Curbing Sugar Cravings through Baking
I live under the assumption that, at the end of the day, there’s no problem baking can’t solve. Friend having a hard time? Cookies. Don’t know what to do for a special occasion? Cake. Your bananas going bad? Banana bread. It might seem like, on a sugar-free diet, baking would turn into more of a problem-causer than a problem-solver.
Baking on a Sugar-Free Diet
So, here’s another problem to be solved by the magic of baking: Trying to avoid sugar but can’t kick the cravings? The solution – try baking without sugar. This idea might sound like a pointless exercise in frustration and futility, but there are lots of ways to whip up all those treats you miss that will satisfy not only your desire to bake but your sugar cravings as well.
Baking with stevia can be kind of tricky. It’s a little off from the texture and sweetness of sugar (stevia is actually much sweeter) so you’ll have to find special recipes that adjust for the differences. Another solution is xylitol – it’s also all-natural. You can use it to just straight-up replace sugar in pretty much any recipe (the only exception being that it doesn’t caramelize), so that makes life a little easier.
My favorite way of baking without added sugar is using fruit. Something about it just feels healthier to me than sugar substitutes and kicks the sugar cravings just as well. Of course, if your sugar-free diet includes a ban on sugar in any form, this is not for you – fruit has natural sugar. If you’re not being quite so strict, bananas and applesauce are my go-to sugar substitutes. Ripe bananas have lots of natural sugar (and taste awesome), and mashed up you can use them to substitute for not only sugar but also oil, too. The same goes for applesauce, though you want to check and make sure that the applesauce you’re buying isn’t loaded full of added sugar. Either of these fruit options are easy substitutions – one cup of pureed banana or applesauce for one cup of sugar. Cut down on the moisture (oil or milk) in the rest of recipe, though – there is such a thing as too moist.
The moral of the story here is that a sugar-free diet doesn’t have to be miserable, it doesn’t even have to be all that different than normal life. You don’t have to be constantly dogged by sugar cravings, sullenly eating celery in the corner. Just a little applesauce can make all the difference.