Well my month ‘sugar free’ has come to an end. I pretty much managed it with the odd slip up here and there. Sugar really is everywhere! My verdict on going sugar free is that for the whole family I want to try and keep refined sugars to a minimum, they do nothing for our health and have zero nutritional value. However I don’t buy into the idea of cutting out foods with naturally occurring sugars. Often these foods are packed with vitamins, minerals and antioxidants so excluding them long term could potentially lead to deficiencies.
Lots of the sugar free gurus suggest the use of a sugar substitutes, natural sweetners and artificial sweeteners instead of refined sugar. My gut feeling around this is that as with foods containing sugar they should be used in moderation and viewed as sometimes foods. I try and choose to sweeten foods with natural sweetners that contain some nutritional value such as honey, fruit puree, root vegetables or dried fruit.
Obviously natural sweeteners in baking still contain sugar so consuming too much of them could still lead to tooth decay (particularly in children as the enamel on baby teeth is thinner than adult teeth) and weight gain. If you want to know more about the different types of artificial sweeteners and sugar substitutes and the pros and cons of using them check out this interesting article by the Mayo Clinic.
So my tricks to reduce the sugar in baking without compromising the taste too much are:
- Reduce the sugar in cake and muffin recipes by a third.
- Include spices in your baking such as cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg.
- Use vanilla extract, lemon and orange zest to add more flavour dimensions to baking.
- Use apple puree or mashed banana to sweeten.
- Use almond or other nut meal and peanut butter.
- Make the portion sizes smaller!
I have quite a few recipes on my blog already that are refined sugar free or low in sugar that you might be interested in:
- Low sugar banana and date muffins
- Coconut ice blocks
- Sugar free custard
- Fluffy pancakes
- Banana Bread
- Honey yoghurt biscuits
- Jam drops
I’ll be adding some new recipes over the next week or so so watch this space! Remember to subscribe to Freddie’s Food to receive them by email.