Sugar gives your baked goods the golden brown crust and keeps your cake moist. The most natural way to replace the sugar is with fruit and vegetables.
Vegetables- Carrots, parsnip, beetroot, sweet potato, squash and courgettes all provide a natural sweet taste.
Fruit- Banana, mango, apple and pineapple are very sweet fruits that are great to use. Dried fruits like prunes, dates and raisins are a concentrated sweetness.
Natural sweetners like honey, maple syrup and agave syrup are natural but they still contain the sugar we should be avoiding so are therefore best used on occasion and not sugar free.
Take a look at the bbc good food for low sugar/no sugar recipes.
Other swaps you can make in your baking:
Coconut flour: Sugar free, high in protein and fibre. Absorbs water and liquid much like gluten flour. 1/3 is needed than normal flour. Has less fat than shredded coconut. Use with pancakes, muffins and cakes.
Almond flour: Higher in fat than coconut
Wholemeal spelt flour or other wholemeal flours instead of white refined flour.
Protein powder: 1:1 ratio to flour
Pumpkin puree: low in sugar. Replacement for oil and butter in recipe or at least half. If the recipe has banana use pumpkin puree for a lower sugar substitute. Can even replace eggs.
Applesauce: use in place of oil and sweetner and half the eggs.
Stevia: natural sweetener.
Cocoa powder: helps to rise. Less sweetner needed. Replace half the flour needed. Try using cocoa nibs or raw cocoa powder instead of chocolate.
Chia seeds: Soak up liquids. Add fibre and texture. Chia flour can replace half flour needed. Use as a binder like eggs.
Flax meal: Same amounts as normal flour. Fat is higher. Great for bread crumbs
Coconut does contain sugar but is mainly made up of glucose not fructose. It does not produce an insulin spike and is used for energy not stored as fat because of its absorption. 3x more hydrating than water.
Spelt and barley alternative to risotto rice.
Dates pureed make a lovely caramel texture and are a good alternative to honey and other syrups.
Use homemade fruit compote instead of jam. Add cinnamon or vanilla instead of sugar to them.
Swap butter icing for cream cheese topping flavoured with lemon zest or use fresh cream and fruit.
If there are any other ingredients you would like an alternative for leave a comment below and I will do my best to think of one.