THE BLOG

5 Alternative Sweeteners For Your Smoothies

This post was published on the now-closed HuffPost Contributor platform. Contributors control their own work and posted freely to our site. If you need to flag this entry as abusive, send us an email.

Sugar is one of the most talked about foods in both the healthy and not-so-healthy food worlds. Sugar is made from the sugar cane plant and is a natural sweetener. It will sweeten your dish and can be used in so many things. That is the problem.

Because sugar sweetens so well, it is often manufactured and processed in mass and in less than natural ways that strip any nutritional benefits that might belong to it. The process of making sugar "white" strips any nutrients from it and allows for mass production and super cheap sweetener. This means that most foods and drinks that contain added sugar are laced with the kind that spikes your blood sugar, causes you to crash and leads to weight gain.

This even extends to smoothies. There are some smoothies, especially those with a yogurt base, that contain added sugar and starches to get the right amount of texture and sweetness. Fortunately, there are quite a few other ways to sweeten your smoothies (and other drinks, baked goods and foods) a bit more naturally, with a few extra nutrients to go along with the sweetness.

Natural sugars contain things like iron, potassium, good bacteria, fiber and magnesium in addition to sweetness. These are things like raw sugar, molasses, coconut sugar, maple syrup, honey, dates and (for smoothies) bananas. While some of these do still have similar glycemic-index to regular sugar, they also contain those nutrients that make them a bit healthier for you.

All of them will sweeten your smoothies, but the best to add are the following 5 sweeteners:

1) Dates:
- Fruit of the Date Palm
- High in minerals
- High in potassium (balances electrolytes)
- Sweet and chewy, so blend easily

2) Maple Syrup:
- Pure from the maple tree
- Anti-oxidants
- Vitamins and minerals
- Good source of iron

3) Honey:
- Medicinal qualities when local and raw
- Contains good bacteria

4) Molasses:
- Low glycemic
- Contains iron, as well as other vitamins and minerals
- Adds a rich quality to dessert-like smoothies

5) Bananas (frozen):
- Contains fiber to balance sugar
- Great source of potassium
- Thickens smoothies and makes them creamy

The next time you go to make a sweeter smoothie, grab one of these natural sweeteners to keep the sweetness but also keep it healthy.

Ready to try them out but need a recipe to follow or perhaps you want a little more info on these naturally sweet foods? Grab a copy of The Smoothie Life or head over to The House of Healthy Resource Library for more recipes and tips.

Jessi Andricks, author of Detox 101 and The Smoothie Life, is an emerging leader in the field of modern healthy, whole living. Through her training in Health Coaching, Yoga, and mind-body fitness, she's able to blend together the best of all worlds to create innovative online wellness and private coaching programs. Jessi fuses together clean eating basics, empowering fitness techniques, and expert wellness tips to help clients live the happier, healthier lives. Get in touch with Jessi at thehouseofhealthy.com.