By Rose McAvoy
After sharing the recipe for Lemon-Lime Cream Pie Pops several readers asked about making these popsicles with a sugar substitute. Curious myself, and eager to please the people, I tried a batch using Wholesome Sweeteners Organic Stevia.
I didn’t test any other alternative sweeteners so I can’t attest to how well this recipe works with anything besides Stevia. I can say that this batch turned out nicely. There are a couple of functional perks to using Stevia. The primary perk is its ability to dissolve in water. With Stevia you can stir all the ingredients together and skip the step of heating granulated sugar in water to make simple syrup. No cooking means these even nicer to make on a hot day. Secondly, as with most sugar alternatives, Stevia is sweeter than sugar so you need half as much Stevia to balance the tart lemon-lime juice.
I did find some minor cons when comparing this recipe to the original. The price per popsicle is higher with this version. Sugar substitutes tend to cost more than sugar. Flavor wise, there was a slight aftertaste that I attributed to the change in sweetener. This batch did not blend as nicely, the finished popsicles turned out a teeny bit less creamy and a bit more icy.
Additional food for thought:
To be clear, I am not a health professional; please do not read the following as medical advice.
Many blood sugar management diets require a specific balance of sugar or carbohydrates to protein. Depending on the brand of Greek yogurt you choose, these popsicles could have around 7 grams of protein in a 4 ounce serving. The original recipe has approximately 22 grams of carbohydrates and 16 grams of sugar. For many striving to balance proteins and carbohydrates this may be ample to keep blood sugar levels within a healthy range.
Another option to alternative sweeteners is simply reducing the amount of sugar in the recipe. I often use raw or turbinado sugar to sweeten recipes. To my palate, this type of sugar tastes sweeter and has a nice caramel richness absent in white sugar. The fuller flavor of raw sugar lets me use less without missing any sweetness. Swapping 1/3 cup of raw or turbinado sugar for the granulated white sugar in the original recipe reduces the carbohydrates to approximately 17 grams and the sugar to 11 grams per 4 ounce serving.
Sugar alternatives allow many with dietary restrictions to enjoy a broader range of treats. I view this as a good thing. We all need ways to splurge and feel free to eat what we think tastes good. However, there is no one way to achieve personal balance. Nutritionally speaking, it is important to keep learning and working with our health providers to find the way that works best for us right now. Look for new ways to strike balance in your own life. You may find your your options expanding more than restricting your food choices.
Sugar Free Lemon-Lime Cream Pops
Just like the original version, these popsicles are sweet-tart creamy-dreamy and the perfect snack for a hot summer day. From Lemon-Lime Cream Pie Pops.
Prep time: 5 minutes; Freezing time: 4 hours to overnight; Yield: 6 (4 oz.) popsicles.
1 1/2 (12 ounces) Non-Fat plain Greek Yogurt (I prefer Chobani)
1/3 cup freshly squeezed lime and lemon juice (2 parts lime juice to 1 part lemon)
1/3 cup cold water
3 tablespoons Wholesome Sweeteners Organic Stevia
3/4 teaspoon vanilla
1/3 cup graham cracker crumbs
1. Combine ingredients in a medium mixing bowl. Stir gently as mixture will be very runny. Mix in graham cracker crumbs last stirring just enough to swirl them throughout the yogurt mixture.
2. Pour the liquid into your popsicle molds and freeze a minium of four hours.
Approximate nutrition information per serving: 70 calories, .6 g. fat, 8 g. carbs, 7 g. protein, PP = 2