Let’s face it, we all love a sweet treat, don’t we? There’s nothing wrong with an occasional sugar hit, of course – with the emphasis on ‘occasional’. But you can also have healthier sweet treats for the family by making your own. It takes a little time, but is worth the effort.
Where to start? Firstly, by taking a look at the healthier sugar alternatives to be found in supermarkets and health food stores. Each one has its own unique advantages, taste and nutritional profile, while all can be used in baking and as a sweetener on porridge, breakfast cereals, etc.
  • Blackstrap molasses – unrefined dark sugar syrup. Inexpensive. Characteristic taste. Contains iron and range of other useful nutrients.
  • Rapadura – unrefined raw sugar crystals, containing many nutrients. Popular with kids.
  • Coconut sugar – unrefined sugar crystals.
  • Date syrup – dark, unrefined, inexpensive.
  • Maple syrup – partly refined.
  • Rice syrup – mild taste.
  • Honey – check the quality, as cheaper brands are little more than pure sugar. Local, unrefined honey is best.
  • Dark raw agave – low GI.
  • Suma spread range – concentrated fruit spreads. Inexpensive and versatile.
  • Fresh fruits – always best!
  • Xylitol - very low GI. Refined, but less calories than sugar and very low GI, so diabetic friendly. Good for baking.
  • Stevia – zero calories and zero GI. Diabetic friendly.
  • Stevia Erylite – zero calories and zero GI. Use the same as table sugar. Diabetic friendly.
  • Vegetables: sweet potato, parsnip, squashes, carrot etc. These can be used to sweeten cakes, breads, muffins, granola, smoothies, etc.