I got on a health kick back at the beginning of June, and I saw that sugar was a huge source of empty calories in my own diet. I thought that I wasn’t that bad, since I only really used sugar to sweeten teas… but I drink tea like it’s going out of style, and the calories really added up. I started looking into sugar alternatives to sweeten without sugar, and my wonderful parents were great about suggesting all sorts of helpful things that I hadn’t thought of just because sugar was always so handy. Here are 5 great things to use to sweeten without sugar, and I hope they help you sort out your eating habits just a little bit.
This is the one that most people go to when they’re trying to cut out refined sugar from their diets, and for good reason—it’s accessible, and it tastes great! It’s also so great for your body, thanks to its amazing antibacterial, antimicrobial, and antifungal properties! Everyone knows about popping a spoon of honey in some hot tea to help soothe sore throats, or mixing hot milk with some honey to help you sleep, after all. Honey is still caloric, but it’s not as “bad” as sugar is, so if you’re looking to switch to better sugar sources, this is a good option for you to try.
A lot of people don’t like stevia, but I’m not really sure why. It’s calorie-free and sugar-free, and is derived from an herb; it’s even been used for centuries to sweeten without sugar, so it’s not like this is new or anything! This stuff is so much sweeter than sugar, I once used this stuff when I was making pie filling for my boyfriend, and I quickly learned that sugar and stevia shouldn’t be replaced in exact amounts. Stevia is easy to find in almost all supermarkets, I usually find bags of it in the baking aisle or in the tea aisle.
Did you know that this stuff has fewer calories and more minerals and nutrients than honey does? Crazy, right? I’m Canadian, so I put maple syrup on almost everything, but I never thought to use it in my tea to sweeten without sugar until my parents suggested it. A little maple syrup can go a long way, and adding too much can quickly overpower your tea’s flavour, so be mindful of that when you start trying this out.
Agave syrup became really popular in the last few years, so much so that you can ask for it at a lot of trendy tea shops in big cities as a vegan option. Agave is great because it can dissolve easily in both hot and cold beverages, so you’re not stuck with a lump of sludge at the bottom of your mug. It’s a bit sweeter than sugar, but not to the extent that stevia is. I usually add half a teaspoon of agave syrup to my tea, which is perfect for me.
I absolutely hate putting milk in herbal and floral teas, and think it has no place in them unless I’m going for a matcha latte, but I have to admit that milk does help add a touch of natural sweetness to teas without using sugar. In teas that are traditionally had with milk, like Earl Grey and Yellow Label teas, I like to use a splash of evaporated milk because I find that sweeter than regular milk. While milk is a bit caloric, I like using it to sweeten without sugar sometimes jut because I need more calcium in my diet anyway!