7 Natural Sugar Alternatives For Holiday Baking

It’s the most wonderful time of the year! Time for friends, family, fun — and lots of good food! Celebrate this special season the healthier way, and try these seven natural and nutritious sugar alternatives when baking for the holidays!

Honey
Substitute 3/4 cup for every one cup of sugar
773 calories, 209 grams sugar
One of the most popular natural options, honey offers loads of vitamins B and C, in addition to 132 mg of potassium. It’s very versatile and can even prepare your body during the cold winter months by helping to reduce sore throats and allergies. For the most nutritional benefit, it’s best to choose raw, unrefined, and local honey. When baking, decrease the liquid by one-fifth and lower the baking temperature by 25 degrees to prevent browning. Experiment by drizzling a festive pattern on top of your dessert or on the plate!

Agave Nectar/Syrup
Substitute 2/3 cup for every one cup of sugar
449 calories, 100.3 grams sugar
Agave has the same sweetness as sugar without the sharp spike in your blood sugar level, and tastes similar to honey. When baking, reduce the liquid amount in the recipe by one-quarter cup. To do this, combine agave with the liquid or fats before adding to the dry ingredients, to prevent oil from layering on top. To prevent browning, lower the oven temperature by 25 degrees. Things can get extra sticky, so line your pan with parchment paper or extra oils, such as coconut oil, or butter.

Maple Syrup
Substitute 3/4 cup for every one cup of sugar
600 calories, 159 grams sugar
As the most tempting choice, it is a relief to know that maple syrup contains many vitamins to support the immune system. One cup contains manganese, iron, zinc, 180 mg of calcium, and 322 mg of omega-6 fatty acids. And add to that over 54 antioxidants! When baking, use real maple syrup from the tree — not maple flavored syrup made from corn syrup and caramel color. Reduce the liquid by three tablespoons for each cup of maple syrup. Your baked goods will have a brownish tint and can darken much quicker, so bake them for less time or lower the oven temperature by 25 degrees.

Blackstrap Molasses
Substitute 1/3 cup for every one cup of sugar
1,002 calories, 259 grams sugar
This sweet sugar alternative surprisingly has many nutrients. Just one cup contains more than the recommended daily allowance (RDA) of calcium, potassium, and iron. It also eliminates cancer-causing free radicals because of its copper and B vitamin content. When baking, save this natural sweetener for spiced breads and cookies, due to its hearty and distinct flavor. Balance its acidity by adding half a teaspoon of baking soda to your recipe (if not already using), and reduce the liquid by one-third cup.

Raw Cane Sugar
Substitute one cup for every one cup of sugar
758 calories, 202 grams sugar
Although less refined than white sugar, raw cane sugar unfortunately does not have any greater health benefits, nutritionally speaking. When baking, take note of how much larger the crystals are to regular sugar. If possible, try to dissolve them in the liquids or beat it into the eggs to ensure a softer, smoother batter. Or use it as a sprinkle on top of cupcakes or muffins.

Stevia (Pyure Bakeable Blend)
Substitute 1/2 cup for every one cup of sugar
0 calories, 0 grams sugar
Famous for helping those trying to lose weight naturally, this sweet, calorie-free treat has also been shown to lower blood pressure and blood sugar levels. When baking, reduce your pan size and baking temperature by 25 percent. Add one more egg white or increase baking powder/soda, and add fruit puree or yogurt for moistness.

Sucanat
Substitute one cup for every one cup of sugar
570 calories, 135 grams sugar
The outcome of juiced then heated whole sugar cane, this tasty choice contains iron, calcium, vitamin A, vitamin B6, potassium, and chromium. When baking, replace brown sugar with sucanat in any recipe you see. Since they both have a brownish coloring and taste similar to molasses, you can’t go wrong!

Don’t deprive yourself this holiday season — enjoy your favorite treats the healthier way with natural sugar alternatives.

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Resource: http://www.popsugar.com/fitness/Best-Sugar-Alternatives-Baking-30861504

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