Let’s talk SUGAR.
The movement to cut sugar out of our lives has been steadily increasing over the years. Its not easy. I’ve recently come to realise that I’m probably addicted to it (and so are most of us) and therefore despite a big decrease in added-sugar consumption… I still haven’t quit sugar completely; for example, I still bake a lot of cakes with caster sugar in them.
But for me, the arrival of my baby girl has certainly pushed me in a more sugarless direction, as I refuse to add the stuff to her diet unnecessarily. It has also bought to light the massive resistance there is to cut out sugar from our lives; for some people, no matter how much evidence and logic is presented, they just don’t think it’s “that bad.” In fact, people who are able to quit sugar are viewed as a bit over the top!
I won’t go into too much of a discussion of why sugar *is* that bad right now, because as I said, I still use it to an extent in my home baking. So until I can cut it out completely, I definitely can’t lecture anyone else!
What I can do, however, is show you guys some of the amazing ways to naturally sweeten your foods that I’ve been discovering. One of them is using DATE NECTAR.
Date nectar tastes exactly like…… dates (surprise surprise!)
It’s runnier than honey (the consistency is more like maple syrup) and the taste is wholly distinct from both honey and maple syrup. Sometimes I find that honey is a little too sweet for me, but date syrup tastes more overwhelmingly datey than it does sweet. But it still is sweet enough to be an excellent natural sweetening option!
I’m sharing two recipes with you all today that I’ve been giving it to my 15-month old this week. I’d love to know if you try any of them in the comments below, or if you’ve tried date nectar too!
Strawberry Milkshake with Date Nectar
*Makes 1 Toddler Portion
100ml full fat milk (or nut/hemp milk)
1 tsp date nectar
1/2 tsp vanilla bean paste (or extract)
Put all of the above in a blender and mix until fully combined.
Did you know, strawberries contain vitamins C and K, fibre, folic acid, manganese, potassium, phytonutrients and flavanoids! However, they are also a potential allergen, so many parents wait till their babies are 12 months old before introducing them, to err on the side of caution.
Blueberry and Pear Breakfast Smoothie
*Makes 1 Toddler Portion (simply double for an adult breakfast)
I small, ripe pear (peeled and chopped)
Handful of blueberries
2 tbsp instant oats (like Ready brek)
2 tbsp Greek-style yoghurt
2 tbsp full-fat milk
1/2 tsp chia seeds
1/2 tsp flaxseed
1 tbsp date nectar (or according to how sweet you want it)
Note: you can make this dairy free by omitting the yoghurt and milk, and replacing with 4 tbsp of almond milk instead. It will be slightly runnier and more suited to a sippy cup than a bowl though.
Put all of the above in a blender and mix until fully combined. I like to serve this in a bowl with a spoon for my little one. If you leave it in the fridge overnight, the chia seeds will help make make it an even thicker consistency, so its like a smoothie-mousse!
Of course, these are just two easy ways to incorporate date nectar into your child’s (or your own diet) but the options are endless; basically however, you can use honey, you can pretty much use date nectar too! In fact, Tamal from this year’s Great British Bake Off used date nectar in his caramel sticky toffee cake in the finale (yum).
Please note: Beloved Dates very kindly sent me some date nectar to review. However, I did not receive any financial compensation from them, and ALL opinions expressed are my own 🙂