Sweet Swaps

The world loves sugar, and dietary guidelines suggest we need to drastically reduce this intake. Yoga Journal tells you three easy ways to add flavor to recipes with naturally sweet foods available around the globe.

Did you know these facts?

  • Berries get their rich color from disease-fighting anthocyanins.
  • When you dry a fruit, you concentrate its sugar content.
  • There’s a way to get a sweet flavor out of onions.

Sautéed fruits

Heat boosts the sweetness of fruits. Berries get their rich color from disease-fighting anthocyanins and are great candidates for a quick sauté.

GOOD FOR – A syrup stand-in on French toast; a mixer for oatmeal or Greek yogurt

TRY IT – Coat a medium skillet with 2tsp grapeseed oil and place over medium-high heat. Add 1 cup berries; cook, stirring often, until soft, 3–4 minutes. Mix berries into cooked oatmeal, along with slivered almonds, flaxseeds, and chia seeds. Top with a dollop of plain Greek yogurt and a dash of nutmeg.

Dried dates

Because fruit is comprised largely of water and sugar, drying concentrates its sugar content, amping up sweetness. Dried dates in particular add a high sweet factor, plus nutrition in the form of fiber—just one Medjool date delivers up to 6 percent of your recommended daily fiber intake.

GOOD FOR – A honey substitute in smoothies; blended with almond milk and ice for a healthy shake; a binder in fruit-and-nut bar recipes

TRY IT – Blend a pitted Medjool date with a frozen banana, almond milk, and cinnamon.

Caramelized onions

Veggies have natural sugars, too. When onions are cooked over low, slow heat, their complex sugars break down into simpler ones, yielding a slightly sweet flavor. Onions also contain the antioxidant quercetin, which may help lower your risk for certain cancers.

GOOD FOR – Topping for a sandwich, baked potato, or pizza; an omelet filling.

TRY IT – Heat1⁄2 tbsp olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add 1⁄2 sliced onion, cover, and cook until golden, 10 minutes. Increase heat to medium-high, and cook while stirring until onion browns, 5–10 minutes.

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