One of the first things I did when I became interested in health was to get rid off all whites. I switched out the 'not so good' ingredients for healthier versions when I baked or cooked. White sugar was replaced with un-refined natural sugar, and white rice and flour were replaced with whole grain versions. This was many years ago, and over the years have modified and got rid off even more things. Today I eat a Paleo style diet. I allow my children to have a special treat day once a week, and they also enjoy extra treats during the holidays. We don't make a big fuzz about food when we visit people and we eat what's being served.
Change doesn't happen overnight. It is important to take baby steps so that you don't get overwhelmed. It is what you do everyday that counts, and it is not the end of the world if you occasionally enjoy food from the "banned list". It may sound easy when I share things about health, but it has taken me a while to be the health person I am today.
To get you started I put together a list of ideas on how I have replaced sugar in our house over the years.
Here are some ideas on how you can replace sugar in your baking and cooking.
- Replace 1 cup sugar with:
1 1/4 date sugar,
1 1/2 ground up raisins, dates or other dried fruit.
1 1/2 cups molasses.
1 1/2 apple, black berry, or other fruit juice concentrate. (unsweetened of course)
1 1/2 cups brown rice syrup.
What I do:
- Pancakes/waffles -syrup:
I mix a variety of berries with some water and let it simmer on the stove for a while. Add some pineapple chunks or little fruit juice if you need to sweeten it more. I store the left over in a glass bottle in the fridge. If you need to make it thicker, mix some arrow root powder with a tiny bit water. Add to the mixture at the end of the cooking time.
- Yogurt flavors:
I puree a mixture of berries and some fruit and I add it to natural unsweetened yogurt. Add some sweet fruits like banana or pineapple if your child thinks it is too sour.
- I puree fruit, berries and sometimes coconut milk and put in popsicle molds. Leftover smoothies or protein shakes can be used the same way.
- Hot cereal:
I add frozen berries and let it cook with the cereal. This eliminates the need for any sweetener, often cinnamon is used as a topping when the cereal is done.
- Dried fruit home made jam:
First of all, rehydrate dried apples, pears, peaches or other combinations, with enough water to cover the fruit. Simmer until soft or soak overnight. Put in the blender and mix until it is smooth. It will keep about a week in the fridge. Add dried date granules if you want it sweeter.
- Jam recipes:
*Dilute peanut butter with water and add crushed pineapple.
*Soak 1 cup dried apples and 1/2 dates in 3 cups water and then blend.
*Blend dried figs with desired amount of fresh orange juice.
*2 cups pitted prunes, 1 cup cashew nuts. Add water and blend.
*Blend almond and dates with equal amount of water.
*1 1/4 cup pitted dried prunes or 1 cup of pitted dates, 1 cup of dried apricots and 1/2 crushed unsweetened pineapple. Simmer prunes and apricots in enough water to cover fruit, or soak over night. Blend with pineapple in blender until smooth.
Sometimes when I bake I use Rapunzel's unrefined raw sugar. I also like to use crushed pineapple or dates when I make a special treat. I always have raw honey and maple syrup at home. I do realize it's effect on the blood sugar so I use it wisely. I prefer to use more berries than fruit since many berries have a low glycemic index. They are truly superfoods with all their nutrients.
Don't be afraid to add a little extra rapunzel raw sugar ( it truly tastes and smells yummy) until the family's taste buds are re-trained. It is still less sugar than store bought things. My children prefer that I add banana or pineappe to make things sweet, and it is enough as a sweetener.
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This post is linked to
Real Food Wednesday
Simple Lives Thursday
Fight Back Friday
Sunday School at Butter Believer
Make Your Own Monday Link-Up