Healthy Eating Series Part 3: Sweet Ways to Spruce up Family Eating

This is Part 3 in my Healthy Eating Series – read all about it here.

My daughter loves this part in the movie where Mary Poppins sugar coats clean up time while holding a bird.

My daughter loves this part in the movie where Mary Poppins sugar coats clean up time while holding a bird.

It’s ironic that this post is about how to sweeten up family foods in a healthy way, because we recently introduced our daughter to Mary Poppins. I loved the movie when I was a girl, and have wanted to give our Ladybug some quality TV programming lately – something that shows real talents, like singing and dancing. She absolutely adores the film, and I am also delighted – Julie Andrews is utterly enjoyable.

Though, while I respect Mary Poppin’s core advice that a “spoon full of sugar helps the medicine go down”, I have some suggested twists on how to sweeten the deal for you and your family without sugar.

Turns out there’s more ways to sweeten your food than just using sugar. And definitely more than artificial sweeteners, which can range from natural plant extracts to laboratory concoctions.

In the last year, I’ve discovered sweeteners like molasses – which gives me visions of old-time cooking and baking, and actually has an interesting flavor as well as health benefits. And while I know that agave syrup is really popular now, I’ve opted for locally grown honey to find the sweet spot, as well as give us seasonal allergy benefits.

Check out these ways to go sweet without going overboard with the sugar.

Sweet Ways to Spruce Up Family Eating

Benefits How to Use Where to Find it in Vienna (and similarly elsewhere)
Cinammon Balances blood sugar Applesauce, cereals Anywhere
Ginger Upset stomach, general digestive health Fresh or powder in stir fry; can also get ginger tea or candies (great when pregnant!) Anywhere
Black strap molasses Iron, calcium, potassium Put in baking, use a little as a sweetner on cereals/applesauce Anywhere
Agave syrup Lower glycemic index than sugar A syrup you can use as a substitute for sugar – but it’s much sweeter Anywhere – look for organic but the research the brand if you can
Maple syrup Sugar alternative Use in cereals, baking Anywhere – get Grade A
Honey (local) Anti-allergy Spoonful a day prior to and during allergy season; use in cereals, as a baking substitute Farmers market, Hall & Cox Farms have really local honey, Whole Foods has honey from nearby Berryville, VA

Note: The above information is offered as food for thought (pun intended), and I’ve compiled this information based on my learning gathered from places like and the Omega Institute. These are suggestions for healthy eating based on my personal experience. Readers should consult their own health care professionals and consider their own health situations when adopting changes to their eating and dietary lifestyles. In other words: I’m not responsible for anything bad that may happen to you as a result of you trying my suggestions! Be smart, live well. 

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