Paleo Sweeteners

If you haven’t tried using Paleo sweeteners in your homemade baked goods yet, here’s a breakdown of some of the best ones to try and some yummy recipes to get you started.

The Paleo diet is based on consuming nutrient-dense, whole foods that would have been available during the Paleolithic era. This means avoiding processed foods and refined sugars. Not to worry though, natural sweeteners are acceptable on the Paleo diet. Here are some of the best Paleo-friendly sweeteners to try:

1. Coconut Sugar

A glass bowl of coconut sugar with an antique silver spoon in it.
Coconut Sugar

Coconut sugar is a natural sweetener that comes from the sap of the coconut palm tree. It’s a delicious alternative to processed sugar and has gained popularity in recent years.

Coconut sugar has a slightly lower glycemic index than regular white sugar, which means it may cause a slower rise in blood sugar levels.

Coconut sugar is rich in vitamins and minerals such as iron, zinc, and potassium, making it a more nutrient-dense alternative to processed sugar. Although coconut sugar is more nutritious than regular sugar, like all Paleo sweeteners it should still be used in moderation.

Coconut sugar can be used as a substitute for regular sugar in cakes, muffins, cookies (like these delicious vegan almond butter cookies), smoothies, and salad dressings. It does have a slightly different taste compared to regular sugar. It’s richer tasting and similar to brown sugar in flavor, which complements many dishes.

Seven vegan almond butter cookies on a white plate.
Almond Butter Cookies Sweetened With Coconut Sugar

Be sure to choose a brand of coconut sugar that uses sustainable and ethical production methods. Otherwise the production process can sometimes be harmful to the environment.

If you’re looking for more recipes sweetened with coconut sugar, give these yummy vegan blueberry cookies a try. They’re soft and chewy with crispy edges. Or try these delicious vegan oat flour cookies. They’re nutrient-dense and delicious.

A white plate piled with vegan oat flour cookies against a white background.
Oat Flour Cookies Sweetened With Coconut Sugar

2. Raw Honey

Raw honey is a natural sweetener that is paleo diet friendly. It’s loaded with enzymes, minerals, and antioxidants. Raw honey is a natural product made by bees from the nectar of flowers. It’s a great natural alternative to regular white sugar.

Raw honey contains many beneficial nutrients and antioxidants. Like all forms of sugar, it’s still important to use it in moderation and avoid excessive consumption. Raw honey can be used in recipes that call for sugar or other sweeteners, such as cakes, cookies, muffins, smoothies, and salad dressings. It isn’t a 1:1 swap though, so for the best results, use recipes specifically developed with honey.

One thing to consider when sweetening dishes with raw honey is to be mindful of heat. Raw honey should not be heated above 118°F (48°C) because high temperatures can destroy its beneficial enzymes and nutrients.

Be sure to choose high-quality raw honey from a reputable source to ensure it is free from contaminants and has not been heated or processed. Store raw honey in a cool, dark place. Avoid refrigerating it because that can cause the honey to crystallize.

3. Maple Syrup

Maple syrup is one of my favorite Paleo sweeteners. It’s made by boiling down the sap of maple trees. It has a warm, rich flavor and can be a nutritious alternative to processed sugar, as long as it’s consumed in moderation. Like other Paleo sweeteners, it doesn’t contain any additives or preservatives.

Maple syrup contains antioxidants and other important nutrients such as zinc and manganese. Maple syrup can be used as a substitute for regular sugar in recipes such as baked goods (like these delicious maple syrup chocolate chip cookies) and salad dressings like this maple vinaigrette. Like all Paleo sweeteners, be sure to consume it in moderation.

Maple syrup comes in different grades, with darker grades having a stronger flavor and more antioxidants. The grade of maple syrup used in recipes will affect the flavor and nutritional content of the dish slightly. If you’re a fan of the flavor of maple syrup, go for the darkest grade possible. If you prefer a milder maple flavor then choose a lighter grade.

If you’re looking for more maple-sweetened recipes, try these maple-sweetened banana muffins. They’re easy to make and delicious. Or try these yummy chickpea flour cookies sweetened with maple syrup.

Maple sweetened banana muffins piled in a basket lined with a linen napkin.
Maple-Sweetened Banana Muffins

4. Stevia

Stevia comes from the leaves of the Stevia rebaudiana plant. It’s a natural, non-caloric, plant-based sweetener that’s a popular among people following a Paleo diet. Stevia doesn’t contain any artificial ingredients.

One of the principles of the Paleo diet is to eat whole foods that are similar to what our ancestors ate during the Paleolithic era. Stevia has been used for centuries by indigenous people in South America so it fits the bill in that regard.

Stevia doesn’t contain carbohydrates or calories and therefore does not cause a rapid spike in blood sugar levels, which makes it a great choice for many people.

5. Dates

Dates are a natural sweetener that is often used in paleo recipes as an alternative to refined sugar. Dates are high in fiber, vitamins, and minerals, making them a more nutritious option than many other sweeteners.

Dates are one of my favorite Paleo sweeteners and can be a great choice for people following a Paleo diet because they’re a whole food that’s free of artificial ingredients, additives, or preservatives. Dates have a lower glycemic index than refined sugar, which means they do not cause as rapid a spike in blood sugar levels as regular white sugar.

Be sure to choose high-quality dates that are moist and fresh. Medjool dates are a popular choice as they are soft, sweet, and blend easily. One thing to keep in mind when using dates as a sweetener is that they are high in natural sugars and should therefore be used in moderation.

Dates are perfect for sweetening cookies like these yummy peanut butter date cookies. It also works well in cakes like this simple spelt flour cake. They add a delicious caramel-like flavor to all sorts of baked goods.

Eight peanut butter date cookies on a white plate.
Date-Sweetened Peanut Butter Cookies

6. Molasses

Molasses is a thick, dark syrup that is a byproduct of sugar production. It’s high in essential minerals like iron and calcium. When following a Paleo diet, it’s important to choose molasses that hasn’t been processed with additives or preservatives.

Blackstrap molasses is a type of molasses that’s suitable for Paleo diets. It’s made from the third boiling of sugar cane syrup, which results in a dark, thick molasses with a slightly bitter taste. It’s commonly used as a sweetener in Paleo baked goods such as these delicious gluten-free vegan gingerbread cookies, as well as in marinades and barbecue sauces.

Be sure to choose a brand of blackstrap molasses that’s organic and free from additives and preservatives. Look for brands that are labeled “unsulphured” or “no sulphur added”. Like all Paleo sweeteners, be sure to consume blackstrap molasses in moderation.

Remember that although these Paleo sweeteners are natural and nutritious, it’s still important to consume them in moderation because some of them can still have an impact on blood sugar levels.

Gluten free vegan gingerbread cookies stacked on a plate with a red striped dish cloth in the background.
Gluten-Free Vegan Gingerbread Cookies Made With Blackstrap Molasses

7. Monk Fruit

Monk fruit is a Paleo-friendly sweetener which is extracted from the monk fruit plant and is often used as a sugar substitute in baked goods and beverages. Monk fruit doesn’t contain any artificial ingredients and also has no effect on blood sugar levels, which makes it a great option for people who are trying to reduce blood sugar spikes.

It’s important to note that monk fruit is much sweeter than regular white sugar, so you’ll need to adjust the amount used in recipes accordingly. Some people find that monk fruit has a slight aftertaste, so it might take some experimentation to find the right balance of flavors in your recipes.

If you haven’t tried baking with monk fruit sweetener yet, give these yummy peanut butter chocolate monk fruit cookies a try. They’re soft, chewy, and delicious.

Eight monk fruit cookies on a white plate.
Cookies Sweetened With Monk Fruit

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