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Healthy Recipes

7 low-sugar recipes that still taste like treats

With experts warning that it’s sugar not fat that makes us fat, more of us are giving up the white stuff. These seven recipes use one of our favourite no-calorie sweeteners, stevia, so you get all the sweetness without the sugar

From a morning smoothie to a 4pm pick-me-up, it’s hard to escape the lure of the sweet stuff in the foods we reach for every day. To help you off the sugar bandwagon we’ve created a recipe to replace the meals and treats where you might routinely crave a sweet treat. We’ve tested them for taste so you don’t end up feeling deprived just because you’ve gone sugar-free.

A word about sugar replacements

There are only three sugar alternatives we would recommend – stevia, xylitol and erythritol. None of these raise blood sugars and are fructose free, meaning they have very little impact on health and they’re calorie-free.  Here’s a run-down on each.


Stevia is a sweetener that comes made from a plant and would be my first choice in sugar alternatives – I use it to sweeten smoothies and sorbets as I find a little goes a long way.   For baking and celebratory times, stevia is a safe alternative that doesn’t spike blood sugar. It’s derived from the leaves of a South American plant of the same name and has been used to centuries as a sweetener in South America and for 40 years in Japan.  It’s 200-300 times sweeter than table sugar which is why you invariably only ever need a tiny bit! What’s also helpful to know is that stevia is not absorbed through the digestive tract and has no calories, making it a great choice if you’re trying to lose weight.


You can use it as a direct replacement for sugar and often blended with stevia to make a calorie free sweetener. 

Try: Truvia, a blend of stevia leaf extract and erythritol, which we’ve tested in baking, cooking (for salsas and dips) and also in raw recipes. This is the sweetener we have used in all the recipes below.


It looks just like sugar and can be used as a direct replacement to sugar so no need to change any recipes and it has no aftertaste.  The downside?  It is can have a laxative effect if you use too much.  Some evidence shows that chewing gum sweetened with xylitol may protect against cavities.

Here are some of our favourite low-sugar recipes to get you started:


Serving size: 1

Calories: 220

The combination of soaked chia seeds and cinnamon in this smoothie make it a brilliant breakfast choice as both ingredients have been shown to help keep blood sugar levels stable.


1 tbsp chia seeds, soaked in 30ml water for 15 minutes

100ml almond or skimmed milk or water

Half a banana

I tsp almond or peanut butter

1 cup frozen raspberries or blueberries (or fresh is fine)

A few ice cubs

A handful of spinach

1 tbsp whole oats

½ tsp ground cinnamon

1 tsp Truvia


Add all the ingredients into a blender, blend and consume!


Serving size: 3

Calories: 160 per serve

Coconut is a great source of Medium-Chain Triglycerides or MCTs, an essential fatty acid that has been shown to help aid weight loss.


100g Oats

400ml Coconut milk (carton) (dairy or almond milk can also be used)

1tsp Truvía

Pinch ground Cinnamon

2 Tbsp desiccated coconut


Mix Together in jar/bowl, leave overnight.

Serve warm or cold with chopped fruit if desired.


Serving size: 16 slices

Calories: 265 per 86g slice

Raspberry-Oatmeal-Bars-sugar-free-recipes-by-healthista.comWe love this recipe because the bars taste like a real treat and yet they have no added sugar. Again, the use of cinnamon is a great choice for keeping your blood sugar stable throughout the day and the lemon juice gives them a slightly citrusy edge that I love.



200g rolled oats

230g plain or gluten-free flour

1 tsp ground cinnamon

170g unsalted butter or coconut oil

Pinch salt

1 tsp vanilla extract

30g Truvia 


440g raspberries, fresh or frozen

30g Truvia 

2 tsp lemon juice

45g cornflour


Preheat the oven to 160 degrees/Gas 2 and grease and line a 15” x 9” baking tin

Place the oats, flour, cinnamon, butter, salt, vanilla and Truvia into a bowl. Using a mixer, mix on low speed for about a minute.

Scrape the sides of the bowl and mix on medium speed for around two minutes.

Place 2/3 of the oat mixture into the bottom of the tin to form the crust.

For the filling, blend raspberries, Truvia, lemon juice and cornflour until evenly mixed. Spread over the oat mixture .

Top with the remaining oatmeal mixture.

Place I the oven for 35-40 minutes until golden brown.

Cut into squares whilst still warm then leave to cool completely



Serving size: 4

Calories per serve: 57

Salad dressings can be a prime target for hidden sugars because a little sweetness tends to accentuate the taste of healthy salad ingredients such as bitter greens. This recipe can be stored in the fridge for up to five days and as well as salad leaves, can also be used to dress cous cous, rice, lentils or quinoa.


4Tbsp pomegranate Juice

4Tbsp extra virgin olive oil

2Tbsp white wine vinegar

Seeds of ½ pomegranate

½ tsp Truvía


Mix together the juice, oil, Truvia and white wine vinegar until combined.

Add the seeds and mix well.


Serving Size: 15 slices

Calories per serve: 174

When you fancy a lift mid-afternoon it’s tempting to head for chocolate or cake. But an alternative such as these Berry Bars with slow release whole oats, nuts and fruit will keep you fuller for longer, providing a more sustained level of energy – they won’t leave you with the sharp blood sugar crash that a junk food treat might.


1 large apple

2 tsp Truvía

150g light butter, plus extra for greasing (or coconut oil)

150g ready-to-eat, dried soft, stoned dates

3 tbsp orange or apple juice

30g mixed nuts, roughly chopped

150g dried fruits, such as cherries, blueberries or cranberries

150g porridge oats

1-2 tsp sesame seeds


Preheat the oven to 190°C/fan170°C/gas 5.

Grease and line a shallow 17.5cm-square tin with baking paper.

Peel, core and slice the apple and toss with the Truvía.

Place in a medium pan with 2 tsp water.

Cover the pan and put it on the hob over a medium heat.

Simmer for 4 minutes, stir and cook for a further 1-2 minutes or until the apple is beginning to become fluffy (you could also do this in the microwave).

Leave to cool for 5 minutes.

Put the dates and juice in a food processor and whizz until smooth.

Add the stewed apple and whiz for a further 5 seconds.


 Thai-Quinoa-Salad-sugar-free-recipes-by-healthista.comServing size: 4 as a side salad

Calories: 206

Thai food is delicious – and healthy – but can traditionally use more sugar that you might need! This zesty dish doesn’t feel like a salad, it’s filling and nutritious and would make a great light supper on summer nights (and the leftovers are perfect for lunch the next day).


For the salad:

150g Quinoa (cooked)

1⁄2 cucumber (diced)

5 spring onions (washed and diced)

1 red bell pepper (washed and diced)

1 carrot cut finely lengthways

1⁄4 red cabbage, finely shredded

125g Ready to eat Edamame beans

40g roasted cashew nuts (chopped)

1 fresh red chilli very finely sliced (optional)

1 small handful finely chopped coriander

Lime wedges to serve

For the dressing

4 tsp fish sauce

3 limes, juice only

1 1⁄2 Tbsp vegetable oil

1 Tbsp freshly grated ginger

1 tsp sesame oil

1 pinch of dried chilli flakes

1 1⁄2 tsp of Truvía calorie-free sweetener


Cook the quinoa according to pack instructions, refresh under cold water and leave to cool slightly.

Add the cooked quinoa and prepared salad vegetables to a bowl.

Whisk together all of the dressing ingredients, pour over the salad and gently toss everything together until well coated.

Transfer to serving plates, scatter over the nuts and coriander and serve with wedges of lime.



Serving size: 4

Calories per serve: 70

I love a creamy dessert and this Panna Cotta delivers all the taste with 66 per cent less sugar and 25 per cent fewer calories than a full sugar version.


Italian Buttermilk Custard

180ml semi-skimmed milk

180ml low-fat buttermilk

1⁄4 tsp powdered gelatin

15g Truvía Calorie-Free Sweetener

Fresh Berry Medley

65g raspberries

75g blueberries

75g strawberries

1⁄4 of a vanilla bean

9g Truvía Calorie-Free Sweetener


Panna Cotta

Pour the milk into a small pot. Sprinkle the gelatin on top, whisk, and allow the mixture to sit for 3 minutes, so that the gelatin can soften.

Whisk in the Truvía Calorie-Free Sweetener.

Place the pot on the stove over medium heat.

Whisk frequently until the milk is slightly hot and the gelatin has melted.

Do not bring the mixture to a boil.

Remove the pot from the heat.

Whisk in the buttermilk.

Pour the custard mixture into 4 small ramekins; about 3-4 ounces in size each.

Place in the refrigerator and allow 3 hours to set, or leave in overnight.

Fresh Berry Medley

If fresh raspberries and blueberries are not available, or in season, you can substitute more strawberries.

Prepare the berries right before serving. Gently rinse berries, and quarter the strawberries.

Place the berries into a bowl.

Split the vanilla bean open. Using the back of a knife scrape the black seeds out of the vanilla pod.

Place the vanilla seeds into a small bowl with the Truvía Calorie Free Sweetener. Rub between your fingers until the Truvía Calorie-Free Sweetener and vanilla are well blended.

Pour the Truvía Calorie-Free Sweetener mixture on top of the berries and mix for 1 minute, by hand, or with a spoon, until the berries are well coated and begin to release their juices.

Spoon equal portions of the berries, and their juice, on top of the buttermilk custards, and serve.

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11 easy ways to eat less sugar

WE LOVE The sweetener that comes from a plant and is so sweet you only need a TINY amount

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