Have you ever counted the grams of sugar you are consuming every day? I did recently, and I was shocked at the amount of added sugar I was eating. While organic packaged foods are healthier, some still contain a lot of sugar. For example, a bowl of organic cereal averages 12 grams of added sugar per serving, a snack bar contains an average of 8 grams of added sugar and bread contains about 2 grams of sugar per slice. If you consumed a bowl of cereal, a snack bar and 2 slices of bread among other foods during the day, that’s 24 grams of sugar without even touching dessert!
Before Silas was born, I rarely ate anything with added sugar. Since I’ve been nursing, my appetite has increased so much, I hadn’t been paying attention to the sugar I’d been eating. I have a history of blood sugar issues, and they are starting to return. It’s my goal over the next few weeks to cut out almost all added sugar from my diet and I’d love for you to join me! I’ll be hosting a special Simple Swaps series where I’ll offer different suggestions for cutting out added sugar, particularly with breakfast items, snacks, sides and desserts, the most difficult categories to cut sugar from.
In my series, I’ll also be sharing recipes with no added sugar. So, let’s stock up on some SAFE sugar substitutes so we can be prepared for the recipes and tips to come in the following weeks.
Xylitol: This is my favorite SAFE sugar substitute because it tastes almost exactly like sugar (just a little sweeter) and has the same consistency as sugar. You can also grind it in a coffee grinder to make powdered sugar. It is made from corn (unlike unsafe sweeteners like Splenda which are made from chemicals, not food). Be sure to buy a non-GMO version like Now Foods makes. Because this is a sugar alcohol, it acts as a fiber and could have an effect on your digestive system if you know what I mean. 😉 So, I use this sparingly in recipes. The nice thing is, because it is sweeter than sugar, you only need to use 1/2 to 3/4 of what you would use of sugar. Because it is a sugar alcohol, there are 0 net carbs, making it a great sugar-free option. And just a note for you dog lovers, don’t let your pup snack on anything made from xylitol as it is unsafe for them.
I buy my xylitol off of Amazon as they seem to run cheaper than stores and I have yet to find a coupon for xylitol. The cost is $15.69 for a 2.5 lb. bag but keep in mind you’ll be using half of what you would of sugar and using even less since you’ll be combining it with other sweeteners listed below. A 2.5 lb. bag goes along way and usually lasts me 6 months. Go here to purchase my favorite brand of xylitol, Now Foods.
Stevia: Stevia is an herb that makes an excellent sweetener. I like to use stevia in recipes that contain fruit as it brings out the natural sweetness in fruits. My preferred form of stevia is powdered extract, though you can also get a liquid extract if you prefer. Since it’s an herb, there are 0 carbs and 0 grams of sugar.
Again, I prefer Now Foods as the brand because it’s organic and 100% pure stevia. You have to be careful when purchasing stevia, as many varieties contain additives including sugar (go figure). A 1 oz. container should last you awhile, it lasts me about 6 months. Amazon is where I buy mine and you can get it for just $7.41 right now (reg. $8.99) by going here.
Fruit Juice: If you are less concerned about carbs but just want to cut out added sugar, fruit juice makes a wonderful sweetener. It works great when used with stevia and/or xylitol or just on it’s own. Just be sure to buy 100% organic juice with no added sugar.
I often will use a combination of 2-3 of these sweeteners to get the best flavor. I’ll be sharing recipes in the coming weeks using these sweeteners so be sure to stock up now! I’ll also be sharing my favorite sugar-free products and more, so be sure to check back for new posts in this special series.
What are your favorite sugar substitutes?
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