Thai sesame pork burgers

Unfortunately Thai food can often equal sugar. Most bought stir-fry sauces will have a sugar of some form and many recipes online will call for you to add some.

However do you LOVE Asian flavours? What to do if you’re trying to shift to a lower sugar diet and lifestyle?

My love of Asian flavours

I had this dilemma for a while because I absolutely love Asian food and flavours. I practically lived off Thai green curry when backpacking around Thailand a few years ago and I used to often cook stir-frys because they could be super low fat, quick, easy and healthy (or so I thought). I would always use a bought sauce and hence be consuming hidden sugar.

However, since going low sugar and becoming aware of the sweetened nature of sauces, I have to say I moved away from stir-frys as a regular weekly meal – they became more one-off and I’d attempt at making a sauce DIY (please comment below if you use or know of any great sugar-free stir-fry recipes).

I decided to get Asian flavour in through other means and so here’s a recipe for Thai sesame pork burgers that gets some Asian flavour in without the need for sugar. I’ve also got an Asian dressing recipe that does the same.

Thai sesame pork burgers


Recipe adapted from Fitter Food

Makes 6 burgers


  • 500g pork mince
  • 1 tsp fresh grated ginger (about a thumb sized piece)
  • 1 tbsp fish sauce
  • 1 tbsp sesame seeds
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • juice of a lime
  • 1 large handful fresh coriander
  • 1 fresh green chilli, chopped
  • 1 egg



  • Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas Mark and line a tray with baking parchment.
  • Add all the ingredients to a large bowl and with clean hands, mix everything together thoroughly.
  • Shape the mixture into 6 size burgers and place on the lined tray
  • Bake in the oven for 25-30 minutes

Note: You may notice a layer of fat that lines the tray after baking – don’t worry this is normal!

Try this

  • Sautee some pak choi in coconut oil or sesame oil and sprinkle with sesame seeds
  • Add cold to a salad for a serious protein boost
  • Slice some cucumber and chop some red pepper on the side and add some sesame oil or Asian style salad dressing

pork-burgers-salad thai-pork-bugers-side

What do you do when it comes to Asian food and sugar? Any recipes or stir-fry sauces you’ve found that help? Share the love in a comment below or let me know how you go with this recipe.




Quinoa, courgette & spinach bake

The mornings can be a rush can’t they? You’re trying to kick off with your tasks and responsibilities. Get to work, sort the kids, respond to emails, social messages, organise your diary…. the list goes on. I commend all the Mum’s out there as I know you have it particularly tough.

The last thing you want is to have to spend longer than you want on a healthy breakfast.

So many people say to me, I don’t have time to make eggs each morning and I completely understand. Whilst my self-employed lifestyle is different these days, I did use to travel a lot with my job at IBM and on many days I had to leave at 6:30am to get a train somewhere.

Cooking scrambled eggs at that time was not really an option if I wanted to have a decent amount of sleep and look half respectable!

Egg type bakes and efficient cooking habits absolutely were the cornerstone to my low sugar success. They stopped me from grabbing sugary things from train stations and they saved me quite a bit of money too.

So here’s a easily transportable and reheatable spinach, courgette quinoa bake recipe that packs in super protein nutrition and gets those valuable greens in first thing.


I’m on a mission to ban ‘no time for healthy breakfast’ excuses if it’s the last thing I do!

This recipe is relatively easy and is a protein packed substantial breakfast-snack-lunch that packs in nutritious green vegetables and amino acid busting quinoa. It’s gluten-free but feels a little bit like a savoury flapjack of sorts.


Quinoa, courgette & spinach bake


Serves 9 small portions as a snack or 6 larger breakfast portions


  • 200g or 4-5 large handfuls of spinach (washed)
  • 1 courgette, make 9 slices and dice the rest.
  • 1 white onion
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 1 knob butter & some extra for greasing
  • 1 tbsp dried rosemary (you can use fresh if you want)
  • 200g dried quinoa (1 cup) made according to packet directions
  • 3 eggs lightly beaten
  • 2 tbsp milk (I used almond milk in this case)
  • 25g grated parmesan cheese
  • Salt & pepper




  • Grease an 8inch glass baking dish with butter and pre-heat the oven to 180C
  • Cook the quinoa according to the packet
  • Prepare a big bowl of water with ice cubes in it
  • Cook (blanche) the spinach by bringing a pot of large water to boil and placing the spinach in it. Cook for 1 minute until the spinach goes dark green.
  • Drain in a sieve and quickly put into the iced water. This helps keep the nutrients.
  • Once cooled, remove the spinach from the iced bowl and squeeze out the excess water. Place in a bowl on the side for later.
  • Heat the knob of butter in a large pan over a medium heat and fry the onion, garlic for a few minutes.
  • Add the diced courgette, rosemary and season with salt and pepper
  • Cook until the onion is translucent and the courgette soft
  • Add all the ingredients (quinoa, onion courgette mix, spinach, cheese, eggs) together in a bowl and mix together.
  • Spoon into the glass dish and push down evenly
  • Add the courgette slices, some extra grated parmesan and black pepper to the top
  • Cook in the oven for 60-70 minutes until golden on top
  • Leave to cool & then slice up into portions & keep in the fridge

Try this

  • Ok I know there’s garlic in this, but honestly it’s good enough to eat for breakfast!
  • Use as a carry around sugar-free snack or substantial protein-healthy carbohydrate addition to a lunchtime salad.
  • Use a sneaky way to get nutrient packed spinach into children’s diets or grown ups who don’t like green vegetables!

Do you struggle with finding the time to have a healthy protein packed breakfast in the morning?


Sugar-free rosemary & walnut granola (& broccoli basil mash!)

Like crunchy stuff in the morning but don’t want sugar?

Do you LOVE granola but are conscious that even the healthier sweeter ones still put that sweet in your mouth?

Granola is just moorish, satisfying and well of course, sweet isn’t it.

I used to be hooked on sugary granola, like snacking on it out of the box throughout the day and using it as my more healthy sugar fix that really wasn’t that healthy. You may know that yellow-orange box Dorset Cereal honey one? Fair to say I was rather out of control with that stuff for a period of time. The lowest sugar granola on the market I’ve found since is Lizi’s Granola which I’ve reviewed here.

To put each into comparison, the Dorset Cereal honey one is 15% sugar where as Lizi’s is just 4%. Quite a difference.


Anyway, if you’ve a serious granola weakness like me, say big hello to this savoury rosemary and walnut variation. This recipe is super simple and requires NO sweetening with sugar, date syrup, rice syrup or anything else. You can get a granola hit whilst your dialling down your palate to sweetness. The rosemary and the natural sweetness from the roasting of the nuts and seeds makes this tasty and satisfying.

Warning: It’s so nice, it’s slightly addictive but in a savoury salty way that is a little more controllable than with a sugary one.

I’ve made this recipe nut and seed heavy over the oats. This makes it a great fat and protein topping for soups, salads and dips where it’s lower on the carbohydrate count. You can adjust these proportions if you wish e.g add more oats or remove them completely.

Let me know what you think and enjoy

Sugar-free rosemary & walnut granola


Makes a batch that serves about 10-12 portions


  • 1 ½ cups (150g) walnut halves (ideally activated to make them easier on your digestion)
  • 1 cup (130g) cashew nuts
  • 1 cup (140g) mixed seeds (I did 50:50 sunflower & pumpkin)
  • ½ cup (60g) rolled oats (use gluten free buckwheat or quinoa flakes if you like)
  • 2 tbsp dried rosemary (or use fresh if you like)
  • ½ tsp coarse black pepper
  • ¼ tsp sea salt
  • 3 tbsp melted unflavoured coconut oil (you can substitute olive oil if you want)
  • 1 tbsp chia seeds (optional)




  • Pre-heat the oven to 180C
  • Chop all the nuts roughly
  • Mix all the ingredients together in a large bowl and make sure all is coated with the oil. If you need add a little more up to 1 more tablespoon
  • Line a baking tray with parchment and bake in the oven for 40-50 minutes until starting to go golden
  • Remove and let cool thoroughly before keeping in an airtight container
  • Serve as a topping, eat as a snack or have for breakfast with milk/yoghurt of your choice

What did I do with mine?

I was replenishing after an indulgent wedding weekend so I whipped together this super green vegan veggie bowl with kale, avocado, spinach, tahini and the granola.



One day I also made some broccoli & basil mash and had it on top for a light lunch. It was nutritious, full of texture, unusual and mighty delicious! I kept leftovers in the fridge and I even had this with the granola on top for breakfast the next day. Who said eating lower sugar was boring!?!

Broccoli mash


Makes 2-3 portions of mash


  • 1 head of broccoli
  • handful fresh basil
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil (ideally odourless like this one)
  • 1-2 tbsp of the water the broccoli cooks in
  • Salt & pepper to taste


  • Steam the the broccoli in a pan with a little boiling water until soft
  • Reserve the water and cool in a colander under some cold water
  • Add everything to a food processor and blend
  • You can re-heat the mash in the microwave or eat cold (I loved it cold especially on a hot day)


Are you a fan of granola? Have you ever thought of or tried savoury? Fancy trying this? Do you know that yellow-orange Dorset Cereal stuff I’m talking about!!??
Laura x


Maca almond coconut fudge (no sugar or sugar substitutes!)

This recipe came about because I wanted to play. I’ve not been at home in my kitchen for three months and I didn’t realise how much I missed combining random sugar-free ingredients!



These are little satisfying bites you can keep in the freezer to help curb a post meal ‘something’ fix or a sugar craving. They’re also full of goodness to boost the nutrition density of your day!

Maca almond coconut fudge

Makes 6-8 pieces



  • 1 tbls melted coconut oil
  • 3 tbls almond butter
  • 3 tbls desiccated coconut
  • 1 tbls maca powder (omit if you want, see notes below)
  • Cacao nibs for topping


  • Put all ingredients into a food processor and blend until smooth.
  • Put into ice cube trays, top with cacao nibs and freeze for 2 hours.
  • The combination of ingredients means these don’t go too hard and so can be eaten straight from the freezer in fudge like fashion!


Why use maca powder?

I’ve taken interest in maca powder in the last 6 months and decided to try it.  Maca is a root which is traditionally grown in Peru and is usually found in powder or capsule forms. It’s known for being an aphrodisiac and has a growing reputation as being effective for hormonal balance – something that I was working on myself towards the end of last and start of this year (more on this to come).

Looking at the science, the strongest evidence on maca is around it increasing libido, however preliminary research suggests maca can help protect the brain, improve bone health and even improve cognitive ability in healthy people. The science on its hormonal effects isn’t there but there are professionals who swear by it.

Science and others’ options aside, I like to give these things a go myself!

I purchased both some Creative Nature maca powder and some capsules to try as a supplement. Now after taking the supplements for two weeks my hormonal issue (I was suffering from Hypothalamic Amenorrhea which you can read lots of helpful information about here), seemed to be relieved and has since not returned. However I was doing lots of other things to help with this (more rest, weight gain, reducing stress etc.) so I’m not really clear what worked. I was just happy that something had finally sorted it and continued to use the maca powder, more than anything these days because I do really like the taste and texture of it.

Hence why I decided to beef up the nutrition of this fudge with the maca addition. You can include or omit it from the recipe quite easily.

Have you been curious about maca powder? Do you use it as supplement at all? Let me know what you think of the recipe.

P.S I know I’ve dropped in my Hypothalamic Amenorrhea lightly into this article and recipe. It’s something I can talk about more but I wanted to gauge how much interest it is to you and if it’s helpful me writing up the whole story?





Living lower sugar…in Bali

In this article today I want to give you a bit of a guide and lowdown to how I’ve been living a lower sugar diet in Bali and the practicalities of this.

If you ever come on holiday or to work here, this may be helpful. However, it’s also likely to show you general principles, tips and tricks for keeping a practical healthy when you’re away and reassure you that life can still be lived without overdoing it on sweetness.

Why am I in Bali?

Just quickly I’ll explain this. I’m not on one big holiday as it seems. I’m actually here to focus and get clarity on where, how and what I want to do with Happy Sugar Habits going forward (exciting things in the making!). I’m in a place called Ubud – which is also renowned for it’s yoga and health scene but also now a supportive business community. It’s inspiration on steroids, seriously.

There is a co-working space called Hubud (with a raw food café!), a network of support and a vibrant expat community. I’ve continued to blog, work on projects and coach over Skype much the same as I would in the UK (my clients just see a lot of bamboo in the background!)

You can read more about where I am in this Telegraph article that was published last weekend all about it.

So what’s the deal with the sugar and food out here…

I’m eating out 90% of the time

I don’t really have a fully functional kitchen here so I eat out most of the time. It’s affordable and social. I miss my kitchen and the process of cooking somewhat, and obviously I’m not overseeing what exactly goes in the food, how it’s cooked etc. I know to some this sounds like a dream (no cooking hassle) and to others it sounds like a nightmare (loss of control). I’d be interested to know what your personal thoughts would be if you were to switch to this for a period of time? I have to say I’m really enjoying it, especially now I know where I can get quality goodness at a good price.

The first picture below is a raw food avocado sandwich from Living Food Lab and the second is a DIY salad from Alchemy.



Experimental vs. home comfort

When looking through my pictures of food I realise I don’t have as many of real local food as I would like. You’re really spoilt for choice in Ubud and can get a very wide range of healthy and international cuisines. One minute I’ll eat really local but the next I’ll just find a feta cheese salad or something. This comes with being away for longer than a month. Sometimes I just want to know what I’m getting and that it’s going to have enough vegetables to make me happy and not too much suspect oil that makes me feel unwell.

I keep largely to the basic principles of eating lots of veg, ensuring some healthy fat (usually avocado, olive oil dressing, nuts or seeds) and some protein (usually eggs, tempeh, tofu, tuna or chicken).



Eggs are in abundance here. Breakfast I’m often having eggs with sides or just some local fruit (banana, mangosteen) with nuts or seeds if I’m not that hungry. One time I ate an avocado and some coconut flakes which was a bit random. Over the past few months I’ve started eating avocado like a fruit (technically it is one anyway).


In my homestay where I stayed early on I would have poached eggs, tomato and a watermelon juice plus some nuts I bought myself on the side for healthy fat.


The pictures below are breakfasts I’ve had at Clear Café Ubud and Atman Kafe – two places that are more touristy/expat centred but have understood well what the health conscious yogi’s here want.



On the cheaper side, most local warungs (restaurants) you can get a load of greens & a few boiled eggs for less than £1. I’ve also tried some interesting savoury breakfasts like the rice, ginger, peanut and green bean dish in the picture.


Pancakes are a common breakfast option here I’ve seen many have. I’ve had a couple – one being at 2am before I climbed a mountain. They are usually dripping in honey and have sugar added to the pancake mix so are obviously not the best regular breakfast to have. Note that day I also had warm banana sandwiches and boiled eggs cooked by the steam at the top. Flipping cool that I had to share!


Vegetarian focus (Ubud)

I’m not a vegetarian but I’ve been eating a lot more vegetarian. Ubud is this super health conscious bubble in Bali and there’s a big vegan and vegetarian scene. Generally I like this a lot as it means an abundance of vegetables, however sometimes I do find I’m craving more fat and sometimes more protein. Ordering a side of avocado or maybe some tuna helps with this.

The picture below is a tempeh lasagne I had. It was amazing but I was starving after a hardcore yoga vinyassa class and found I was still a bit hungry afterwards – needed more satiating fat!


One of my favourite Indonesian vegetarian dishes here is Gado Gado – boiled vegetables, egg, tofu, tempeh and peanut sauce. I’m not sure exactly what they put in the peanut sauce from place to place – but I know it most (if not all) of the time contains two ingredients I’m not a massive fan of – sugar and vegetable oil. Both of these are not ideal but I let them slide as generally Gado Gado is a healthy, cheap local option and I now ask for the peanut sauce on the side so I can dip at my leisure (I once ordered it and it was like a few vegetables in peanut sauce soup!).


Sugar on the side

Juices, teas and coffees you usually get a shot of sugar or sugar syrup on the side here. I quite like the concept of this as it gives people the option to add sweetness according to their own taste preference (where I can opt to add none). Wouldn’t it be great if everything had this option?

However sometimes they do automatically add sugar to something like a watermelon juice or iced coffee so I’ve got into the habit of just saying ‘no sugar’ or ‘sugar on side’ when I order. It’s quite widely accepted as a request here – so much so that some places they even ask me before I say it. The picture below is an organic red rice tea I tried – naturally sweet from the rice and no sugar needed (well for me anyway).



I find in hot countries drinks are tricky because you can crave something more than just water. I written about this here and some tips you can use.

One amazing thing over here is the abundance of limes and coconuts. As an alternative to good old water, my low sugar drinks of choice to quench thirst are fresh lime juice (no sugar added) and young coconut water. Both are low in fructose and super refreshing when cold. You can also get lime and mint blends, water with cucumber and coconut water that’s infused with cinnamon. All totally sugar-free.


When I get home, I’m going to make a big bottle of lime infused water and keep in my fridge for the summer! For anyone that complains just water is boring or is still tempted by fizzy drinks, this is a great one to try.

I do also have the occasional watermelon juice. It’s got a high water content and so is really refreshing without being too sweet (just check they don’t add the sugar).

Green juices are all around here. I tend to drink them for added nutrition rather than to quench or satisfy thirst. I also double check how much % fruit they are but I have to say the green juices here are veggie hardcore compared to the 60% apple juice type you get a lot of places at home in the UK.

Watching out for natural sugars

Because of the thriving health scene here, there are lots of ‘healthy’ sweet treats made with healthier alternatives to refined white sugar. Whilst this is great, I recognise this as a potential danger zone for me. You’ll find it hard to get hooked on white ‘sugar’ here but you’ll find it very easy to build up a fructose preference if you’re not careful.

There are loads of bliss type balls made with dates, cakes made with coconut sugar, blended iced drinks sweetened with honey etc. I’ve had a few as a treat here and there because largely I can trust myself more with sweet food, however there are days when I notice cravings creeping up if I go too much on these so I’m still careful. Luckily on the whole my body does tell me when I’ve had enough.


Sometimes I buy something and just test it out with my own tastebuds to gauge the fructose. For example I found these low sugar biscuits at a place Dayu’s Warung that are sweetened more heavily with coconut. I also found some bliss bars that again use goji berries and coconut rather than dates to sweeten which suffices for less of a fructose hit.

Finally…chocolate banana pizza!

I know this isn’t healthy but I found it amusing. There is a popular pizza joint here and they serve a chocolate and banana pizza. Some of my friends go crazy for it. I would have previously gone crazy for it but actually it makes me feel a bit sick now (I did try one slice of a friends and confirmed this).



I think it’s a good litmus test to help you determine where you are with sugar. Do you want to eat the entire chocolate pizza? Are you just curious to try a slice? Or does it really not appeal to you for various reasons? I would love to hear in a comment below!

The final message

I know this is a random lot of info but I just wanted to share honestly that I’m not eating super super healthy all of the time but I am still eating a lower sugar lifestyle whilst enjoying myself, being social, doing everything I want to etc. I hope it helps you do two things 1) learn some tips and tricks to use when away 2) know that wherever you are in moving towards a life less sugar, it’s really not a life sentence and can be practically managed.

Any thoughts or questions? Could you eat that PIZZA!!?? LOL

P.S if you like this article then let me know as I’ve got enough material to write a Part II!

P.P.S If you’ve enjoyed these pictures then follow me on Instagram for more and say hello…

@happysugarhabits (lower sugar lifestyle tips and inspiration

@lauraj_thomas (my personal account – food, sunsets and cute stuff)




Fructose-free muesli base recipe

Muesli was one of my favourite sugar-filled foods but even when labelled sugar-free, it can still be packed to the nines with dried fruit.

Make this basic muesli base and you can call the shots on the sugar in your muesli bowl by either having it plain or by adding a little fruit sweetness to your own taste depending on where you are with your sweet cravings.

Fructose-free muesli base


Makes 8-10 portions


  • 1 ½ cups mixed nuts (I use hazelnuts, almonds and walnuts but any mix will do)
  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • ½ cup flaxseed powder
  • ½ cup unsweetened dessicated coconut
  • ½ cup chia seeds (optional)
  • ½ cup sunflower seeds
  • ½ cup pumpkin seeds


  • Put all the ingredients in a large bowl and mix well
  • Pour into an airtight container
  • Serve with your choice of cold milk, yoghurt or extras


Try this

  • If you’re in a super low fructose period, try mixing with some full fat yoghurt and topping with coconut flakes and raw cacao nibs.
  • For a low fructose twist add either some fresh raspberries, a chopped kiwi fruit or some blueberries.
  • Ultimately as you grow more confident with sweet, add whichever fruit you like best – I personally love either chopped apple, peach or goji berries with cacao nibs
  • Activating or soaking your nuts will make them easier to digest

Do you make your own muesli? Have you found any that are particularly low sugar that you would be willing to share?



Low sugar sweet potato smoothie recipe

When you’re first transitioning to lower sugar life, I’ll always recommend you start with a hearty egg-based breakfast of sorts to get you into the savoury groove.

However I know with summer months on their way and the fun of a blender, smoothies are quite desirable and I’m a fan.

They are something to experiment with when you really notice your tastebuds have become more sensitive to sweet food because you’ll appreciate them and will be able to use just a small bit of fruit to make them slightly sweet.

I’ve already written quite a lot on smoothies from a low sugar standpoint that should help you:

Today I have an awesome recipe to share…a low sugar sweet potato smoothie!! This was delicious. I’m writing this now and I want some again.

It is a great recipe for kids who don’t like the look of green smoothie and prefer orange. It packs in the fantastic nutrition of a sweet potato at breakfast and is nicely balanced with protein, healthy fat & carbohydrate. Also because the sweet potato has a naturally sweet flavour, you only need a little banana and coconut to make this palatable. I’ve noted the base recipe here, but as with all smoothies, you can add whole load of extras if you wish.

Sweet potato smoothie


Makes 2 portions


½ frozen banana (in slices or chunks) or ½ banana plus a few ice cubes
1 large sweet potato
5 tbsp full fat Greek yoghurt
300ml milk of choice
1 tsp cinnamon
2 tbsp dessicated coconut
2 tbsp flaxseed powder (optional)
2 tbsp chia seeds (optional)

Coconut flakes, chia seeds & cinnamon to top

Optional Extras

2 tbsp nut butter
2 tbsp sunflower or pumpkin seeds
1 tbsp maca powder
Chopped nuts or seeds (topping)
Cacao nibs (topping)


Cook the sweet potato in the microwave for 7-9 minutes until soft and cooked through. (You could also bake it the night before and refrigerate of course)
Peel the skin off and mash onto a plate to cool a little. If you have time let it cool for 10 mins.
Add all the other ingredients to your blender.
Finally add the sweet potato and blend together.
Divide into two glasses and add toppings.


Cook once eat twice: Cover one smoothie portion with cling film & have the next day.
If your smoothie isn’t cold enough, add an ice cube or two.
Swap in coconut milk and yoghurt/cream to make this dairy free.
Use Greek yoghurt to maximise the protein but natural yoghurt will work fine.

Do you fancy trying out this smoothie recipe? Have you ever thought of putting sweet potato in a smoothie before?


The sugar-free recipe you need when only cake will do

So there’s a special or particular social occasion coming up and people are expecting CAKE! It’s like sugar dilemma 101.

Do you make a full sugar cake and just try not to eat too much of it (potential mental torture), or do you try a sugar substitute one (will they like it – risky business!) or do you try and make excuses (risk social isolation or ridicule).

First world problems at their best right?!

So what do you do?!! How do you navigate?

Maybe you’ve been asked to bake something for a charity cake bake or you’ve got people coming around for afternoon tea. It could be the birthday of one of your children or it’s your turn to bring in the office treat.

First of all, ask yourself how often this happens. If this is a frequent occurrence and you want to live a lower sugar lifestyle where cravings haven’t got the better of you, then it may be the case that you do need to manage some expectations and shift your activities. Doing this could be a whole other article in itself so I’m going to assume this is more a one off and focus on what actually to take.

Firstly you could seek a savoury cake or bake alternative. I have a few you can try:

However, I get that your friends or family just might not be overwhelmed with joy if they’re expecting something sweet with their cuppa and you present them with olives & spinach!

If this is the case then you could use this as a good opportunity to experiment with some sugar-free baking.

Savoury over sweet

Now, I don’t have many sweet recipes on this blog, simply because if you’re trying to change your taste buds and take reign over cravings, you need to be getting into the habit of savoury foods the majority of the time. When you do, there’s less need for sweet stuff.

I see sooooo many ‘sugar-free’ blogs that are just packed with sweet recipes and really if you’re successfully ‘low sugar’, you just don’t want to eat that stuff all the time. I do eat some sweet things and I enjoy them, but just not that often. I really don’t go out of my way to make them all the time and would rather get my sugar quota when I’m out socially – which can even occasionally involve eating real sugar!

That said, I’ve wanted one GEM of a sweet cake recipe on the website that you can use for social sugar situations that is relatively healthy.

Baking a communally sweet cake

Sometimes I like cakes and biscuits a lot less sweet than others, and so I appreciate not everyone may like the sweet potato and coconut cake.

When I say baking a communally sweet cake, I mean baking a cake that everyone likes and where they don’t have a clue it’s sugar-free.

If you’re keeping your low sugar efforts low profile then you just keep quiet, or you can wait for ‘this is delicious’ and then spring it on them that it’s sugar-free (maximum social points).

I’ve gone for a classic lemon and almond cake which is even gluten-free too (& you wouldn’t know).


Now the important question… which sugar substitute did I use?!!

I have a philosophy that there is just not one best sugar substitute out there. I say that because I don’t think it’s a good idea to go hard on one particular thing and if something is labeled as ‘good’ then people can go to town on it i.e. eat it all the time thinking it’s healthy.

Yes brown rice syrup is low in fructose and on the preferred list, but that isn’t a license to over eat on it. I’d also advise you read this article on Authority Nutrition about it.

All sugar substitutes ideally should be consumed in moderation and if you do this, then it’s less significant which one you use (if you get what I mean).

For this cake I’ve used xylitol. I’ve written about xylitol here but I’ve used this sugar substitute because:

  • The cake recipe needed to substitute sugar in 1:1 and xylitol does that
  • I had never tried baking with it and wanted to experiment (I would encourage you to experiment with a variety too)
  • I wanted to share that there are different options and make the above point to you
  • A nice chap called Daniel at Total Sweet sent me some!

I have to say, that after seeing how well this cake came out and how delicately sweet it is without being sickly, I do like xylitol as a sugar substitute for baking. I also know that Total Sweet is quite widely available as I mentioned in my video review of it last week.

Now finally, we get to the cake..

Lemon & almond cake (sweetened with xylitol)


Recipe adapted from

Makes one cake (8 slices)

Note: You do need an electric whisk for this recipe and it’s quite important.


  • 4 eggs, separated and at room temperature (see how to separate eggs here )
  • 100g (1 cup) xylitol (I used Total Sweet)
  • 200g (1 ¾ cup) ground almonds
  • ½ tsp ground cardamom (or 3 pods freshly ground)
  • Zest of a lemon (about 1-2 tsp worth or until your arm hurts!)
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • pinch of salt


  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180C and line a round 9-inch tine with greased parchment paper (grease both sides with butter or coconut oil)
  2. In a large bowl beat the egg yolks, lemon zest and 1/3 cup (about 30g) of xylitol until smooth with a wooden spoon
  3. In a separate bowl, mix together the almond flour, cardamom and baking powder. Add this flour mixture to the egg yolk mixture and beat until smooth with a wooden spoon
  4. With an electric whisk, beat the egg whites where you start on a low speed and gradually increase. When bubbles start to form, add a pinch of salt and the teaspoon of vinegar (this helps maintain the structure of the cake).
  5. When the eggs have a lighter fluffy volume, add in the rest of the xylitol (2/3 cup) and beat again with the whisk, using the gradual speed increase again. Beat until soft peaks form.
  6. Fold these beaten egg whites into the almond mixture a large spoonful at a time. The first few you might not think it’s working but as you add more, a light cake batter will form.
  7. Scoop all of the mixture into your prepared tin and place in the oven. Bake for 45-50 minutes until firm and slightly golden on the surface.
  8. Remove from the oven and let it cool for 10 minutes. Then carefully remove from the tin and parchment and let cool for a further 10 minutes.
  9. Serve and impress all of your friends and family!

Have you tried baking with xylitol before? What do you do when you’re asked to bring/bake a cake for a wider group? Has this been a previous dilemma for you?!


Avocado on toast: Your ultimate guide

So I thought I’d dedicate a whole post to avocado on toast. YUM!

Why? It’s a nifty, quick, super nutritious & tasty low sugar breakfast that appeals to many and is good breakfast if you’re weaning yourself off of sugary stuff.

A lot of people come to me saying they don’t have time for eggs in the morning or they are short on time.

Well, avocado on toast works around this problem because it is super quick. By the time your toast has toasted, you can peel and mash half an avocado. 5mins tops.

Benefits of avocado on toast

  • Healthy fats & something green in your breakfast
  • Source of fibre, potassium and antioxidants
  • Feels decadent & indulgent
  • Can flavour or fancy to taste (salt, chilli flakes, herbs, seeds etc.)
  • Filling because avocado is a source of protein & fat
  • Children & fussy adults generally like it too (I’ve found anyway)
  • Oh, nearly forgot this one…completely sugar and sugar substitute free!

On top of this, there are some recent studies that show avocado really is flipping good for you. Read about the 12 proven benefits of avocados on Authority Nutrition if you’re still not convinced (or feeling still a bit scared of the fat).

So how can you have it?


Chilli flakes & salt




Cottage cheese & pumpkin seeds









You could also melt some cheese on top but I haven’t done this myself yet (I suspect it’s really good if you’ve had too many drinks the night before!)

I also found 7 other (more fancy) ways to do you avocado on toast on Puts my pictures to shame and makes you hungry!

Don’t want to make? Eat out!

Of course you can make avocado on toast at home pretty easily, but you can also now get it out and about. Eggs will always be a brunch winner, but avocado on toast, now more widely available could be another winning savoury option.

I recently spoke to the lovely Natalie Glazee – author of The Nutritionista which is a nice little healthy website full of helpful interviews & reviews.


Natalie knows the London avocado toast scene a lot better than I do so I picked her brains for list of places that could accommodate this sugar-free request.

Even if you don’t live in London, you could keep this list to hand in case you ever visited. I’ve certainly got some on my radar.

Note: Even if somewhere doesn’t do avocado on toast, you can always ask for it – I suspect quite a few places will oblige.

Do you like or have you tried avocado on toast? Is it something you’d consider? What is your favourite way? Comment below with any other suggestions!




Savoury olive & almond flapjacks

Calling flapjack lovers, this recipe is AMAZING! I’ve been excited for nearly a whole week about sharing it with you because I know that cereal bars, flapjacks and all things like that are a killer for sugar yet can be handy to carry or eat on the go.

I used to eat flapjacks and cereal bars like nobody’s business when I was a sugar fiend so I’ve wanted to create a sugar-free option for a while now. If you find yourself at the mercy of cereal bars, flapjacks and quick grab sugary bars, these could be a great option.

You also don’t have the hassle of deciding which sugar substitute to use which can be a confusing business to say the least!


Even though you might feel cumin is a no go first thing, you can definitely eat these for breakfast and i’d encourage you to break out of your comfort zone by doing so.

Alternatively eat them as a handy snack, have with your lunch, or use in the kid’s lunch boxes (maybe just omit the chilli flakes).

The pumpkin and chia seed topping is optional to simply boost the nutritional count and make them look pretty!

Savoury olive & almond flapjacks


Makes 8 large bars or 16 smaller bites


  • 200g rolled oats (2 cups)
  • 300ml milk (1 ½ cups)
  • 75g almonds (½ cup)
  • 20g parmesan cheese (⅓ cup, grated)
  • 60g black pitted olives (½ cup)
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp dried oregano
  • 2 tbsp ground flaxseed
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp chilli flakes
  • 1 tbsp chia seeds (optional)
  • 1 tbsp pumpkin seeds (optional)


  • Preheat the oven to 180C and line an 8-inch square tin with parchment paper
  • In a medium bowl, mix the oats, salt, herbs and spices together with the ground flaxseed
  • Add the milk and leave it to soak for 10 minutes whilst you prepare the rest
  • Roughly chop the olives, almonds and grate the parmesan cheese
  • Add these ingredients to the mixture, stir well
  • Pour the mixture into the tin and spread evenly
  • Sprinkle over the chia seeds and pumpkin seeds
  • Bake for 45 minutes, remove and let cool
  • Slice into bars or squares
  • Keep refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 3 days


More foodie and sugar-free meal inspiration

I’ve also just started a new Instagram feed @happysugarhabits which is solely dedicated to helping you beat the sugar cravings and get a daily dose of inspiration to help you embrace a practical lower sugar life and feel in control. I’ve got Fit Food Emma helping out so do follow and let us know what you think. This feed is to really help you so feedback is always welcome.

What do you think of savoury flapjacks and eating these for breakfast? Have you ever tried a savour flapjack before? Please do let me know if you try this recipe and what you think.