As I am reaching the middle of the second week of the no sugar challenge, here is a round-up of tips, ideas and recipes from the first week.
So far, this challenge has been nowhere as hard as I thought it would be. As I never rely on ready-made food, it is one major source of sugar I do not have to worry about. Sacrificing my teaspoon of coconut sugar in my coffee or drizzle of pure maple syrup on my porridge has been no big deal; however, I miss baking… A lot! So over the next few weeks of the challenge, I am going to explore sugar-free baking, which might be the real challenge as far as I am concerned. So far, my research into sugar-free baking has shown two things:
– More often than not, “sugar-free baking” means free from refined sugar and those recipes will use honey, pure maple syrup or other natural alternatives to sugar, which are forbidden as per the rules of my challenge.
– In a lot of sugar-free baking books, artificial sweeteners are used in place of sugar. Artificial sweeteners are an absolute no-no so this is not even an option for me!
So what’s a girl in love with baking to do? Well, I am going to explore using ONLY the natural sweetness of fruit (fresh and dried) for my baking. I have a bit more experimenting to do before I bring you a couple of recipes, but I can safely say that, on the quest to sugar-free baking, over-ripe bananas are your best friends!
Read the labels! Sugar is present in more products than you would think and often tries to remain incognito by using an alias. Be wise to added sugar: Dextrose, Fructose, Glucose, Sucrose, Maltose, Syrup, Cane juice, Raw sugar, Evaporated cane juice, Fruit juice sweetener, Corn sweetener, Corn syrup, High-fructose corn syrup, Modified food starch are all sugar by another name.
2- Do you miss that teaspoon of sugar in your morning coffee?
Add a pinch of spice to your beverage such as cinnamon, nutmeg or mixed spice.
1tsp espresso powder
½ tsp vanilla extract
¼ tsp mixed spice (or cinnamon or nutmeg)
100ml boiling water
100ml hot milk of choice
Put the espresso powder, vanilla extract and mixed spice in a cup. Mix the water and milk together and pour them in the cup. Mix thoroughly and enjoy!
3- Instead of a sweet pudding, round off a special meal with a cheese board, served with grapes.
4- Use fruits and dried fruits for their natural sweetness
But, use dried fruits in moderation: because their natural sugar content has been “concentrated” by the drying process, they are quite high in calories.
For example, add a handful of dried cranberries to a lentil, courgette and plum tomato salad.
Coconut Porridge with Stewed Apple and Currants
Ingredients (serves 2)
40g porridge oats
200ml coconut milk
100ml milk of choice (I use unsweetened soya milk)
1 apple, peeled, cored and chopped
½ tsp cinnamon
2tbsp of water
Mix the oats, coconut milk and milk in a microwave-safe bowl and cook on high heat for 7 minutes, stirring often (be careful not to let the milk boil over.)
Meanwhile, place the apple, cinnamon and water in a small saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring often, until soft.
Serve the porridge, topped with the stewed apple and currants.
If you’ve decided to join the challenge, I hope the above tips and recipes help you. If you have any question or need any support, please do not hesitate to drop me a line on Sandra’s Holistic Kitchen’s Facebook page: www.facebook.com/sandrasholistic
Good luck with the rest of the challenge! J