(NaturalNews) Many people think living a healthy, natural life and eating good quality health food means eliminating sweet treats from their diets forever. Not true - there are so many healthy, sweet alternatives such as honey, stevia and dates which can replace refined sugar and processed junk food. Making delicious treats with these healthy ingredients will satisfy a sweet tooth but won't damage the body in the way that sugar does. Try these macaroons, strawberry jam and date squares made with stevia and date sugar.
Recipes for Coconut Macaroons and Strawberry Jam with Stevia
Stevia is a healthy alternative to sugar. It is a sweetener originally from Paraguay which comes from a sweet herb and has been used by South American natives for centuries to sweeten their beverages and medical preparations.
Stevia is not harmful to health and has zero calories. Be careful at all times to use very small quantities of Stevia to sweeten salad dressings, sauces and so on. It is incredibly sweet. A cookie recipe made with Stevia may only need a quarter of a teaspoon to sweeten the whole batch.
Stevia Coconut Macaroons
2 cups dried, shredded coconut 4 large egg whites 1/2 teaspoon vanilla Pinch salt 1 teaspoon dried, ground stevia leaf Optional: 1/2 cup ground almonds or 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon may be added
1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius (325F). 2. Whip the egg whites and vanilla until stiff and glossy. 3. Fold in the coconut, stevia and salt into the egg white mixture until well combined. 4. Make drop cookies on a baking sheet lined with rice paper. 5. Bake for 10 - 15 minutes or until slightly brown.
Stevia Strawberry Jam
1kg (2lb) fresh strawberries, cleaned and sliced 1 1/2 to 2 teaspoons stevia powder 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice 1/4 cup water
1. Allow the strawberries to simmer in the water in a heavy based saucepan, mashing when soft. 2. Dissolve Stevia in the lemon juice and stir into the strawberries. Simmer until thickened, about 30 - 40 minutes. 3. Cool and refrigerate in a covered glass jar.
Recipe for Date Squares with Date Sugar
Date sugar is made by simply dehydrating dates and grinding them until coarse and granulated-looking. It contains fiber and nutrients, just as fresh dates do. It works very well, substituted cup-for-cup, in any baked-goods recipe that calls for brown sugar. For those who don't like the taste of dates, the flavor does not come across too strongly in baked goods.
Healthy Date Squares
3/4 cup chopped dates (If dates are not a favorite, raisins can be substituted) 6 tablespoons melted butter 1 beaten egg 1/4 cup date sugar 1 cup oats 1/4 cup wholewheat flour 1/4 cup chopped walnuts 1/2 teaspoon mixed baking spice (cinnamon, cardamom and cloves) 1/4 tsp baking soda
1. Mix dates, melted butter, date sugar and then stir in egg. 2. Add wholewheat flour, nuts, spices and baking soda. 3. Mix well and press into a greased baking pan. 4. Bake for around 20 minutes at 350 degrees F, or 160 degrees C .
Fleur Hupston is a professional freelance writer. She is passionate about natural, healthy living and is currently studying to be a naturopath. She divides her time between writing for Natural News and various other sites, home schooling her children and studying part time.