The best thing I've done for myself and my health, hands down, is retrain my 'sweet teeth'.
While I don't agree that white sugar and dates are equal in terms of health, I do agree that both can and will have a negative impact if you eat too much.
I am a prime example of this. Prior to my son being born last summer, I was indulging in my favorite 'healthy' cookies, 'energy' balls, and sweet smoothies galore, all foods that would typically be classified as 'healthy'.
Dates and honey, what's wrong with that? So what if I eat an 'energy' ball and feel tired...it can't be the copious amount of dates?...
In all my recipe reading over the years, one of the recurring comments on other food sites has come from those outside the United States, and it says something like, 'anytime I make an American dessert, I always halve the sugar'.
Isn't that interesting? It's also interesting to me that we are one of the fattest nations in the world!
Let's look at something like granola, a breakfast-slash-snack meant to give us energy. Have a gander at some of the typical granola recipes that are most popular, and you'll find an obscene amount of added sweetener. This energy giver thus becomes a bona fide dessert and, ultimately, an energy 'sucker'.
I wanted to create this recipe with absolutely zero added sweeteners, making it what granola was originally intended to be: a source of energy between meals or to get you started in the morning.
If my six and four-year old girls can eat this with glee and ask for more, I figure it can be done by grown adults.
My favorite way to enjoy this is with a big glug of my Homemade Coconut Milk, which adds a nice, natural sweetness, a taste we could all stand to come back to a bit. 🙂
Sugar-Free Cinnamon Coconut Granola
- ½ c. oats
- ¼ c. coconut
- ½ c. pumpkin seeds
- ½ t. cinnamon
- ¼ t. allspice or more cinnamon or pie spice
- couple dashes of sea salt
- 2 T. coconut oil melted
- Preheat the oven to 300 degrees.
- Mix the dry ingredients (oats, coconut, seeds, spices, salt).
- Blitz them in a processor a minute or two to break it up a bit more (optional).
- Pour the oil over the mix and stir until all is coated.
- Spread onto a parchment paper-lined baking sheet.
- Bake 20-25 minutes, stirring 1-2 times.
- Cool and enjoy!
If you'd like to try this out, but worry about the initial sugarless 'shock', throw in a few pieces of dried fruit (raisins, goji berries, cut-up prunes, etc.).
If you'd like to make this grain-free, try subbing the oats for either an equal amount of coconut or pumpkin seeds (or your favorite nut/seed).
Add in some unsweetened chopped chocolate for a (sugar-free) chocolat-y treat!
What food do you think would be the most difficult to make sugar-free?
I loved this recipe! I did make some changes though:
I tripled this the second time I made it, as the first didn't make enough for my family. I replaced half of the coconut oil with honey for a hint of sweet. And I substituted some of the pumpkin seeds and oats with flax and chia seeds for the additional nutritional benefits.
I'm curious how this can serve SIX, when it's only 1/2 C. oats and 1/4 C. coconut and 1/2 C. pumpkin seeds. It wouldn't feed six at my house! Did I misread something?
With all the fat, it's quite nutrient-dense, and I usually serve it with milk or yogurt and fruit. You can eat however much you want though, Deborah, it's just a guideline.
"anytime I make an American dessert, I always halve the sugar". Yup. I live in the States now, but used to live in Canada and learned that I had to do this as well, otherwise I found whatever I was making far too sweet.
This sounds great! I feel like I am getting in the habit of trying "healthier" sweet things, definitely heavy on the dates and maybe even maple syrup. I'm looking forward to trying this, I bet it will be delicious. I think the shredded coconut & cinnamon would lend a nice natural sweetness.
Thanks so much for sharing this at Healthy Vegan Fridays. I'm pinning & sharing!
I have been searching high and low for a granola bar recipe with no added sugar, but inevitably every single one has honey, maple syrup, dates, etc. Do you think this would hold up if I tried to bake it as a bar?
Unfortunately, I don't think so, but you can always try!
Ok, thanks for your input! I might try adding a little peanut or almond butter and see if that will work.
thanks for sharing your recipe. A non-sweet granola seems so novel as every other recipe I've read is sweetened. I made it last night, using sunflower seeds for the oats to make it grain free. It's good. I used coconut flakes and next time, I'll try coconut chips (like chocolate curls but from coconut) to add more substance to the coconut flavor.
" ‘anytime I make an American dessert, I always halve the sugar’."
It's so true! I live in the States now, but am from Canada and I even find myself having to halve the amount of sugar in recipes I come across.
I will definitely admit to sweetening my breakfast with fruit though 😉
This sounds super delicious! I love that you use cinnamon & allspice to help stave off the sweet tooth.
Looks like we're twins! I posted a granola recipe this week also. 😉 I'm still relying natural sweeteners like honey/maple syrup to satisfy the old sweet tooth, but I do agree the waaaaay too many sugars are being consumed. It's an issue in Canada also. I think retraining tastebuds and being open to new things are paramount.
This looks amazing! Thanks so much for sharing!
Interesting to use no sugar at all! I need to cut back on my sugar intake so maybe I should try this 🙂
Lauren, this looks delicious!! I must add to my rotation. Thanks for linking up!