Sweet Things in Life: Healthy Alternatives to Refined Sugar

Now let me start off with saying that our pops are first and foremost a treat. Just because we strive to make them healthier with every ingredient made from scratch, no refined sugars/corn syrup and we sneak in some veggies, don’t think you can give up taking your vitamins or your leafy greens when you eat one of our pops! We are simply trying to create an alternative frozen treat that parents don’t feel guilty about giving their kids. And parents, in turn, don’t have to count it as a cheat day when they indulge in a pop themselves!
So with that said, I don’t mind tooting our own horn and saying we managed to make a pretty darn tasty pop while cutting the fat and sugar! I will let you in on a lil secret…before joining the Mom and Pop Shop team, I had never really made a popsicle before! Aside of pouring OJ in ice cube trays as a kid, this was all new territory for me. I wasn’t coming into this with sacred family recipes past down from generation to generation, I’m kinda just winging it! To be COMPLETELY honest I don’t even have much of a sweet tooth (NERD ALERT: here’s
a really interesting article on how people perceive sweetness:
I do love food, though, and I know what tastes good and I LOVE LOVE LOVE cooking and putzing around in the kitchen so I took on the task. Every time I thought of a super creative pop flavor I would google it and, sure enough, I’m no culinary genius it already existed, but here where lies the challenge…how to make it healthier?? You can make anything taste good if you jam it with enough sugar and cream, so that’s where I found I could be creative and make our pop stand out. There was a lot of trial and error (A LOT) and without giving away too many of our secrets here are some tips I can share with you on how to sweeten up your dishes without having to bust out thee ‘ol bag of sugar:
1–Mix it up with some dried fruit, like apricots, raisons and dates. Add these sweet morsels to your oatmeal, cereal, or cookies. Dates are my go-to! Soak a couple of dates in hot water and use the sweetened liquid or puree the water and date to make a sweeter-than sugar paste chalked up with fiber!
2–Swirl in agave. Substitute agave directly for sugar, and it will have an added benefit of moisture so your banana bread won’t be a dried out brick!
3–Juicy ripe seasonal fruit. Can’t beat natural sweetness from fruit at its peak! You don’t have to worry about adding sugar to your smoothie or dessert when the ripe fruit provides all the sweetness you need! Super ripe brown bananas, in my book are gold (well…brown gold)! I put bananas in anything that needs sugar…pancakes, cake, homemade ice cream! It brings such a great texture too.
4–Splash in homemade fruit juices, like grape or apple which has a milder flavor so that it can sweeten your dish without overpowering. Just blend up your desired fruit with some water and strain.
5-Coconut oil and coffee, what? I was never a coffee person, mainly because of the bitterness and I didn’t want to add pounds of sugar, but then I had a kid and my coffee boycott went out.