It’s no secret that sugar makes food tasty. Most of us love a bit of sweetness in our diet! When we cook, it’s common these days to use processed or packaged foods that often house a host of hidden sugars.
As a result, one of the biggest concerns our team hears is that low-sugar food is bland. This may seem like the case as you reduce your added sugar intake, but if you stick with it, we promise that cutting down on sugar doesn’t mean you have to cut down on taste!
If you aren’t familiar with our recipes, we aim to utilise fresh, whole foods as much as possible, and enhance natural flavours with the addition of herbs and spices, as well as different preparation and cooking techniques (instead of relying on added sugar, excess salt, and unhealthy fats and cooking techniques). We like to call our recipes healthy diet recipes; they aren’t sugar free carb free as we use fruit, veggies, plain dairy and minimally processed grains, which contain naturally occurring sugars and carbs.
However, if you are looking for low carb diet recipes, then most of what we offer will be suitable. And when we do use carbs, we opt for complex, fibre-rich ones.
If you do require specific blood sugar diet recipes or diabetic diet recipes, we advise you to discuss their suitability with your medical practitioner (qualified dietitian, nutritionist or doctor).
To get you started, here are some ingredients that we like to use and encourage you to explore and incorporate into your cooking. In doing so, you can increase the flavour or subtle sweetness of real whole foods, without the need for adding sugar.
Fruits are packed full of vitamins, phytonutrients, water and fibre. They also include healthy, naturally occurring sugars. Use fresh, frozen or even baked fruit to give you a deliciously sweet treat, without the need for added sugar or syrups. Keep the use of dried fruit and fruit juice to a minimum.
Herbs & Spices
Fresh is always nice but having a well-stocked herb and spice rack will also help you avoid using commercially prepared sauces, dressings, seasonings and marinades, where sugar often lurks. If you need to inject some sweetness into your meal, vanilla and cinnamon are our two favourite go-tos; therefore we recommend you to have both of these in your cupboard.
Acidic ingredients such as a squeeze of citrus juice, some citrus peel or vinegar help boost and balance flavour while offering a refreshing zing! Acid enhances the natural flavours of the rest of the dish, a key ingredient in homemade condiments or during food preparation. It can also be used to cut through fatty cuts of meat and fish, or simply squeezed on fresh veggies or salad.
Roots such as garlic, onion, ginger, turmeric and horseradish all add a layer of flavour to a dish. Garlic and onions are used in many cuisines and recipes so should be a pantry staple in most kitchens. Ginger has a versatility that means it can feature in savoury and sweet dishes, as well as beverages.
As we mentioned, cutting back on sugar doesn’t have to mean missing out on taste. Have a browse through That Sugar Movement’s recipes for healthy meals for the entire family, just click the links below:
Enjoyment is another important ingredient we hope you will get from cooking your own meals or cooking more often, and this is enhanced when cooking for others. So where possible, share your tasty, low sugar meals with family and friends!
By Jennifer Peters, ANutr
Public Health Nutritionist