It's getting harder and harder to keep up with all the latest and greatest health food options these days… especially when it comes to natural sweeteners.
As soon as we think we have it all figured out, there's a brand new sweetener that's being marketed as the new “healthy option”. It can be overwhelming!
But don't worry… we've got good news for you. We sat down with our friend, Meg Thompson, who happens to be a nutritionist and got some real answers.
Best “Whole” Sweeteners = Bananas + Dates
Sometimes we need a natural sweetener that's not a liquid. Lucky for us, dates and bananas work perfectly for these! Dates are good and sticky, which helps things like granola bars stick together and bananas are our top choice for thickening up our favorite green smoothies! Both of these add natural sweetness and flavor with out reaching for the sugar jar in the cupboard.
Best “Liquid” Sweeteners = Honey + Maple Syrup
Honey and maple syrup are two of our favorite natural sweeteners. You may only think of these sweeteners when you're making a cup of tea or feasting on pancakes, but these two super-awesome, very natural sweeteners are good substitutes for sugar in so many ways! We use maple syrup and honey to sweeten everything from homemade salad dressings to green smoothies, homemade granola, and fruit salad–– not every fruit has to go in a blender (check out the recipe at the bottom of this page)!
Two “Not-So-Favorite” Sweeteners = Stevia and Agave
Stevia and Agave are the two natural sweeteners that are hot right now, but Meg recommends skipping out on both. They are both highly refined, just like white sugar. So even though they come from natural sources, we don't really consider either of them to be our top natural sweeteners of choice. And Agave is known to have high fructose content, which is linked to obesity and diabetes (among other things). Of course always do your own research, consult with your health practitioner, listen to your own body, and do what works best for your dietary needs and lifestyle.
Now it's time to fall in LOVE with our favorite (and super cleanse-friendly) snack.
Meet your new fav snack: Heaven in a Bowl
One of our favorite snack recipes from Fresh Start 21 is Heaven in a Bowl. It's fresh, sweet, and filled with all natural ingredients—including maple syrup! // serves 2
2/3 cup strawberries, stems removed and sliced
2 tablespoons sliced almonds
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1 sprig of mint, roughly chopped
1/2 tablespoon maple syrup
1. Combine strawberries, almonds, lemon zest, and mint in a bowl.
2. Drizzle with the maple syrup and stir.
Fresh Start 21 is a whole food meal plan that has over 40 mouthwatering recipes, a meal plan, shopping lists, and a private online cleanse group. We can't think of a better way to kickstart good eating habits AND try out some fantastic new recipes using natural sweeteners. Click here to learn more.