Hopefully by now you’re aware that consuming too much sugar is bad for you. And maybe you’ve even read the fascinating article in the New York Times recently about how sugar at all, in any amount, is a straight up toxin to our bodies. (If not, it’s fascinating. Read it here.) Either way, it’s with a heavy heart that many of us attempt to cut out that delicious killer from our diets. Is a life worth living if it’s done without fresh berry scones, chocolate chip cookies or blueberry pancakes?
Alright, so I’m being a bit melodramatic here, but the truth is that breaking up is hard to do. If you’re trying to break up with sugar, go on the rebound and take a chance with some of these very worthy options: Fruits. What a novel idea—fruits as sweeteners! Can it be done? You bet. Read on to learn about a few fresh fruits you can use to replace sugar in your baking and cooking adventures. And never have to say goodbye to something you love again (at least not in the scone form).
Figs are mineral powerhouses. They have the highest combined mineral concentration of any cultivated fruit—any! Figs supply excellent sources of calcium, potassium and iron, not to mention ample amounts of fiber to keep you regular. Eat figs for bone health, blood health and digestive health.
Make a fig puree for using as both a sugar and fat substitution. Combine 8 ounces of fresh figs and 1/4 -1/3 cup of water in a blender; puree until smooth. If using figs, soak figs in water until softened before pureeing. Use as you would applesauce in baked recipes, as a substitution for both fat and sugar. Replace up to half the fat in a recipe with fig puree, and reduce or eliminate the sugar called for. Or use the puree as a spread over toast and fruits; or thin it out with more water and use as a liquid sweetener for coffee, drinks and in place of honey or maple syrup in your recipes.
Not unlike figs, dates are wonderful for the stomach, bones and blood. They are rich in minerals like calcium, iron, phosphorus, copper and manganese, and help to promote bowel regularity. Their complex natural sugar constitution makes them an energetic food that helps us move and boosts our metabolism.
Date puree can substitute 1 cup of sugar in any recipe. Puree 1 cup pitted dates with 1/2 – 1 cup hot water until a thick paste is made.
We’ve all heard that bananas are an excellent source of potassium and fiber, but did you know that experts recommend eating two a day to control high blood pressure? Eat bananas and chill out, man.
Bananas can be substituted for 1 cup sugar in your recipes. Combine 1 cup mashed, overripe bananas with just a few tablespoons water; puree until smooth, adding water as needed to get a smooth consistency.
Image: Rubber Slippers in Italy