Trying to cut back on sugar while still satisfying your sweet tooth? Try these three natural alternatives to pure cane sugar.

Nutiva via Instagram
| Credit: Nutiva via Instagram

1. Coconut Sugar

A great substitute for cane sugar (use an equal amount), coconut sugar has a lower glycemic index (which measures how slowly or quickly a food causes your blood glucose levels to rise). Plus, it contains added nutrients, like zinc and iron.

2. Dates

Dates (which are high in vitamins and minerals) add natural sweetness to foods, so they're a go-to in health bars. Try blending a couple into smoothies or baked goods. If you've got a food processor, you can make date sugar: Just roast dates in the oven. Let them cool, then pulverize in a food processor until powdered. Date sugar tastes like butterscotch but won't fully dissolve, so use it in recipes like glazed Brussels sprouts or in dark-colored cakes.

3. Blackstrap Molasses

Thick and dark in color, blackstrap molasses is the most mineral-dense molasses (with iron and calcium). It's made by boiling sugar cane down three times. Use it to add a robust flavor to pork marinades, or stir a spoonful into baked beans.