Trimming added sugars is on everyone’s mind these days. In fact, a recent survey found that 67% of Americans are limiting sugar in their diets. That’s a good thing, because Americans are eating way too much of the sweet stuff, which can contribute to health problems, like obesity, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease. In addition, all of those calories coming from added sugars are crowding out more healthful food choices in our diets, such as nutritious, whole plant foods that contribute essential nutrients. Adults are eating an average of 17 teaspoons of added sugars per day, while the Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends that we should be eating no more than 12 teaspoons per day for the average person. While it’s completely fine to enjoy natural sugars found in fruits as a whole food sweetener (they do not count towards this sugar limit), all of those added sugars—including sucrose, table sugar, high fructose corn syrup—are the issue. So, what can you do? Turn to the natural plant-based sweetner of whole fruits, such as dried figs, to flavor your diet with good taste and health.
Natural Whole Food Sweetener: Dried Figs + Nutrition
Orchard Choice and Sun-Maid California Dried Figs are naturally sweet—without the addition of added sugars—thus, taking the place of refined sugars in your diet. As an added bonus, these fruits are packed with nutrition. So, you not only get the natural sweetening power of dried figs, you also gain nutritional benefits. By skipping out on added sugars and turning to dried figs, you can add another all-important serving of fruit to your day, a goal most of us aren’t achieving. And that’s not all. One 40-gram serving (about 4 dried figs, depending on size) delivers a boost of dietary fiber, protein, vitamin K, essential minerals, including calcium, iron, copper, magnesium, manganese and potassium, and health-promoting phytochemicals to your day. These nutrients are linked with gut and bone health, as well as reduced risks of obesity, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and some types of cancer.
Sweet Versatility with Figs
California Dried Figs can sweeten your day in numerous ways. From swapping out desserts for whole fruits to employing dried figs as the sweetener in recipes, these healthy whole plant foods offer so much versatility in the kitchen. Check out these top tips for skimming the sugar by way of turning to California Dried Figs.
6 Ways to Skim the Sugar in Your Diet with Plant-Based Sweetner, Dried Figs
- Swap out Dessert. The simplest way to trim sugar is to enjoy unsweetened whole fruit for dessert, such as dried figs. You’ll not only skim calories (fruit is a fraction of the calories compared to cookies, brownies, and ice cream!) and saturated fat (zero in fruit), you can enjoy a no-added sugar free treat in your day. Plan on a serving with your meals, or at snack time.
- Top Your Cereal. Who needs a spoonful of sugar when you can add a few slices of dried figs to your morning cereal? Whether it’s oats, grain porridge, muesli, or breakfast flakes, skip the sugar bowl and bring on the dried figs. If you make your own granola, skip the added sugar and include chopped dried figs in the recipe.
- Replace Sugars in Fruit Forward Desserts. When you’re baking up your next fruit-based pie, cobbler, or crisp, just skip the added sugar called for in the filling recipe. Instead, finely dice up dried figs and cook them into the filling to add a sweet richness without the need of added sugar.
- Turn to Dried Figs in Baked Goods. You can significantly reduce the added sugar required in baked goods, such as cookies, brownies, bars, cakes, muffins, and breads with the help of dried figs. Just soak dried figs in water to soften them, then puree in your food processor or blender. Then you can add this pureed fig mixture to the batter of your favorite recipes to cut the sugar in the recipe.
- Whiz up a Sugar-Free Smoothie. Who needs added sugars in your smoothie when you can just toss in a couple of dried figs? This addition will provide just the right subtle sweet touch to your next green smoothie and beyond.
- Use Dried Figs in Savory Dishes, Too. Often even savory recipes call for sugar. Think vinaigrettes, marinades, dressings, sauces, and side-dishes. These forms of hidden sugars can really add up in your diet! So, what can you do? Add pureed, softened figs to replace added sugars in these recipes.