If you’re on a sugar-restricted diet, summer might be a difficult season. From frozen treats to bbq’d meats, summer is filled with sugary delights. A great option for sugar-free foods is Stevia, a natural sweetener extracted from the stevia plant. Here are 7 ways you can use Stevia in your summer menu.
Chocolate Frozen Yogurt – A sweet frozen treat doesn’t have to be bad for you! This chocolate frozen yogurt is easy to make and healthy, and can be eaten frozen or as a pudding. Mix 6 oz of plain Greek yogurt with 2 tablespoons of unsweetened baking cocoa, and add Stevia to taste. Freeze for about thirty minutes, then stir.
Cheesecake Pops – A cool twist on an old favorite, these strawberry cheesecake pops are a great way to cool down on a summer night. Mix 4 oz cream cheese, ¼ cup almond milk, and 4 tablespoons of Stevia until smooth. Stir in sliced strawberries and pour into Popsicle molds. Freeze for two to four hours and serve.
Sticky chicken on the Grill – Sweet and savory combine for this summer grilling dish. Combine 1 ½ tablespoons Stevia, 3 tablespoons soy sauce, 3 tablespoons tomato sauce, 2 tablespoons hoisin sauce, 2 tablespoons fresh ginger, 1 tablespoon vegetable oil, 1 teaspoon 5 spice powder and 1 clove of garlic. Marinate four chicken breasts in this mixture for at least two hours, then grill as normal.
Tangy Salad Dressing – Sweet, tangy and fresh, this is a great dressing for summertime meals. Mix 1/3 cup of extra virgin olive oil, juice from 1 large lemon, ½ teaspoon Stevia, one clove of garlic and salt and pepper to taste. Whisk together well, drizzle over mixed greens and toss the salad well before serving. This mixture can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
Iced Mocha – For your summer afternoon shot of energy, try an Iced Mocha. Mix 2 tablespoons of Stevia and 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder, then whisk ½ cup of milk into the chocolate mixture. Add ½ cup brewed coffee (if possible, chill the coffee before mixing), then pour the mixture into a tall glass. Garnish with a long cinnamon stick.
Asian Chicken Salad – This quick, cool salad has Asian inspiration, and can be eaten as a meal or a side. For the dressing, mix 1 tablespoon low sodium soy sauce, 1 tablespoon rice vinegar, 1 teaspoon sesame oil, 2 packets of Stevia, ½ tablespoon of mustard and ½ teaspoon bottled ground ginger. Whisk together the ingredients. Toss 3 cups of coleslaw mix, 3 oz of chopped chicken breast, a small mandarin orange and 1 tablespoon of sliced almonds. Drizzle the dressing over your salad and toss until fully coated.
Coffee Baked Beans – Beans are the perfect match for barbeque food, but this twist will leave your guests’ mouths watering. Bring together ½ cup tomato sauce, 3 tablespoons Stevia, 2 tablespoons molasses, 1 tablespoon chili powder, 2 teaspoons dry mustard and ½ teaspoon ground ginger to a boil, and stir until well mixed. Add the mixture to a crock pot filled with 1 pound of cooked navy beans; Add ½ cup brewed coffee, 1 ½ cups boiling water and 1 medium onion. Cook for 7 to 8 hours, adding water as the mixture cooks to keep them soft.
Amanda is a social media manager for a health care organization by day and a blogger and freelance writer by night. She’s also a mom to an amazing 2 year-old boy and wife to a great guy who indulges all her celebrity gossip. Amanda loves coffee, fashion, Twitter, makeup, nail polish, and cats (not always in that order.) Her work has been published on family.com and blogher.com. For more celebrity gossip, fashion, beauty and DIY, visit Amanda’s blog, It’s Blogworthy (http://itsblogworthy.com) or follow her on Twitter and Google+.