We hope that you’ve had time to stock up on raw maple, agave and rice syrups by now so you’re ready for the next option in our mission to replace refined sugars. Fruit is one of the healthiest and most effective sweeteners. Now you may wonder how a nice crisp apple will sweeten your baking, but you just have to think outside of the box.
Both fruit juice concentrate and pureed fruit are ideal for replacing toxic refined sugar, while they add interesting flavours to the mix, and here’s how to do it:
Use 3/4 cup of unsweetened fruit juice concentrate (e.g. apple, orange, white grape) for every cup of white sugar, while decreasing the amount of liquid by 3 tablespoons.
Fruit puree can substitute sugar 1 for 1.
The great thing about baking with pureed fruit is that it can simultaneously substitute butter (think of all the calories you save!). Another great idea is to mix some of your fruit puree with sweet vege purees like pumpkin, butternut squash or sweet potato which makes your recipes even healthier. Do note though that baking with fruit puree results in a different texture, colour and sometimes flavour. So maybe start of with replacing only half the sugar in your recipe and take it from there. If you feel you can’t replace all the sugar all the time, don’t worry. Just keep in mind that every single gram you do replace already makes a difference!
Here are some quick pointers on choosing the right puree for your recipe:
Mild purees (e.g. apple): great for breads, cakes, brownies
Strong purees (e.g. banana, prune, pumpkin): good for recipes with complementary flavours; banana and pumpkin go well with baking that uses cinnamon, nutmeg or similar spices; prune works wonders in chocolate treats such as brownies.
And now to our how-to guide for specific favourite foods which are usually full of sugar (well, not any longer!):
Packaged Waffles with Golden Syrup
First step (to tie you over): As a rule of thumb anything homemade is better than packaged foods. So find a low-sugar waffle recipe and make fresh waffles yourself. Golden syrup is full of refined sugar, so move to raw organic honey or maple syrup instead.
Second step (in the long run): Replace waffles with a simple pancake recipe (eggs, rice flour and rice milk) and add some sultanas to the dough if you like. Now let’s tackle the topping: mix a variety of berries with a little water and simmer, also adding some pineapple chunks for extra sweetness. Top your pancakes with steaming, fragrant berry syrup!
First step (to tie you over): Mix your favourite ice cream with natural, unsweetened yoghurt.
Second step (in the long run): Puree fruit, berries and a little coconut milk and make yummy popsicles. Or make this gorgeous dairy-free, sugar-free chocolate mousse and simply freeze it.
First step (to tie you over): Did you know that most low-fat flavoured yoghurts have 28 grams of sugar per little tub? (That’s 110% of the recommended daily intake for women and 75% for men!). So get into the habit of checking your bought yoghurts for more info than just the low-fat label!
Second step (in the long run): Puree a mixture of berries/fruit and add it to natural unsweetened yoghurt which you can make at home really easily. Kids love banana and pineapple.
First step (to tie you over): If you think you’re giving your child a healthy drink when choosing flavoured milk, think again. One small bottle of flavoured milk contains as much sugar as Coke! For starters, choose powdered hot chocolate over flavoured milk.
Second step (in the long run): Get into the habit of making smoothies, using creamy oat milk or rice milk as a base. A pureed banana and/or some berries add heaps of flavour, while reducing your child’s sugar intake by a whopping 58 grams!