amasaiWhen the days get hot, we often reach for something cool, refreshing, and sweet. Nothing wrong with cool and refreshing, but you’ll have a happier and healthier summer if you opt for natural sweeteners (and less of them) than products made with refined white sugar and high-fructose corn syrup. Fortunately, we have plenty of other sweet options: fresh fruit, a dash of maple syrup, a sprinkling of palm sugar. Natural sources of sweetness have flavor, too—they’re more than just sweet—so you don’t need to use as much of them. Plus, you can mix and match natural sweeteners to best suit what you’re sweetening. Here are some ideas to get you started.

  • Ever tried homemade maple lemonade? Just stir a dash of maple syrup and some freshly squeezed lemon juice into still or sparkling water, then add ice. Be sure to slip the lemon wedge into the lemonade, too. Not only is it a pretty garnish, the lemon zest will naturally sweeten the drink.
  • Fruit salads make ideal desserts—they don’t need any additional sweetening. Choose long-lasting fruits like blueberries, kiwi, pineapple, and mango. Salads made with durable fruit can be refrigerated for three days.
  • Make gorgeous layered parfaits: stir 2 tablespoons of unsweetened cocoa powder and 1 tablespoon of maple syrup into 4 ounces of whole-milk plain Greek yogurt, then layer into glasses with cut fruit and freshly whipped cream. (If you like, add a splash of maple syrup and a dash of vanilla extract to the cream before you whip it.)
  • Skip the store-bought sugary popsicles in favor of homemade versions. Pour your favorite fruit-based smoothie into popsicle molds and freeze according to the mold manufacturer’s instructions. Smoothies made with whole coconut milk, Amasai (as shown with Raspberry flavor) or dairy cream will stay softer when frozen thanks to their higher proportions of healthy fat.
  • For a lush treat, sauté sliced ripe bananas in coconut oil, then blend with coconut cream (that’s the extra-thick milk that rises to the top of a can of unshaken whole coconut milk) and a tablespoon or two of chia seeds. Pour into small glasses or cups and refrigerate to allow the cream and chia to set. You’ve just made almost-instant banana pudding! Plus, the chia seeds are high in anti-inflammatory omega-3 fats, which makes this pudding delicious and nutritious.

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