Want to satisfy your sweet tooth, yet get more nutritional bang for your calorie buck? Instead of heaping tablespoons of the white stuff, try these suggestions:
- Fruit concentrates . Fructose sugar is sweeter than table sugar, and because of its more steady absorption and metabolism in the bloodstream, it doesn’t produce the roller coaster effect of refined sugars. Fruit concentrates, such as pear and apple, are the best because fructose is the primary sugar in these fruits. While the amount of fruit concentrate you choose to use depends upon your own sweet or tart preferences, as a general guide, use half as much fruit concentrate as sugar in a recipe.
- Cinnamon . Cinnamon is a sweet spice, and a small amount goes a long way. Two teaspoons of cinnamon can change a tart apple pie to a sweet one, lessening the amount of sugar needed. As an added nutritional perk, a teaspoon of cinnamon contains 28 milligrams of calcium and traces of B-vitamins, fiber, and iron.
- Other sweet spices. Spicing up a dish with distinct flavors will lessen your temptation to add sugar. Try these herbs and spices to accent the flavor in foods: mint, cloves, anise, and ginger. A twist of lemon peel spruces up the look and flavor of almost any beverage, including plain water.
- Fruit toppings, such as crushed pineapple, applesauce, strawberries, or blueberries instead of syrup on pancakes and waffles. Sprinkle some cinnamon or nutmeg to bring out the fruit’s natural sweetness.
- Plain yogurt flavored with fresh fruit. The result is less sweet and contains better sugars than the syrupy fruit preserves.
- Unsweetened canned or frozen fruit packed in water or its own juices rather than those in which syrups have been added.
- Reduce the sugar called for in recipes by at least a half. Add some cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla, or fruit concentrate to perk up the sweetness. (This may not work well in traditional recipes for cookies and cakes. You may have to experiment to discover how low you can go and still produce results you find acceptable.) If you substitute honey or molasses, use half or less of the recommended amount for sugar. If the recipe calls for 1 cup of sugar, try using 1/4 cup to 1/2 cup of honey.
- If you substitute honey, molasses, or fruit concentrate for sugar in a recipe, use half or less of the recommended amount for sugar. If the recipe calls for a cup of sugar, try using a quarter to a half cup of honey.
- Instead of sugar in coffee or tea, try a cinnamon stick. The swirling is fun and gives you something to do with your hands. Many people find the cinnamon stick helpful after a meal for breaking not only the sugar habit but also the smoking habit.