8 Foods You Can Successfully Use as a Substitute for Honey
Different foods taste better with honey – especially when you use it as a natural replacement for sugar. However, even though it’s a wonderful sweetener to use in your recipes, some people need to cut honey out of their diets. You don’t need some special reason to look for a substitute for honey. It could be as simple as not having honey readily available in your home. Or you might think it’s too expensive, or you could be allergic to it. Whatever the reason, it’s great that there are so many alternatives to honey out there.
But finding the right substitute for honey can be tricky. There are many factors to consider – including the potential side effects of the sweetener replacement. That’s why we did the research for you so you don’t have to. This is what experts recommend if you want a substitute for honey that will keep your recipes tasty.
Reasons to Avoid Honey
- If you have diabetes. In fact, even if you suffer from glucose spike and dips, you should stay away from honey, just like you stay away from sugar. Despite the enduring belief that honey is better for you than sugar, both contain high amounts of glucose and fructose. In other words, both will spike your blood sugar.
- If you are a baby. You know what we mean – babies shouldn’t consume honey. This sugary ingredient contains tiny amounts of microorganisms like Clostridium, which adults can digest without a problem. However, children under the age of 1 should skip honey. Otherwise, they may develop infant botulism.
- For vegan reasons. While the matter is hotly debated still, most vegans would agree honey is an animal product. Thus, keep your distance and try our various substitute suggestions below.
- If you’re trying to lose weight. Sugar and a healthy diet don’t mix well. If you’re struggling with the amount of fructose in your diet or if you are overweight, you should probably avoid honey whenever possible.
1. Maple Syrup
Maple syrup has all the health benefits of honey without the high levels of fructose. This syrup is a natural sweetener collected from maple trees. As the healthier option, it provides a great source of zinc and manganese. Not only does manganese boost strong bones, but it also promotes leveled blood sugar. Beware of the many versions of maple syrup substitutes sold in supermarkets. These imitations are less expensive than true maple syrup, but they also contain high fructose corn syrup.
2. Yacon Root Syrup
Yacon root syrup is a God-given gift to humanity. In addition to being tasty and sweet, it also helps stabilize blood sugar and promote weight loss. Just a teaspoon of yacon root syrup before each meal can alleviate constipation and boost digestion. This substitute for honey is also notably rich in iron, an important mineral that many are deficient in. while yacon root syrup is a great replacement for honey in many recipes, do not bake it.
3. Coconut Nectar
With its neutrally sweet essence, coconut nectar is one of the most common honey replacement. Don’t be quick to dismiss it – it’s more resourceful than you can imagine. Collected from coconut tree sap, coconut nectar boasts high nutrient levels. In addition to vitamins B and C, it also contains up to 17 amino acids and several top minerals. Because it has a low glycemic index, coconut nectar also makes you full longer than other natural sweeteners. It might even promote weight loss! All in all, this alternative is good for your heart and your cholesterol levels.
4. Agave Nectar
Agave nectar is a natural substitute for honey sourced from various species of the agave plant. Yes, it’s the same plant that gives us tequila, which is why agave works so well paired with tequila cocktails. Even though it’s sweeter than honey, agave tends to be less syrupy. And, just like honey, agave nectar comes in different flavors, from dark amber to light. The lighter agave has the taste of a rare honey, while the dark agave is evocative of caramel.
5. Rice Syrup
You can trust rice syrup to naturally sweeten your food without ruining the taste of your favorite recipes. Made from cooked and fermented rice, this syrup successfully turns the starches into sugars. Because of its tendency towards nutty flavors, act with caution when adding it to certain recipes. While its sugary content is lower than other alternatives to honey, we recommend you consult your doctor if you are diabetic. Rice syrup will raise blood sugar levels, so beware.
Also known as the black treacle, molasses has great benefits to several health-related problems. Made in plenty of varieties, molasses is a byproduct of making sugar out of sugar cane and beets. It is rich in minerals and vitamins, thick, and particularly high in iron.
7. Date Paste
Dates are readily available in almost any grocery store and make a great natural sweetener. Because they don’t need refrigeration, dates are a great road-trip snack. In recent years, date paste has become a champion for those looking for a substitute for honey. While your local health food store probably sells date paste, you can also make it on your own. Simply use the blender to mix a handful of dates with a little bit of water. Add water until you reach the desired consistency.
8. Stevia Products
Stevia is one of the world’s most common calorie-free, natural sweeteners. Originating in South America, this honey replacement has been substituting traditional sugar for thousands of years. You can consume it even if you’re on a weight-loss diet. In addition, the American Diabetics Association recognizes stevia as a satisfactory alternative that doesn’t influence blood sugar and glucose levels. Feel free to add stevia to smoothies, coffee, tea, and just about anything else you like!
Just because you’re avoiding honey doesn’t mean you have to say goodbye to desserts and other delicious concoctions! Choose any of the alternatives above without worrying your recipes won’t taste as good. Also, we recommend you experiment with more products before swearing them off. Who knows which will make you forget about honey once and for all?
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