As a health conscious lover of sweets I go out of my way to figure out how I can enjoy my favorite desserts without sabotaging my health. Using stevia instead of sugar makes some of my favorite indulgences more healthy.
What is Stevia?
I’ve used several different brands of stevia and each tastes a bit different. Quality matters in what flavor you experience for sure! The Trim Healthy Mama owners have personally flown over to their stevia producer in China and seen the operation themselves. Serene’s husband works personally with them and sees how the plants are grown and makes sure the leaves are processed without added chemicals that may be accepted as industry standard in commercial stevia production.
Because their product is so pure, it has the best flavor and is even sweeter than what you’d find the supermarket shelves.
I know, Trim Healthy Mama stevia looks super expensive. Because stevia is soooo sweet (200 to 300 times sweeter than sugar!), it will last you a long time!
General Rules for Using Stevia
Really, you can sweeten whatever you want with stevia. But to get the best flavors and avoid the worst aftertastes, there are a few rules that can make your introduction to stevia go smoother.
1. A little bit goes a loooong ways.
Depending on the quality and brand of your stevia, it can be 200 to 300 times sweeter than sugar! So start with a pinch and work your way up from there. Try this conversion calculator so you know exactly how much to start with.
2. It pairs best with fruits.
If you are just starting out with stevia in your desserts, choose fruity dishes. Stevia is hardly noticeable when mixed with berries, citrus and smoothies.
Read More: 11 Ways to Use Kefir
3. Add a pinch of salt to help reduce it’s aftertaste.
One of the main reasons people don’t enjoy stevia is it’s aftertaste. If you get a good quality stevia like Trim Healthy Mama’s brand this bitter aftertaste will be greatly reduced. But also, adding a pinch of salt to any recipe will help. A pinch to your smoothie, a pinch to your yogurt, even a pinch to your hot chocolate.
4. Stevia doesn’t blend well with chocolate.
Once you’ve gotten used to the flavor stevia brings to other desserts, then go ahead and try it in a chocolate recipe like hot chocolate or pudding.
Read More: The Best Homemade Hot Chocolate
Bonus tip: add a pinch of baking soda (if the recipe doesn’t already call for it) to your chocolate recipe. Baking soda reduces the bitterness of cocoa and lessens the amount of sugar needed to sweeten it!
Otherwise, dutch processed cocoa is naturally less bitter because the cocao beans are soaked before they are processed into powder.
5. Less is more.
You can start with the conversion calculator I mentioned above to see how much stevia you should use. But one thing I’ve discovered as I use it is I don’t need as much to experience it’s sweetness. Also, the longer a dish sits (like when I make tapioca with it) the sweeter it gets.
6. Vanilla is magic.
Using vanilla extract every time you use stevia will help it blend into the recipe. Even if it’s just a little bit. I put vanilla in my smoothies, fruit purees for flavoring yogurt, citrus drinks and puddings. Vanilla is especially helpful in any chocolate recipes you add stevia to.
The one exception is tea. When I use stevia in my hot or iced tea, vanilla is not necessary. Unless of course, you just want the splash of vanilla for fun!
12 Ways I Use Stevia Instead of Sugar
Tea (hot or cold)
Hot Cereal and Oatmeal
Jams and Jellies
A few things to remember…
Remember, stevia is so sweet that it can’t be substituted for sugar in regular baking recipes because it doesn’t add enough bulk.
Search for recipes that have already been formulated specifically for stevia. Check out Wardee’s recipe suggestions at Traditional Cooking School.
Because I’m not on a strict sugar-free diet, I choose to enjoy classic baked goods with regular sugar. I don’t experiment with substituting stevia in baking unless the recipe is already formulated for me.
Drinks, smoothies, jams, jellies and gummies are easy to make with stevia because they don’t depend on sugar to set up the end result.
Whether health issues are forcing you to cut out sugar or you just want to lessen your sugar intake, stevia is a great alternative for you. Sure, it’s gonna take some experimenting. Nope, it won’t taste exactly the same as sugar, but you’ll get used to it. Yes, you will be frustrated at times during the switch over.
But less blood sugar spikes, fewer calories and all around healthier lifestyle will more than worth it in the end. By choosing to use stevia instead of sugar you can still enjoy some of your favorite sweets without the guilt.