana cookies using 5 ingredients: banana, grape seed oil, pure vanilla extract, quick oats, organic chocolate chips. Other than the chips, there is no added sugar in this recipe as you can see. Using fruit instead of refined sugar when possible is a smart way to avoid unwanted energy spikes. You can also try adding apple sauce, figs or dates for a nice dose of sweetness plus a nutritional boost.
Moderation is Key
While honey may be be better for your body than white sugar, it along with other natural sweeteners can still have harmful effects on your health when over consumed. Over indulging in any sweetener could potentially be a health risk. You need to use what I call the “common sense method”. Take your size, activity level and health goals into consideration when deciding exactly how much of a sweet treat to consume. If you eat mostly vegetables and whole foods, a moderate amount of sweetness can actually be good for you. Keep it in balance!
Peanut Butter Crunch Bars:
Click. here for recipe…