Watch out for those hidden sugars!!

This week I have been trying a few recipes to replace a couple of the well loved items that needed to go due to their hidden sugar content.  I think that if you are going to succeed in consuming less sugar then it is necessary to find low sugar or sugar free replacements for some of the things you loved.

My family loves pasta, so my aim this week was to make  a quick and easy red sauce that was versatile for all pasta needs. This recipe is based on how my mum made her red sauce, except she used to put it into preserving jars and add sugar.  Mine is sugar free and is done on the cooktop. Pasta sauce is a good example of  a food that can contain “hidden sugar”; we may think that we are providing our family with a healthy option by using a red pasta sauce instead of a creamy one, but there could be up to 6 teaspoons of sugar in a single jar of red pasta sauce –“For example, a 500g jar of Dolmio bolognaise sauce contains more than six cubes of sugar – the same as a Mars bar.”(read more at ) So this is what is known as hidden sugar; you think something is a ‘healthy’ food option, but really, it contains large amounts of sugar. Once again, label reading is the key if you are buying pre-made items.

So here’s my take on a quick sugar free red sauce which I use for pasta, bolognese, shepherds pie and some Indian meals. I usually make a double batch and put one in the freezer.



  • FullSizeRender_1Tomatoes – I used 2 big ‘beef’ tomatoes
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1 medium onion
  • Herbs of your choice – I used rosemary and thyme



In a saucepan, place a small amount of oil add chopped garlic, onion, and herbs (I put mine in whole). Let this heat through until you have chopped your tomatoes into chunks.  Add tomatoes into the saucepan and let it all cook for no more than 5 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste.

At this point you can put a stick blender through it if you don’t like the chunky tomato or you can put it in containers to freeze. If you’re going to use the sauce now you can add in extra bits like mushrooms, red wine, basil, capsicum, etc to make it suit your dish.


My second challenge was to find something sweet for my son to put on his bread, as has quite the sweet tooth. As I was looking through my Facebook pages, I found  a recipe by Sarah Wilson for hazelnut chocolate spread – a substitute for Nutella. It’s a fructose free recipe and Sarah states that “the processed version of this spread is a dire sugar explosion. This one, though, will fool even the most sceptical child.” So here is Sarah’s recipe with my photos.

Hazelnut and chocolate spread


  • 1 cup hazelnuts.FullSizeRender_5
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk.
  • 1 tablespoon rice malt syrup.
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil.
  • 1/4 cup raw cacao powder.
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla powder.


1. Preheat oven to 180ºC.
2. Bake the hazelnuts for 8-10 minutes, until browned. Rub most of the skins off as they can be a bit bitter. Grind the nuts in a food processor until smooth.3. Add the remaining ingredients and process until well mixed.  Add extra coconut milk if you want more of a ‘sauce’ consistency.

4. It can be stored in the fridge for several weeks. I placed mine in my recycled jam jars. Thanks Sarah for this yummy recipe.

It is always great to find quick and simple low sugar or sugar free replacements for favourite cupboard or pantry items.

Happy Cooking!


2 thoughts on “Watch out for those hidden sugars!!

  1. The Chocolate spread looks great – Nutella has seemed to have taken up residence in our pantry so I’ll recycle my Nutella jar when I try this one! What does the research say about honey?


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