How to Sweeten your Food without Sugar

Sugar free sweeteners

The average Aussie adult consumes a huge 27 teaspoons of sugar each day. Luckily for the sweet-toothed among us, we can naturally sweeten our favourite foods using whole foods instead of table sugar. Try these nutrient-rich alternatives to keep your sugar intake in check. 


This delicious spice can be used in a variety of food and drinks to sweeten sans sugar. Try adding a generous sprinkle to your morning latte, yoghurt, porridge, banana PB toast and baked goods. Surprisingly, this versatile spice also works well as a sugar replacement in savoury curries and stews. Added bonus, cinnamon helps to regulate blood sugar, keeping blood sugar levels from spiking post-meal.

Pureed apple

Shun table sugar in favour of flavoursome apple puree. Simply steam or boil peeled, chopped apples and blend until smooth. Pureed apples can be used as a sugar replacement in all types of baking. No time to prepare apple puree? Try using grated raw apples instead. Add to wholemeal or almond meal pancakes or Greek yoghurt for guilt-free sweetness, fibre and filling power.


It may be surprising, but beets are very sweet. So sweet in fact that some refined sugars are actually made from beetroot. Try adding chopped beetroot to smoothies and fresh juices. Looking to naturally sweeten baked goods? Add some grated beetroot to up the nutrition and sweetness factor. Beetroot and red velvet cupcakes are the perfect marriage of colour and flavour.


Dried or pureed dates have huge natural sweetening power. Cut down or totally substitute the sugar in baked goods, salad dressings, desserts and smoothies with these sticky delights. Though dates contain a natural sugar, their overall sugar content is less compared to refined table sugar. Dates can be used to replace sugar at a 1:1 ratio. Choose unsweetened dried dates for best benefits.


Mashed banana is the perfect sweetening accompaniment to porridge. Add ½ a mashed banana when cooking your morning bowl of oats for a creamy and flavoursome breakie. Frozen slices of this versatile fruit can also be blitzed in smoothies for a thick shake texture and beautiful natural sweetness. Replace one cup of sugar with one pureed ripe banana when baking. Simply blend the pureed banana with two tablespoons of water until smooth and sub away! Choose ripe bananas to maximise sweetness.


Berries, frozen or fresh, bring a sweet flavour to most dishes. Naturally sweeten Greek yoghurt, smoothies, porridge, iced tea and mineral water with your berry of choice. Crushed berries on toast, hold the sugar, make a yummy, antioxidant-rich jam alternative.


Whether in stick, powder or essence form, fragrant vanilla adds a sweet taste to most foods. Try adding a drop to your morning coffee when trying to cut down on sugar or a teaspoon to baked goods, desserts, smoothies and homemade granola.


Flaked or desiccated coconut quickly sweetens homemade granolas, healthy muffins, pumpkin soups, salads, chia pods and biscuits without the need to reach for the white stuff.


 Image: Mama Glow


Holly Patterson

Holly Patterson is a Melbourne based Nutritionist with a Masters of Nutrition and undergraduate and postgraduate qualifications in the fields of Nutrition, Public Health and Psychology. Holly combines her psychology background with her nutritional qualifications and knowledge to offer a tailored nutritional consulting service for corporate and private clients. Holly is our Premium Performance nutrition expert.

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