If you're like me, you love dessert and sweet treats throughout the day. My mom was always worried I would develop cavities because I ate so many cookies, chocolates, and cakes as a kid––grandma could never say no. I was lucky to never get a cavity, but I'm even luckier to have changed my approach to eating sweets.
When I first became interested in healthy eating refined sugar was the first unhealthy ingredient I learned about. It was also the most difficult thing to reduce my consumption of...until I learned about the world of healthier vegan desserts.
If you struggle with a sweet tooth, you'll want to acquaint yourself with these fantastic and delicious refined sugar alternatives. As you begin to ween yourself off of refined sugar, you'll notice that your tastebuds shift and you'll appreciate the deeper more rich flavors of alternative sweeteners and sweet foods. Sugar is addictive, so expect a few bumps along the way. Undeniably, it's a journey worth taking.
1. Sugar has an unfair monopoly. It isn't the only granulated sweetener that works in baked goods and other sweets. Replace refined white sugar with turbinado (raw cane sugar), coconut sugar (or coconut nectar), maple sugar (or maple syrup), and date sugar. These alternative sugars are more flavorful and nuanced than refined sugar. They've got more of their nutrients intact, and may have a different effect on your blood sugar levels. Coconut sugar is low-glycemic, so safer for diabetics. I wouldn't consider these a whole food, but they sure are closer than white sugar. Brown sugar is white sugar with molasses and caramel color added, FYI.
2. Go whole. Dates are a great sweetener for a variety of delicious desserts. Don't expect to replace white sugar with whole dates, though. Wholesome dates are best used in desserts that call for a liquid sweetener––dates should be pureed into a paste to replace liquid sweetener. I especially love using dates in raw desserts––like chocolate mousse, raw crumbles, and bars. They sweeten and they add a creamy texture and hold to desserts.
3. Get fruity. Instead of relying on traditional desserts to get my sugar kick, I would rather eat a piece of fresh fruit that is naturally sweetened. Your body loves this type of sugar even better. It's not addictive like refined sugar, and it packs more than a sweet punch. Fresh fruit is full of vitamins, minerals, and other protective phytonutrients. Keep your kitchen well stocked with seasonal fresh fruit all year.
4. Ice Cream? How about some banana nice cream? You can eat this creamy frozen dessert for breakfast, it's that healthy! Add cocoa powder, chopped nuts, and/or other frozen fruit to fancy it up. Click here for a recipe.
5. Do. It. Yourself. Make your own desserts at home to avoid consuming too much refined sugar. Here are some more recipes for delicious vegan desserts made with alternative sweeteners :)
Green Tea Cheesecake
Banana Coconut Milkshake
Cashew Chocolate Mousse
Need more help getting off of refined sugar? Check out this post on Isabelle's blog: theplantiful.com/how-to-get-off-refined-sugar/
Jenné & Isabelle
We're both passionate vegan foodies with backgrounds in nutrition. We decided to bridge our skills to create Buddhalicious; a program that guides members to find balance, excitement, and flavor on their plates, and in their lives.