16 November 2017 | Schwartz
We all love a sweet treat every now and then – but refined sugar can often hide in the places you least expect. As well as being in fizzy drinks and biscuits, you can also find it in breakfast cereals, sauces and more. However, simple swaps can dramatically reduce your refined sugar intake for a healthier week. These recipes use simple tricks to satisfy your sweet tooth with more nutritious alternatives, such as fresh fruit or a hint of sweet spices. And the best bit? You won’t even be able to tell the difference.
Having porridge for breakfast sets you up for a busy day ahead, thanks to slow-releasing carbohydrates that keep you full until lunch. For a twist on a classic breakfast, add zingy ginger and sweet nutmeg to your warming bowl of goodness. Simmering the oats, milk and spices in a pan will gently infuse the oats with a subtle flavour, and you can even try using a milk alternative such as unsweetened oat or coconut milk for a little extra smoothness. Top with fresh fruit and a small drizzle of honey or agave nectar.
Muesli is quick and easy to whip up at home, and you can make it far healthier and tastier than the packets you’ll find on supermarket shelves. Spread oats, almonds and sunflower seeds on a baking tray with a sprinkling of sweet cinnamon and bake for around 10 minutes. Once cooled, simply mix your crispy oat mixture with plump sultanas, dried apricots and cranberries. This healthy toasted muesli recipe not only cuts down on sugar, but counts towards your daily fruit and vegetable intake as well – result!
This refreshing salad first invented in the Waldorf hotel in New York City is just the ticket to a sweet treat without the added sugar. Packed full of flavour and plenty of different textures, it’s the perfect snack in-between meals served up on dark rye crackers, scooped into lettuce boats or simply eaten on its own. Juicy apple cubes and refreshing celery slices perfectly contrast the crunchy walnuts, and a simple creamy dressing seasoned with salt, pepper and lemon juice brings it all together.
While a salad is often the healthiest thing you can whip up to eat, beware that shop-bought salad dressings are often a prime culprit for hidden sugars. Good news is, it’s easy to make your own versions of classic drizzles with natural, lower sugar ingredients. This Thousand Island dressing recipe uses creamy mayonnaise, chopped peppers and olives with peppery flat leaf parsley for a fresh flavour. Then simply stir in some rich tomato purée and smoky paprika for that distinctive pink colour.
While fruit may contain a relatively high level of sugar, the fibre and nutrients that it also contains makes it a better alternative to the refined kind. Keeping a pot of simple compote in the fridge is a great idea for when the sweet cravings hit – then simply use as a low sugar jam alternative, or even top with toasted oats and nuts for a healthy crumble. Our compote recipe uses rhubarb, plums and pears – but you can use whatever combinations that take your fancy. You can add a pinch of sugar if you like, but as simmering the fruit brings out its sticky sweetness, we find it doesn’t need it.