Ingredient Spotlight: What Is Stevia & How Do I Use It?
Written by Melissa Fine, GMB Nutritionist & Product Advisor
When it comes to natural sugar substitutes, there's a few things to take into consideration. Keep reading to find out why you'll want to give stevia a go!
Stevia comes from a plant (not a lab)
Unlike common artificial sweeteners (like aspartame, saccharine, and mannitol), stevia is a natural sugar free sweetener, being derived from the Stevia rebaudiana plant, native to Paraguay.
It won’t mess with your blood sugar
Stevia is sugar and calorie-free, so it has zero impact on blood sugar levels; this means it can make an ideal natural sweetener for individuals with diabetes. It’s also weight-loss friendly.
A little bit goes a long way
Being 200 times sweeter than sugar, you don’t need much stevia to sweeten whatever it is you’re having, making it good bang for your buck, too.
Unlike sugar in its many forms, stevia won’t stick to your teeth or promote cavities.
It’s super versatile
Available in granulated, liquid, and tablet-form, stevia can be used to sweeten everything from homemade muffins and quick breads, through to chocolate, tea and coffee.
Image: Mango Blueberry Muffins
5 ways to get creative with Stevia:
1. Sugar Free Lemonade
Squeeze the juice of half a lemon into a tall glass. Add the contents of ½-1 Natvia Stevia Stick and top with soda water and ice. Give everything a good stir and garnish with leftover lemon rind and fresh mint leaves.
2. Cinnamon ‘sugar’
Combine 1 tablespoon of cinnamon with the contents of 1 Natvia stevia stick. We sprinkle this magical stuff on everything from buttered toast (sourdough or gluten free) to unsweetened yoghurt.
3. Vanilla Iced Coffee
Skip the commercial syrupy iced coffees and treat yourself to this much cleaner alternative: In a blender, combine a shot of coffee (or 1 teaspoon of instant coffee) with a cup of your go-to milk, the contents of ½-1 Natvia stevia stick, a dash of vanilla extract, and a good handful of ice. Blend on high for around 30 seconds or until smooth.
4. Sugar Free ‘Icing’
Combine a cup of coconut yoghurt (we like Coyo) with the contents of 1-2 Natvia stevia sticks (depending on how sweet you’d like this). Add a dash of vanilla extract and a squeeze of lemon juice to cut the richness and your ‘icing’ is ready. Delicious dolloped on homemade muffins.
5. Single-Serve Pumpkin Pudding
Combine ½ a cup of warm, mashed roasted pumpkin (or sweet potato) with a dash of vanilla extract, the contents of ½ a Natvia stevia stick, and a pinch of both ground cinnamon and ginger. Top with a handful of your favourite dry-roasted nuts for crunch and you have yourself a wholefood, low sugar snack that tastes like dessert.
Main image: Unsplash