While switching from processed food to nourishing food doesn’t have to be terribly expensive, there’s no way around this one: White and brown sugar are cheap. Sucanat, real maple syrup, muscovado, honey, and stevia are not cheap. I can get a 2-pound bag of brown sugar at the store for $1.78. Sucanat, on the other hand, is usually $5.00 for 1.5 pounds. Ouch! It’s worth it to buy the good stuff, but it isn’t fun to pay for.
While I don’t have any earth shattering advice about finding fantastic deals on these wholesome sweeteners, I do have some suggestions based on what works for me.
1. Stop eating so many sugary desserts.
I know. You’re rolling your eyes. I feel your pain on this one because I’m a recovering sugar addict. Pray about this and let God’s power be your will-power. You don’t have to cut out desserts altogether (unless you feel called to). You simply need to keep sugary foods a treat instead of pouring on the sugar like it’s a food group. You’ll be amazed at how much money you save on sucanat, honey, and maple syrup when you stop eating so much.
2. Cut the sugar in half.
When baking muffins, quick breads, and breakfast bars, I find that half the sugar called for in many recipes (even mine!) works just fine. The baked goods are still sweet and tasty. This saves quite a bit of money on wholesome sugars!
3. Drizzle your syrup.
Dousing your pancakes or waffles in real maple syrup? That’s an expensive breakfast! A little drizzle of rich, flavorful maple syrup goes a long way. It’s also fun to pour a tiny quarter-sized bit of syrup onto your plate, then dip the corner of each bite to sweeten it just a touch.
4. Pull out the cheap stuff when feeding a crowd.
If I’m feeding 40 teenagers, I leave my sucanat in the pantry and pull out the cheap brown sugar. There’s no need to use $6 worth of sucanat when I can use $1.50 worth of brown sugar for a big group of kids who really don’t care about whether or not the brownies were made with organic sugar or not. I certainly don’t mind sharing “the good stuff” with company occasionally, but it just really isn’t worth spending extra money when three pans of dessert are going to be devoured in two minutes. I never compromise on using real butter (instead of margarine), and I always use my freshly ground flour (no one can even tell) – but compromising on sugar? At least it’s actual sugar instead of artificial sugar or high fructose corn syrup. Which leads me to…
At the end of the day…
It’s all sugar. Sucanat is healthier because it’s processed very little and still contains nutrients. Real maple syrup is straight from the tree. Honey is made by bees and is as natural as it comes. But to our bodies? It’s all sugar. Read this post about Breaking Free of Sugar Addiction for more of my thoughts on this.
This means you may decide that switching to sucanat (and paying the higher price tag) is just not worth it.
I believe the bigger focus needs to be on cutting back on sugar (in all its forms). Focus on filling up on fruits and vegetables instead. You’ll be amazed at how sweet your fruits and vegetables taste when your palate isn’t coated with a cookie.