We all crave something sweet from time to time and often it’s a combination of sugar and fat – chocolate! – or sugar and carbs – cookies! – that gets us drooling.
When you’re next whipping up a delicious treat, make these simple swaps to create a healthier – but just as tasty – version.
Read more: The most decadent chocolate cookies you can make — and they’re sugar-free
1. Swap cocoa powder for raw cacao powder
A lot of our favourite chocolate recipes call for cocoa powder, but often the cocoa powder we grab in supermarkets is mixed with other ingredients (including sugar) and is not great quality.
Using raw cacao powder (instead of cocoa) means you’ll reap extra health benefits: The good quality stuff is high in anti-oxidants. And while it might cost more, it’s much stronger, so you won’t need to use as much. Raw cacao is also a good source of heart-supporting magnesium.
Read more: These sugar-free chocolate dessert squares are the ultimate treat
2. Swap milk chocolate for sugar-free dark chocolate
How is chocolate made? Cocoa butter and powder, separated at birth, are reunited to make chocolate, along with sugar and milk (and other additives).
When a recipe – or you on your couch – calls for a slab of chocolate, make sure you get good-quality dark chocolate with less (or no) sugar, milk and added fat than your regular supermarket slab.
Just like cacao vs. cocoa, the good dark stuff delivers a whack of nutrients and it’s stronger in chocolatey flavour.
Cheap chocolates use the addition of vegetable fats (which make chocolates taste waxy) instead of the naturally good-for-you cocoa butter.
Read more: 4 pretty amazing ways eating chocolate can help you lose weight
3. Swap white sugar for coconut sugar
Now for the sweet stuff: Coconut sugar has a lower glycaemic index than regular white sugar, which means that it doesn’t spike your blood glucose and insulin the way table sugar does. And no one wants to be crashing at their desk after a midday treat, right?
White sugar also contains zero nutrients, which is why it’s referred to as “empty kilojoules”. Coconut sugar contains fibre as well as small amounts of potassium, magnesium, calcium and iron, to name a few.
Another good-quality low-GI sweetener is honey, which is a natural anti-bacterial and can help alleviate symptoms of hay fever and sore throats. Just make sure you buy honey from your local area (read the label!) to reap the benefits.
This article was originally published on www.womenshealthsa.co.za
Image credit: iStock