There’s no denying the SUGAR convo is at an all time high. Pun totally intended. I will say, I notice more than ever people are sugar shaming, and I don’t think that’s cool. I still have sugar on occasion and believe it’s totally OK to listen to your body and take things day by day. As we approach the holidays, there are even more sugar-filled treats readily available, so I figured this blog post would come just in time.
The greatest lesson is that not all sugars are created equal, and there are much better alternatives and ways modify your favorite comfort foods.
So rather than shame sugar, let’s embrace the Halloween / Holiday season, and just learn some simple swaps, and “survival tips” shall we?
Make your own treats / Come prepared.
Making your own treats and sweets is really the ONLY way to truly know what’s going into your desserts and candy. Obviously it’s less simple than picking something up at the store, and may require a dish or too, but the ability to use less refined sugars and ingredients is a definite plus.
To stay prepared, I suggest offering to bring a better-for-you dessert option to the next Halloween or Holiday party made with gluten-free flour, dark chocolate rather than milk or white chocolate, and coconut oils rather than vegetable or soy.
Not a chef? All good – desserts are the most fun to test in the kitchen, because even the “fails” are still dessert. Chocolate is chocolate am I right??
Fruit – Fresh AND Dried, is your friend.
You all know Made in Nature dried fruit is my bae. I love that their products are JUST fruit, no nonsense added. You’d be surprised, many dried fruits have added sweeteners and funky preservatives. Is fruit not sweet enough, people? I keep my cupboards stocked with Made in Nature because I can easily add them to trail mix, oatmeal bowls, and baked goods.
Want to know my Made in Nature Staples?
- Dates : Add 1 to a smoothie, make raw desserts with them, or enjoy one stuffed with almond butter (so good).
- Dried Cranberries: Great to add to salads and holiday desserts.
- Dried Apples: Perfect for fall, these are such a great snack. I also add them chopped up to overnight oats a lot, and hope to make an apple oatmeal cookie soon.
- Dried Bananas: Ok, these are addicting. Dried bananas are low key delicious. Great plain as a snack or in trail mix with almonds, cashews and dark chocolate- YUM!
Learn your swaps.
My favorite sugar swaps are dates, coconut nectar, and coconut sugar.
Dates are great if you’re processing and want a sweet caramel flavor, coconut nectar is awesome because like honey, it’s a vegan option that is liquid and sticky – great for desserts, dressings and sauces. Lastly coconut sugar is my ABSOLUTE favorite. It’s a perfect 1 to 1 replacement for white sugar, and you can’t tell the difference, it tastes just like brown sugar. It makes it the most versatile for baking and also my favorite to stir into coffee.
Other “honorable mentions?” I don’t use these all the time, but I like the following sugar swaps as well!
- Monkfruit sweetener
- Manuka Honey
For more healthy swaps, check out this blog post where I break down dairy-free alternatives.
I think more than anything, learning to eat mindfully has been the NUMBER 1. You can eat the most sugar filled treat occasionally if you do so mindfully and listen to hunger cues.
I can honestly say that I’m happier with one small “real” piece of cake, rather than a huge portion of something overly “healthified”. Because can we be real… a gluten-free, soy free, egg free, sugar free, dairy free brownie can end up tasting like cardboard.
Live a little. Healthy is a mindset, it ebbs and flows, and there are no rules.
Ready for a recipe?? These bites are simple to make – just throw it all in a food processor and you’ll have a candy substitute when you need justtttt a little something sweet to power through the rest of October.
Want something that’s ready to go – FIGGY POPS. Luckily, even if you’re not in the mood to make these bites, Made in Nature has a *sweet* alternative. Their figgy pops are also made from simple, real ingredients, and they even have nut butter filled flavors!
Be sure to follow Made in Nature over on Instagram, too!
** This post was sponsored by Made In Nature, however all opinions are my own!