Magazine Recipes

Sweet! 25 Low Sugar Treat Recipes

By Chere Di Boscio

It’s well known that most of us in the developed world are full-on sugar addicts. Americans currently consume a whopping 150-170 pounds of sugar a year, more than three times the amount recommended by the USDA. And that’s just white sugar – it’s even more when you add hidden sugars corn syrup, glucose and fructose. The worst thing is: you may not even know you’re eating sugar. It’s hidden in all kinds of foods you’d never guess, including peanut butter, salad dressing, pickles, soup, and sometimes even in baby food!

Eating too sweet has some unsavoury consequences: apart from obesity and diabetes, sugar is now linked to Crohn’s disease, nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, depression, tooth decay, hormonal disruption, elevated triglyceride levels (which can lead to heart disease), and even cancer. It’s also been noted by psychiatrists that sugar acts like an addictive drug on the brain. High fructose corn syrup is the worst offender, and it’s hidden in a lot of common foods from breads and cereals to sushi.

Some may substitute maple syrup, agave nectar or honey thinking it’s better than sugar, but in terms of their glycemic index (GI), they’re really not much better. Even worse, many dieters turn to aspartame, saccharin, Splenda, Truvia or Purvia – but you should know that these have all been linked to cancer and tumors. Luckily, there are some good, healthy sugar substitutes, though, including these, below.

Brown Rice Syrup

Though it has glucose, rice syrup breaks down relatively slowly, providing more of a time-release energy flow than sugar does. Unlike sugar, this rice derivative contains magnesium, manganese, and zinc. With its distinct flavor, brown rice syrup works better in baked goods than in coffee and tea.


Because it’s about 300 times sweeter than sugar, stevia is potent in minute quantities, but has zero calories. As an added bonus, it may even help lower blood sugar levels. Although it’s great in hot drinks and cold or raw foods, you can’t cook with it, and some claim it has a strong anais taste. Note: Truvia and Purvia are NOT the same as Stevia; they are actually believed to be potentially dangerous chemicals, much like aspartame.


Derived from the birch tree, this is just about the perfect sweetener. It’s great for baking, in cold foods and in hot drinks, and unlike sugar, it may even protect teeth from decay.

Lacuma powder

This trendy new sweetener comes from a Peruvian fruit that has a creamy, citrus flavour. The powder itself is rich in Vitamins B1, B2 and C and calcium and it won’t lose its caramel flavour if cooked.

Unfortunately, not many people are aware of these facts and options – and for a long time, neither was I, until I started reading up on nutrition.

Besides kicking the obvious culprits like cakes, cookies and candies out of your diet, the best thing you can do to reduce your sugar intake is probably learning cook your own food from scratch – that way you know exactly what you’re eating and avoid the hidden sugars commonly lurking in processed and packaged foods. To help you on your way, I’ve chosen 20 of my favourite Low Sugar Treat Recipes.

Consider these to be ‘transitional’ snacks that will help you eventually kick the habit for good.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups

Love Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups? If you don’t, your kids surely do! These treats from Sugarfree Childhood are a perfect substitute, but of course, contain no E numbers, saturated fats or, of course, sugar. (Image: Copyright Sarah Myers)

Get the recipe from the Sugar Free Childhood blog here.


Lemon Almond Cake

This is a simple, classic cake that everyone will love – and surely no one will guess that it’s sugar free! It’s got a subtle lemon zest, and could easily be topped with blueberries or raspberries in summer. As an added bonus: it’s gluten free, too.

Get the recipe here.


Banana Chocolate Chip Loaf

Prefer muffins? No problem! Just divide the batter into muffin cups. This can also easily become gluten free by substituting the white whole wheat flour for your favorite gluten-free flour.

Get the recipe here


Rosemary & Walnut Granola

We always think of granola having to be sweet, but have you ever considered a savoury option instead? Rosemary is an incredibly flavoursome herb that will tantalise your tastebuds so much you’ll forget sugary granola even exists!

Get the recipe here


Faux Cinnamon Crunch Cereal

Remember that lovey crunchy cinnamon cereal you loved as a child? You may as well just have had cookies for breakfast! This is a perfect sugar free version of the crispy treat, and goes down oh-so-well with almond milk!

Get the recipe here.


Sweet Potato Smoothie

Smoothies are usually packed with yogurt (sometimes with added sugar), bananas and juice – all of which can add up to an incredible amount of sugar. For a healthier drink, why not try this unusual sweet potato smoothie which uses only ½ a banana, a sweet potato and desiccated coconut to sweeten. It’s thick, creamy, filling and delicious!

Get the recipe here


Maca Almond Fudge

Using almond butter, coconut oil, desiccated coconut and a superfood powder, this fudge will make you forget all about the typically (painfully sweet!) butter and sugar confection. Plus, it comes with a bit of protein, and loads of antioxidants! 

Get the recipe here


Cherry & Tahini Energy Balls

Tahini, a paste made from ground sesame, contains more protein than milk or even most nuts, while also being a good source of vitamins and minerals including magnesium, iron and calcium. Combined with cherry, these energy balls also pack a lot of protein! Cherries out of season? Try some freeze dried blueberries instead.

Get the recipe here.


Savoury Olive and Almond Flapjacks

Traditional flapjacks are usually made not only with sugar, but golden syrup and dried fruit, too. Why not turn sweet flapjacks on their head and try a super tasty savoury version instead? These are great to make on the weekend and keep handy around the house or can be a great thing to bake for when guests come around.

Get the recipe here


Sugar Free Raw Snickers Bars

This one comes from a great source of inspiration to me: the IQuitSugar blog. It’s an absolute delight, full of different textures and packs enough flavour to reduce the rice syrup ingredient a bit to suit your taste. The perfect occasional treat!

Get the recipe here.


Cardamon & Buckwheat No-bake Bars

Sometimes a delicate flavour can add a slight sweetness to a recipe that reduces the need for an excess of sicky syrup or dates. Cardamon is one of those spices that can work some serious sugar-free magic. There’s a smidgen of rice malt syrup used in this recipe to help the ingredients stick together, but the simple flavours and textures combine to make these satisfying and sweetish without being a sugar overload.

Get the recipe here


Carrot, Apple and Walnut Muffins

In case you didn’t know, in my ‘previous life’, one of my favourite sugary treats was carrot cake -especially when topped with a thick, rich cream cheese icing…mmmm…but I digress. Sometimes I just crave that cake-like texture, so I’d thought I’d try baking some savoury-style carrot muffins. These have all the flavour I need – I hardly miss the real thing at all!

Get the recipe here


Sweet Potato & Coconut Bake

Want what feels like a dessert for breakfast? This naturally sweet tasting coconut and sweet potato bake! It feels decadently indulgent but it’s completely sugar-free. Wondering how this tastes? It bears some similarity to traditionally sweet bread and butter pudding, but without the sugar, of course.

Get the recipe here


Completely Sugar-free Muesli

Whilst many mueslis can be free of added sugar, they may still be packed with dried fruit and drive your cravings up if you’re not careful. It can be a much better idea to make your own dried-fruit free base and then add a fresh fruit like a few berries to naturally sweeten. This is a basic sugar-free muesli base recipe that is a low sugar stock cupboard staple once you make it up.

Get the recipe here.


Black Bean Brownies

How delish do these look? There are so many incredible vegan brownie recipes these days, it’s a wonder anyone ever eats the buttery, sugary kind any more! These are so tasty, you’d never believe they were ultra-healthy, too.

Get the recipe here


Guiltless Banana Ice Cream

It wouldn’t be a treat list without ice cream! This recipe is super simple – you can jazz it up by adding your favourite low GI toppings, like berries, nuts or seeds.

Get the recipe here.


Creamed Coconut Sweet Potato Balls

Energy snack balls are usually packed with dates, dried apricot or raisins, all which are still pretty sweet, due to high concentrations of fruit sugar. Why not try a truly low sugar option with these sweet potato and creamed coconut balls? They’re filling and satisfying whilst rating low on the GI index, even though they’re a bit sweet.

Get the recipe here


Nutty Banana Chocolate Fudge

I suspect everyone will like this nutty fudge recipe – even those with a major sweet tooth. It tastes sweet and chocolate like but is packed with healthy ingredients and good fats making it supremely more virtuous than a number of other fudges and desserts.

Get the recipe here


Berry & Avocado Smoothie

Smoothies can be either pretty high in sugar depending on the amount of fruit and sugar substitutes you put in them.  Filling out your smoothie or a creamy component like avocado or natural yoghurt can help you keep them tasty and lower on the sugar side of things and this recipe does exactly that.

Get the recipe here


Sugar Free Gingerbread

This moist, gingery cake has a secret vegetable ingredient that you’d never, ever guess! Works well here to help keep the cake moist though. Click below to get the recipe and find out!

Get the recipe here.


Buckwheat, Apple and Chia Soak

This is a truly refreshing breakfast or dessert with a really unusual crunchy texture. Whilst I still try to have savoury breakfasts most of the week, I really enjoy my fruity ‘treat’ breakfasts like this, especially in the summer.

Get the recipe here


Harvest Breakfast Cookies

Finally something paleo enthusiasts and vegans can agree on: these incredible cookies, which are nice and sweet thanks to pumpkin puree, dates, and banana.

Get the recipe here.


Dark Chocolate Avocado Truffles

Some days, only chocolate will do. It’s good to have some options and even though these truffles have a little sugar, their GI is extremely low in comparison to say, a Lindt truffle ball. They also pack in the nutrition and healthy fat from avocado and are super-fun to make.

Get the recipe here


Sticky Toffee Pudding Cake

Craving caramel? This British classic comes to you from the Sugar Free Childhood blog. Based on spelt flour, it’s especially delicious with another British classic: a cup of (soya-milky) tea! (Image: Copyright Sarah Myers)

Get the recipe here.


Chia Seed Pudding

Want a breakfast idea that will kick start a happy, healthy day? This chai breakfast pudding will do just the trick. Full of antioxidants, vitamins, essential fatty acids and an exotic blend of chai spices, this pudding will fill you up right until lunch time.

Get the recipe here.


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