Sugar is seemingly one of the most essential ingredients to our favorite desserts, particularly around the sweetest day of the year. To help maintain a low-sugar diet, and not sour Cupid's favorite holiday, consider trimming back just a bit - a teaspoon here and a smart swap there - to help keep you on track.
To celebrate, we’re going granular this February with a few trade-this-for-that suggestions to help satisfy your sweet tooth without trading off a healthier eating plan:
Good Morning, Honey: Rather than stirring sugar in your tea or flavored creamer in coffee, opt for a hint of honey as a natural substitute. And, honey pairs well with plain yogurt, whole wheat toast or swirled into oatmeal. Bonus: this nutrient-packed pick also features antibacterial properties and serves as a natural cough suppressant. Other all-natural options include maple syrup, pureed fruit and molasses.
Bake Something Special: Whipping up a favorite dessert for your special someone? Sweet idea. Baking at home enables you to control how much sugar goes into those ganache cupcakes, and you can experiment with a variety of healthier substitutes. To get started, here’s a handy 101 of ingredient swaps that may reduce the sugar in a recipe. For example, this chocolate pudding features ricotta cheese as a creamy, high-protein surprise ingredient. And, these tasty Sweet Banana Chocolate Cookies combine healthy oats, tasty bananas, dark chocolate, cinnamon and almond flour.
Boost Your Artificial IQ: Curious about artificial sweeteners? From aspartame to sucralose, the growing number of sugar substitutes gives you several options. Tap this article for a well-rounded overview, and if you’re curious about what’s best for you and your littlest Valentines, click here.
A Little Goes a Long Way: Planning a night on the town? Splurging on dessert is OK; just ask for two forks and split that slice of French silk with your date. Or, if you’re purchasing treats to enjoy at home, choose a smaller size, which will save on your sugar intake and your wallet!
Casie Robinette, an Optum fitness expert shared her thoughts on the importance of staying committed to a low-sugar lifestyle, “If you make one change to improve your health, reducing sugar is the number one action step I encourage clients to strive for. Sugar has a negative impact on so many health conditions – from obesity to heart disease. Holidays can be a challenging time to stick with our wellness goals, but there are many work-arounds and your loved ones will support you, cheer you on, and ultimately thank you for your commitment to better health.”