Sugar-Free Sweetness is easy with these healthy substitutes for sugar
Baking is one of the most delicious ways to cook food. Whether it's your birthday cake, chocolate chip cookies, muffins, and whatnot, they are possible with the magic of baking.
Baking is not limited to desserts and sweets — certain types of dishes such as Baked Sweet & Spicy Chicken, Baked Spicy Salmon, Baked Pasta, etc. are not desserts, but yet are one of the best-baked dishes around. However, the majority of the baking dishes require the need for sugar, and it's essential to take care of it, after all we need to bake healthy!
Sugar is one of the key ingredients for many baking or cooking recipes, as it is the vital source of sweetness for all your recipe needs, even though it is not the healthiest ingredient for many of us. But what if we say - you can retain the sweetness WITHOUT the sugar? It would mean no high sugar levels and no sugar-related health problems while retaining the yummy taste and flavors.
There are many alternatives with which you can replace sugar. In fact, there are so many of them that sometimes choosing the one best for you can be tough. We share with you some of the most commonly used healthy substitutes for sugar which can be easily used while baking along with their health benefits and best ways to use them
Honey is one of the best natural replacement for sugar. You can get it quickly from your nearest supermarket, or harvest it in your backyard by keeping bees. The honey that comes from the latter is called raw honey, and that's the one preferred over synthetic or processed honey, for baking.
Advantages Of Honey Over Sugar:
- Honey tastes pretty much similar to sugar while used in baking but yet gives a different subtle flavor, which is why chefs often use it as a "secret ingredient."
- It does not spoil soon. If you notice crystals sitting on the bottom of your honey jar, keep it in warm water for 15 minutes, and you are good to go!
- It helps in keeping your baked dishes and goods soft, moist, and fresh for a more extended period as compared to sugar
Problems Faced With Honey:
- When heated, processed honey tends to lose all its beneficiary minerals, and its raw enzymes get killed. Hence it's preferred to use raw honey over processed honey.
- Due to the natural variation in kinds of honey, you'll need to experiment with different types of honey to see which honey tastes the best with your baking combination.
- The amount of liquid used in any recipe will require modification as honey contains water.
Tips To Use Honey as a replacement of sugar in baking:
- For every 1 cup of sugar, use 3/4 cup of honey.
- Reduce liquid in the recipe by 1/4 for every cup of honey used.
- Add 1/4 tsp of baking soda for each cup of sugar replaced (if the recipe doesn't contain baking soda already.)
- For every 1 tablespoon of sugar, use 3/4 tablespoon of honey.
- For every 1 teaspoon of sugar, use 3/4 teaspoon of honey.
- Oven temperature should be reduced by 25° F( 15° C) below what's recommended in the recipe.
Always remember not measuring your ingredients right can lead to one of the biggest mistakes as proportions are the key to perfection when it comes to baking.
Raisins taste sweet and serve as a good replacement for sugar. These are a type of dried grapes. Hence its also put in the category of “dry fruits”. This healthy substitute for sugar contains many beneficial vitamins and minerals.
Advantages Of Raisins Over Sugar:
- Raisins help in lowering blood pressure
- These are rich in minerals, vitamins, carbohydrates & dietary fiber
- They also lower your risk of cancer and heart disease
Problems With Raisins:
- Raisins are high in calories
- Having raisins in excess can cause problems in the digestive system, develop allergic reactions and can cause weight gain as well
- These are poisonous for Dogs
Tips for using Raisins in place of Sugar in Bakery dishes:
- To use raisins, first, you need to chop them into small pieces properly. You cannot use non-chopped raisins since they do not blend into the recipes as chopped raisins do.
- Use 25% more chopped raisins of whatever amount of sugar the recipe asks for. It simply means adding 1¼ cup raisins for every 1 cup of sugar.
- Do not store chopped raisins over a period of 90 days when kept in an airtight container.
Dates are another common type of food that’s substituted for sugar. It is known for its health benefits and nutrition value.
Advantages of Date Palm Over Sugar:
- Dates are super high in fibers, hence become very helpful in improving bowl movements
- They help in strengthening bones
- Interestingly dates also help in curing a hangover! So next time you party hard, carry some dates with you for a quick and healthy hangover recovery ;-)
- They also help in reducing inflammation in the body
- Since dates help in reducing blood pressure, they are a good choice for high BP patients
- Dates are well known for their antioxidant properties
- If that's not all, its caramel-like flavor makes this super food an awesome substitute for sugar in your baked delicacy
Problems with Dates:
- Dates can get you to gain weight quickly
- In certain cases, they can also cause stomach ache due to high fiber content
- Due to the high sugar content in dates, these are not recommended for people with diabetes
Tips For Using Date Palm:
- To use dates in your recipes, you’ll have to chop them properly and process them in a food processor. Now your dates have become a date syrup!
- Use ⅔ cups of date syrup for every 1 cup of sugar in the recipes
- Add less liquid to the recipe according to the date syrup used
The list would have been incomplete without including Bananas. Bananas are one of the most popular fruits in the world. Its sweet taste can be used to replace sugar in baking recipes.
Advantages Of Bananas Over Sugar:
- These are beneficial for controlling blood pressure
- This yellow fruit is a great source of Potassium and Fibre
- They help reduce bad cholesterol levels
- Bananas contain Vitamin A which helps in improving vision
- They help curb cravings, which in turn helps in reducing weight
Problems with Bananas:
- Eating too many bananas can cause sleepiness, dental decay, constipation, gas, and weight gain.
- It cannot be included in low-carb diets.
Tips for using Bananas as sweeteners while baking:
- To use banana as a sugar replacement, you must first make a puree out of it and then add it to the dish
- All you need to do is take a few tablespoons of water along a couple of mashed bananas. Add water as needed to gain smoothness over the puree. However, keep in mind the liquid consistency of the end result before you add even a single drop. Never forget Baking is a science which needs accurate measurements and its very easy to miss this and commit a mistake
- Use 1 cup of banana puree for every 1 cup of sugar. Adjust according to taste
- Reduce liquid in the recipe as required
There we go! Here are the most commonly used healthy sugar replacements in baking and how to use them. Which one would you be using?