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I’m Jen Hansard, mom of two, ultra runner and lover of green smoothies, coffee & tacos. I took my family's health into my own hands while broke and without health insurance...and have helped 1 million+ other families along the way.

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Natural Sweeteners We Love


It’s getting harder and harder to keep up with all the latest and greatest health food options these days… especially when it comes to natural sweeteners.

As soon as we think we have it all figured out, there’s a brand new sweetener that’s being marketed as the new “healthy option”. It can be overwhelming!

But don’t worry… we’ve got good news for you. We sat down with our friend, Meg Thompson, who happens to be a nutritionist and got some real answers.

Best “Whole” Sweeteners = Bananas + Dates

Sometimes we need a natural sweetener that’s not a liquid. Lucky for us, dates and bananas work perfectly for these! Dates are good and sticky, which helps things like granola bars stick together and bananas are our top choice for thickening up our favorite green smoothies! Both of these add natural sweetness and flavor with out reaching for the sugar jar in the cupboard.

Best “Liquid” Sweeteners = Honey + Maple Syrup

Honey and maple syrup are two of our favorite natural sweeteners. You may only think of these sweeteners when you’re making a cup of tea or feasting on pancakes, but these two super-awesome, very natural sweeteners are good substitutes for sugar in so many ways! We use maple syrup and honey to sweeten everything from homemade salad dressings to green smoothies, homemade granola, and fruit salad–– not every fruit has to go in a blender (check out the recipe at the bottom of this page)!

Two “Not-So-Favorite” Sweeteners = Stevia and Agave

Stevia and Agave are the two natural sweeteners that are hot right now, but Meg recommends skipping out on both. They are both highly refined, just like white sugar. So even though they come from natural sources, we don’t really consider either of them to be our top natural sweeteners of choice. And Agave is known to have high fructose content, which is linked to obesity and diabetes (among other things). Of course always do your own research, consult with your health practitioner, listen to your own body, and do what works best for your dietary needs and lifestyle.

Now it’s time to fall in LOVE with our favorite (and super cleanse-friendly) snack.


Meet your new fav snack: Heaven in a Bowl

One of our favorite snack recipes from Fresh Start 21 is Heaven in a Bowl. It’s fresh, sweet, and filled with all natural ingredients—including maple syrup!  // serves 2


2/3 cup strawberries, stems removed and sliced
2 tablespoons sliced almonds
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1 sprig of mint, roughly chopped
1/2 tablespoon maple syrup


1. Combine strawberries, almonds, lemon zest, and mint in a bowl.

2. Drizzle with the maple syrup and stir.

Fresh Start 21 is a whole food meal plan that has over 40 mouthwatering recipes, a meal plan, shopping lists, and a private online cleanse group. We can’t think of a better way to kickstart good eating habits AND try out some fantastic new recipes using natural sweeteners. Click here to learn more.

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  1. Marta

    April 9th, 2015 at 8:36 am

    Thanks for posting this. I love honey as a natural sweetener in green smoothies, no need for sugar at all!

  2. SGS Rawkstar

    April 9th, 2015 at 10:41 am

    Hi Marta,

    We do too! Honey adds a great flavor + sweetness to our green smoothies! 🙂

  3. Thomas

    April 10th, 2015 at 1:30 pm

    I prefer agave to honey. Not a fan of the taste of honey. My
    Diabetics an tells me that agave has a lower GI and tends not to elevate my blood sugar. I like the taste.

  4. SGS Rawkstar

    April 11th, 2015 at 6:30 am

    Hi Thomas,

    We try to avoid agave, it’s highly refined and is known to have high fructose content, which is linked to obesity and diabetes (among other things). But you need to decide what works for you!

    Cheers 🙂

  5. Veronica

    April 13th, 2015 at 9:35 pm

    Thanks for sharing! I also love adding honey and maple syrup to my smoothies! Another awesome thing about using honey is that if you use local, raw honey, I notice it helps with my allergies! Tis the season. 🙂

  6. SGS Rawkstar

    April 14th, 2015 at 5:14 am

    Rawsome! Thanks for sharing, Veronica!

  7. Tracy

    April 14th, 2015 at 6:10 pm

    I love local maple syrup and raw honey. Is it safe to bake with honey? Many recipes call for it, but many web sites indicate that heat changes its composition, thus making it toxic…which is true?

  8. SGS Rawkstar

    April 15th, 2015 at 6:22 am

    Hi Tracy,

    We love baking with honey! 🙂

  9. Paula

    April 16th, 2015 at 11:33 am

    please visit my blog – food, fashion, lifestyle and more! just starting out 🙂

  10. SGS Rawkstar

    April 17th, 2015 at 7:26 am

    Hi Paula,

    Your blog looks awesome! Your smoothie looks exceptionally delicious with the added cacao nibs! Thank you so much for sharing!

  11. Queen

    July 2nd, 2015 at 5:44 am

    Ive found that using white grapes,pears, or apples help sweeten my smoothies. Have you ever tried it? They also add some thickness in my opinion.

  12. SGS Rawkstar

    July 3rd, 2015 at 5:37 am

    Hi Queen,

    Those are all great sweeteners, they also tend to thicken your smoothie because of the naturally occurring pectin in those fruits (especially apples)!

    Cheers 🙂

  13. Rita

    October 5th, 2015 at 7:24 pm

    Heaven in a bowl is a good name for that dish! It is so wonderful!

  14. SGS Rawkstar

    October 6th, 2015 at 5:18 pm

    We think so too, Rita!! 🙂

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