Holi 2024: 5 Sugar Alternatives For Healthy Yet Festive Treats

Hindus celebrate Holi, a festival that marks the triumph of good over evil, as well as the entrance of spring. It is well-known for its lively celebrations, during which participants play with various colourful powders, known as gulaal, and liquids. Holi is not complete without colours and sweets, which stand for happiness, joy, and community. During the celebrations, sweets are shared among friends and family as a sign of love and harmony.

For people who are trying to follow a better diet or who have dietary limitations, it can be important to have sugar-free sweets during Holi. During the joyous festivities, it fosters inclusivity, mindful eating, and general well-being. So, here are some items one can use in place of sugar to prepare sugar-free sweets:

Video Credit: YouTube/ The Habits Doctor

1. Jaggery: 

Jaggery is a food sweetener manufactured from the raw sap of the sugarcane plant or palm trees, concentrating the initial juice to form the crude sugar. This is the option that is minimally processed and still contains nutrients. Many sweet and Holi desserts may switch from traditional sugar to jaggery instead of sugar to make sugar-free sweets. Likewise, the use of jaggery in desserts gives it an old-fashioned taste that is deep and caramel-ish and also supplements the nutritional contents by adding iron and magnesium. Additionally, the glycemic index of jaggery makes it ideal for those who are avoiding too much sugar but still searching for a great taste.

2. Dates: 

This lowers the need to use any refined sugar, hence making them a healthier alternative as they are sweet and chewy. They are a better option for refined sugar substitution in the presence of natural sugars like fructose, sucrose, glucose, and many more, as per a study published in the International Journal of Clinical Experimental Medicine. Of course, dates are not only a manufacturer of fibres but also vitamins and minerals; these foods also possess other health benefits. While swapping sugar in sugar-free sweets for the festival of Holi with dates, one gets not only to make these sweets have a higher nutritional value but also taste sweet and tasty, so it is a healthy option for people who keep away from refined sugar.

3. Honey: 

Bees use the nectar of flowers to generate honey, a naturally occurring sweetener. Because of its special qualities, it is frequently used as a healthier substitute for sugar in sugar-free sweets and desserts for Holi. Since honey is sweeter than sugar, recipes can be made with less sugar to get the right amount of sweetness. Furthermore, honey has nutrients and antioxidants that are food for health, as per the study published in the Journal of Pharmacognosy Research, which makes it a better option for people who want to enjoy sweet delicacies during festivals like Holi and other celebrations as well.

4. Molasses: 

Raw sugarcane is a source of a viscous black substance called molasses, which is extracted during the sugar refining process. It's not only an alternative of refined sugar but also has deep health benefits, such as vitamins in the combination of minerals like iron, calcium, potassium and magnesium. As an alternative component for making sweet-free treats for Holi, molasses can be used  instead of sugar, to make dessert delicious and deep in flavour, and at the same time, it's rich with nutrients and vitamins. Molasses additionally has a lower glycemic index than sugar, therefore, both diabetic and non-diabetic people can enjoy sugar-free treats without affecting their blood glucose levels.

5. Maple Syrup: 

A natural ingredient produced from the maple tree´s sap is what is called maple syrup. Using its intense flavour profile and a lower glycemic index, it is a replacement for refined sugar for many people with health issues on the list. The taste might differ when we use maple syrup instead of refined sugar.  But it  is the healthier option, for tasty sweets, for people who crave sweets but are on a restricted diet or seeking to cut out sugar and looking for a different kind of flavour besides those of artificial sugars, this is the perfect option.