Refined white sugar has been linked to a number of health issues, including tooth decay and obesity. Getting away from its cloyingly sweet taste, however, is often easier said than done. Fortunately, there are a number of equally delightful sweeteners out there that have a far lesser impact on overall health and wellbeing. If your senior loved one has a persistent sweet tooth, you can try some of the following healthier alternatives recommended by the experienced Milwaukee caregivers at Home Care Assistance.
Coconut sugar comes from the sap of the coconut tree. This sap is slowly heated so that the water evaporates, leaving a dark brown sweetener that tastes a lot like brown sugar. It is low on the glycemic index and far better for the body than traditional white sugar. It can be added to oatmeal, coffee, or tea.
Much like the name implies, date sugar is derived directly from dates. Dates are dehydrated and then ground into a dark, powdery sugar that is downright decadent. Although this isn’t as low on the glycemic index as coconut sugar, it contains all of the same nutrients that the dates had when in their original form. Thus, seniors can indulge in a sweet treat without feeling too guilty. This sugar alternative doesn’t dissolve easily, but it is great for baking.
Honey is a very affordable and accessible sugar substitute. You won’t have to go far to find a wide variety of honeys, each with its own nutritional benefits and distinct taste. This can be added to toast in place of store-bought jellies and jams, which often contain generous amounts of high-fructose corn syrup. It can also be used to sweeten up fruit salads or in place of pancake syrup.
Maple Syrup and Maple Sugar
Although real maple syrup has a very distinct taste, it is still a good replacement for white sugar in baking. Real maple sugar, which is simply dehydrated maple syrup, is a much more palatable addition to foods like oatmeal. In spite of its incredibly sweet taste, maple sugar is still lower on the glycemic index than white sugar.
Sweet Treats to Satisfy a Sweet Tooth
Finding natural sugar substitutes that aging adults can stir into their hot beverages and warm cereals is one thing, but it is also important to have a number of healthy snacks on hand that seniors can munch on when a sugar craving hits. Fresh, seasonal fruit is the best thing that seniors can reach for when craving a bit of candy. Dried fruit is also better than a crunchy piece of peanut brittle or a sugary candy bar in spite of the high concentration of natural sugars that dried fruits contain. These are treats that are loaded in fiber, which promotes digestive regularity, and they are rich in nutrients that can boost energy without causing an unpleasant crash. When a fresh piece of fruit won’t do, dipping apple wedges or sliced bananas in hazelnut butter or serving sliced bananas with fresh raspberries and honey will likely suffice.
One of the best ways to prevent disease and keep your loved one happy and healthy for years to come is by helping him or her maintain a nutritious diet. At Home Care Assistance in Milwaukee, all of our caregivers are trained to prepare healthy meals that meet the client’s dietary needs. We also promote a healthy lifestyle through our Balanced Care Method, which focuses on exercise, socialization, and purpose, in addition to diet. To learn more, reach out to a friendly Care Manager at (414) 964-8000 and request a complimentary in-home consultation.