7 Healthier Alternatives to Sugar From a Rogers Senior Community
Make Healthier Versions of Your Loved One’s Sweet Treats With These Substitutes
If you’re caring for a loved one with a sweet tooth, it can be hard to convince them to cut back on sugar. Giving up sweet treats may not be an option, so using sugar alternatives is a great way to help your loved one lead a healthier life.
We know the damaging effects sugar can have on our health. These issues can be compounded in older people and should be monitored. Unchecked sugar intake is linked to high blood pressure, weight gain, diabetes, or fatty liver disease. Extreme cases can even contribute to heart attack or stroke.
A healthy diet is important for everyone, but especially for seniors. But after a lifetime of enjoying their favorite treats, sugar can be one of the hardest things to cut out (especially if your loved one has a sweet tooth or enjoys dessert after meals). Luckily, there are healthier alternatives to sugar available. They may require a little more home cooking or checking the ingredient list before purchasing – but the reward will be worth it.
The team at Magnolia Place Assisted Living and Memory Care has found the best refined sugar alternatives for you and your loved ones:
Agave nectar, or agave syrup, is derived from the blue agave plant. It has more antioxidants than sugar and has a strong flavor that may cause you to use less of it overall. Using a smaller amount can mean fewer overall calories consumed.
Coconut sugar comes from coconut palm sap. It is usually unrefined, meaning it keeps most of its natural vitamins and minerals. Keep in mind that the calorie count is similar to regular sugar so it should also be consumed in moderation.
Honey is in antioxidants and easier to digest than your average table sugar. Honey is known to help ease seasonal allergies and soothe sore throats. It is a great sugar alternative whether you’re whipping up a smoothie or baking cookies and can be used in a variety of ways.
Dates are naturally rich in fiber, minerals, and vitamins, which make them the perfect candidate for becoming a sugar alternative. Date paste can easily be made at home with a few simple ingredients. Once you’ve made it, you can use it instead of sugar in marinades, smoothies, or healthy salad dressings.
Maple syrup is naturally sweet and perfect for your Sunday morning pancakes. But it can also be used to sweeten up other breakfast choices like oatmeal or yogurt and is a nice bonus to dishes with vegetables, chicken, or salmon.
This plant extract is considered a zero-calorie sweetener and is extremely versatile when replacing sugar. It can be found and used in both liquid and powder form, making it incredibly easy to use in the kitchen. Stevia packs a heavier punch than sugar, so less of it can be used when cooking or baking.
When buying your loved one’s favorite snacks, read your labels and make some unsweetened swaps. Make them a snack of vegetables, natural cheese and whole-grain crackers. Choose unsweetened products when shopping for nut butters or granola bars. Add fresh fruit to your cereal or dessert plate instead of opting for sugary cereals or heavy chocolate cakes.
Although these are healthier alternatives, they should still be used in moderation – swapping one of these alternatives for sugar is not a license to overconsume. Talk with your loved one to help them understand the importance of curbing sugar intake and introducing alternatives into their diets.
Since quitting cold turkey can be tough to navigate, we recommend trying these alternatives when cooking or baking for your loved one. And hey, you may reap some of the benefits as well!
Here at Magnolia Place, we pride ourselves on providing healthy and delicious meals without sacrificing flavor. We believe food should be enjoyed while also providing nourishment, and that is always our number one goal when preparing meals for our residents.
To learn more about residency or to schedule a tour, contact the friendly team at Magnolia Place today.
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