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Sugar-free Valentine's Day? Yes, it's possible!

Omega Doughnut 6

Valentine's Day is just around the corner and grocery store aisles are stocked with candy and Valentine's Day treats! The main ingredient being SUGAR! Many already know the effects sugar can have on your health, but when those heart-shaped sugar cookies are staring you right in the face, those health concerns fly out the window! But not to worry! I am always looking for ways to cut down on my refined sugar intake and healthier substitutes for baking and cooking, so I wanted to share some simple, easy tricks to keep refined sugar out of your recipes and keep the flavor in!

Tip #1: Unsweetened apple sauce can replace sugar cup for cup! And it still tastes great and keeps your baked goods moist!

Tip #2: Soak dates in water overnight, drain water, then puree dates to create a paste/pudding. Dates are naturally sweet and are great to add into smoothies, cakes, and even use your date puree to replace caramel sauce. Dates also pair perfectly - and can replace the sugar called for - in the traditional yam casserole!

Tip #3: Bananas! Yes, bananas are another great resource and replacement for sugar. To get the maximum sweetness, use very ripe bananas!

Tip #4: Use full fat options. You may not realize, but most types of reduced fat products contain MORE sugar! Barlean's Organic Virgin Coconut Oil is the only oil I use for cooking, baking, and pretty much everything else oil is used for. But be sure to get the right kind for maximum benefits! Be sure it's virgin, cold pressed, non-GMO and non-hydrogenated. If you can find it organic as well, then choose that option, too! That's why I love the Barlean's brand of coconut oil because it meets all of the criteria I mentioned above!

Here's a delicious Valentine's Day recipe I created using the Barlean's Blackberry Omega Swirl Flax Oil with absolutely no sugar (but you can't even tell!)

1/2 c oat flour

1 scoop vegan chocolate protein powder
1/2 c unsweetened cacao powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 c water
2 Tbsp flax meal
Barleans Omega Swirl (flavor of choice)

1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F.
2. Mix oat flour, protein powder, cacao powder, baking soda & baking powder in a bowl.
3. Add water and stir well.
4. Mix in flax meal and let sit for 5 minutes for batter to thicken.
5. Distribute batter into doughnut molds and bake for about 12 minutes. *Cupcake molds can alternatively be used, but baking time will vary.
6. Remove from oven and let cool.
7. Drizzle Barlean's Omega Swirl over doughnuts right before serving.

What is your favorite holiday Valentine's treat?