What are you looking for in a honey substitute? You want something vegan that tastes good and has the right consistency. This blog post will introduce you to vegan honey substitutes so that you can make a more informed decision while cooking and making sweet drinks!
What is honey, exactly?
Since most of us are not beekeepers or farmers, we probably don’t have much experience with where our food comes from exactly. This includes honey.
Bees make honey, which they store to have food to nourish them through the winter, just like our ancestors had canned and dried foods in the root cellar.
Worker bees fly to flower after flower, collecting nectar and bring it back to the hive. The nectar is transformed into a concentrated energy source and stored in the comb.
So, although bees are not killed to produce honey like animals used to produce meat, their work is exploited.
Are Honey Nut Cheerios Vegan?
Honey Nut Cheerios are not vegan. They use more sugar than honey for sweetness, but as you might guess, honey is still in the ingredient list.
Honey Nut Cheerios Ingredients: Whole Grain Oats, Sugar, Corn Starch, Honey, Brown Sugar Syrup, Salt, Tripotassium Phosphate, Canola and/or Sunflower Oil, Natural Almond Flavor. Vitamin E (mixed tocopherols) Added to Preserve Freshness.
However, original Cheerios do not have honey and might be suitable.
Vegan honey substitutes
You may be surprised to learn that there are some commercial products available that are designed to be sweet and taste like honey but are vegan.
A few vegan honey substitute brands to consider include:
- Vegan Honee – Simple Truth
What alternatives to honey are there?
The good news is that vegan honey substitutes exist! One of the most popular is agave nectar. You can also try maple syrup, molasses, brown rice syrup, or golden syrups like sorghum and barley malt for a more traditional flavor. My personal favorites are maple syrup and agave.
Not all recipes looking for a vegan honey substitute need to be sweet. You can check out my recipe for Vegan Honey Mustard Dressing!
If you want to make your own vegan “honey,” it’s not too difficult – all you need is sugar and water mixed in any ratio that suits your taste buds. The ingredients are inexpensive, so this is an easy option if you want to avoid buying an alternative that might be more of a stretch to your grocery budget, such as pure maple syrup.
It’s important to note that some people choose to buy local honey because they believe it tastes better than the more processed commercial honey. It is possible that the treatment of the bees is better than commercial honey producers (1).
Is local honey kinder to bees?
Some people feel that eating local honey is kinder to bees because the beekeeper is less likely to take so much honey from each hive that the bees are at less risk of starving. There is also the environmental benefit that the honey doesn’t have a long journey from around the world to store.
Again, this is a personal choice, and vegan or not, people should not be judged for their choices because we all start somewhere.
Is a vegan honey substitute healthier?
As a registered dietitian, I aim to empower people to live healthier, happier lives that are also kind to animals and the planet.
We love sweet things. So, while there are many options for alternatives to sweet honey, please keep in mind that they all contain added sugar.
Some added sugar is perfectly fine: food is not just fuel for our cells. It fuels our spirits and gives us an opportunity to celebrate life’s joys, including holidays, birthdays, and cultural traditions. It surprises people that I still enjoy and actually eat desserts, even though I am a registered dietitian.
Just don’t fall into the trap that because a sweetener is less processed, such as maple syrup, it is “healthier.” It is still sugar. Enjoy it within the overall scheme of a balanced, plant-based day.
You might be seeking a honey alternative for a few additional reasons—those with an allergy to honey and young children. Let’s cover both!
Although honey allergies are rare, they do exist, and this is one important reason a person might be seeking a honey alternative, even if they’re not a vegan. It is estimated that fewer than <0.001% of the general population has an allergy to honey (2).
Food safety: Honey and children
Vegan or not, giving honey to infants under the age of one is not recommended. There is a chance of botulism in the honey, and a baby with an immature immune system is more susceptible to getting sick (3). Cooking does not destroy botulism. You may have the association of botulism and dented canned goods: same thing.
Vegan honey substitutes such as agave and maple syrup do not have the risk of botulism as honey does.
Are you ready to take the next step towards a more sustainable, plant-based lifestyle but don’t know where to start? I can help!
Schedule your free discovery call through my online calendar. The meeting is free, you’ll have my undivided attention, and you’ll be able to discover if we’re a good fit for each other to achieve your nutrition goals. I can’t wait to meet you!
Vegan honey substitutes: Key Takeaways
If you’re a vegan or looking to have a lowered impact on the environment and fellow creatures, you’ll probably be ready for some vegan honey substitutes. Start with my two favorites, maple syrup, and agave, and let me know how they taste!
And remember, vegan sweets and treats are still treats. Enjoy them, and be mindful of sugary food choices throughout the day and week.