Sweetness Without Sugar

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As we embark on the “season of sweetness,” some easy ideas for nutritive desserts may be helpful. You are likely already a believer in the importance of removing artificial sweeteners and refined sugar from your diet. Being a sweet lover myself, I like to have ingredients on hand that I can whip something up easily that satisfies and nourishes at the same time.

Though sugar cravings can indicate blood sugar imbalance, dehydration, a need for more protein or an emotional response, sometimes we ARE balanced and just want something sweet. Pick and choose from the following list of ingredients for those times when a little something is needed and keep these staples on hand:
  • Unrefined coconut oil
  • Raw cacao (A.K.A chocolate)
  • Nut and seed butters (e.g. Hemp seed butter, almond butter, macadamia nut butter, sunflower butter)
  • Dates
  • Liquid stevia; can use plain or choose flavored varieties from SweetLeaf® (e.g. Vanilla Crème) Note: Be sure to choose from brands containing only stevioside such as NuNaturals® or SweetLeaf®.
  • Chia seeds
  • Sun Warrior Protein® powder (available in Vanilla, Chocolate and Natural)
  • Peaceful Planet® protein powder (Incan blend mixture)
  • Hemp seeds
  • Shredded, unsweetened and unsulphured coconut
  • Dried, sulfite-free, fruit
  • Wheatgrass powder (e.g. Amazing Grass® has individual packets for sale)
A category of easy desserts includes bon bons. Bon bons meet some important goals:
  • They require few ingredients.
  • All ingredients can be mixed together in one bowl.
  • They are a little messy but fun for adults and kids of all ages.
  • Easy clean up (especially if some “batter” is nibbled off of fingers while preparing).
  • Easy to grab and go for a treat at home or “on the run.”
  • To make easy combinations, choose 3-4 ingredients from the above list of ingredients to mix together for a serving of yum. Balancing healthy fat and protein along with the sweetness helps to balance blood sugar while providing you with your desired sweet taste.
Here is a recipe for “Nut Balls” from my book, Sweetness without Sugar: ½ cup ground almonds, walnuts, cashews or pecans (can use store-bought flours e.g. almond flour/meal) ½ cup unsweetened, unsulphured, shredded organic coconut ¾ cup Sun Warrior Protein or ¼ plus 1/8 cup Nutribiotic Rice Protein ½ cup unsalted and unsweetened almond, cashew or sesame butter (e.g. almond butter or tahini); I often use a combination such as ¼ cup almond butter plus ¼ cup tahini. ¼ cup unsweetened organic canned coconut milk (use more or less to suit your taste and consistency preferences) ½ cup dried blueberries (unsweetened, corn-syrup and sugar-free) 6-10 Tbsp brown rice syrup or yacon syrup or 5 drops liquid stevia (or to taste)
  1. Combine all ingredients in a bowl.
  2. Use a spoon to mix until the combination stays together. Add more coconut milk to suit your taste and texture preferences.
  3. Scoop into balls using a heaping teaspoon. Optional: sprinkle with shredded coconut or raw cacao.
Note: If you are sensitive to nuts, use sunflower or pumpkin seed spreads. Makes: 32 balls Preparation time: 15 minutes Serving size: 2 balls Calories: 170; Total fat 10g; Saturated fat 3 g; Protein 7 g; cholesterol and trans-fat free. Wendy Vigdor-Hess, RD has been a lover of sweets since birth. As a nutritionist, educator, speaker and consultant for nearly 18 years, she passionately spreads the message that addressing challenges through diet is an important key to a healthy and happy life.