All-Natural Alternatives to Sugar

By Michelle Poche

 There’s actual science behind the sweet tooth, but what if we could tame that mischievous tooth with other, all-natural alternatives to sugar?

“I could made a recipe four different ways, subbing out sugar for another natural sweetener each time!” I suggested at a recent IHM staff meeting.

“Yes!” was the resounding reply from around the table. 

I knew I was on to something. It wasn’t atom splitting, but it involved dessert so it had to be important. I left that meeting and found a simple recipe. 

Blueberry Muffins


  •  1 ½ c. flour
  • 2 tsps. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • ¾ c. sugar
  •  1/3 c. applesauce
  • 1/3 c. skim milk (or almond milk)
  • 1 egg (or egg substitute)
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  •  2 c. blueberries


 Preheat oven to 400°. Spray 24 mini-muffin cups with cooking spray.

 Blend flour, baking powder and cinnamon.

 In separate bowl, blend sugar, applesauce, milk, egg and vanilla. 

 Combine bowls, fold in blueberries and fill muffin cups 2/3 full.

 Bake 15 minutes or until inserted toothpick comes out clean.

Then, I picked four sugar alternatives: coconut sugar, pure maple syrup, Stevia, honey. Here’s how it went.


  1. Coconut Sugaraltsweets
    Appearance/Taste: Similar to brown sugar
    Sugar/Alternative: 1:1
    Cost: $4.99/lb.
    Regular grocery store: Unlikely
    Cooking time: According to recipe
  2. Pure maple Syrup
    Appearance/Taste:  Typical syrup
    (Richer than most sugary brands)
    Sugar/Alternative: 1:3/4 (This recipe = just over ½ cup)
    Cost: $6.99/8-oz. bottle
    Regular grocery store: Likely
    Cooking time: 20 minutes (Because of added liquid)
  3. Stevia
    Appearance/Taste: Similar to artificial sweetener
    Sugar/Alternative: 1 cup:1 tsp. (This recipe = 3/4 tsp.)
    Cost: $8.99/4.2-oz. jar
    Regular grocery store: Likely
    Cooking time: 13 minutes (Could’ve gone less. VERY dry.)
  4. Honey
    Appearance/Taste: Typical honey
    Sugar/Alternative: 1 cup:1/2 cup (This recipe = 3/8 cup)
    Cost: $3.69/8-oz. bottle
    Regular grocery store: Likely
    Cooking time: According to recipe



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