Healthier Sweets at Expo East 2022

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Healthy sweets kind of sounds like an oxymoron—but not with these brands presenting at Natural Products Expo East 2022

With products like honey-sweetened truffle bars, overnight oats that taste like pudding, and keto cookie mixes and more made with monk fruit, you’d never believe that these sweet treats were actually nutritious, too. 

If you’re a sucker for sweets but don’t want the sugary side effects, these five standout brands we met at Expo East will be your new BFF.

Honey Mama’s: A Cocoa-Loaded Sweet With Nutrition You Can’t Beat

With a wide array of uniquely flavored cocoa truffle bars ranging from carrot cake to tahini tangerine to lavender rose, Honey Mama’s encourages indulging in delicious chocolatey treats without making any compromises when it comes to health.

As the bubbly duo Angela Lukic (Vice President of Marketing) and Founder Christy Goldsby told us, all of their truffle bars are made with only a handful of whole food, nutrient-rich ingredients.

It’s the best thing you’ll put in your mouth all day.

Angela Lukic, VP of Marketing at Honey Mama’s

The rich and decadent bars are free from refined sugar, soy, eggs, dairy, gluten, and grains, so you can feel good about eating Honey Mama’s chocolate at any time—and with far less sugar than a typical bowl of cereal, we see no reason why a Coffee Nib Crunch Bar couldn’t be your new breakfast of choice.    

For a quick look behind the wrapper, their Coconut Cocoa Truffle Bar, for example, contains organic raw honey, organic coconut, organic unrefined coconut oil, organic alkalized cocoa powder, Himalayan pink salt, and vanilla extract—all for just 7g of sugar per serving. 

honey mama's angela lukic and christy goldsby at expo east 2022
Angela Lukic (left) and Christy Goldsby (right) of Honey Mama’s speak to our team at their Expo East 2022 booth.

One of their newest creations was even selected as a NEXTY finalist for “Best New Sweet Snack” at Expo East 2022.

This finalist is one of their only non-cocoa bars—the Birthday Cake Blonde Truffle Bar made with creamy cashews, vanilla extract, and, of course, rainbow coconut confetti for that celebratory birthday touch.

Angela closed out by saying that their bars are the “best thing you’ll put in your mouth all day”—and we don’t disagree. 

Supplant: Turning Discarded Food Into Dessert

With Supplant, upcycled veggie waste has never tasted so good.

Supplant takes ​​the fiber-rich parts of crops like stems, stalks, husks, and cobs from farmyards, forests, and food facilities, where the edible material would otherwise be discarded.

The long chains of fibrous carbohydrates are then broken down using enzymes from fungi, which separate into a long- and short-chain sugar blend they call “sugars from fiber.”

It’s good for gut health and nutrition, better for the planet, and is something we can all feel good about.

Joe Spence, Head of Marketing at Supplant

This innovative method is how Supplant aims to solve what they call the “Food System Trilemma”—the fact that our current food system is bad for health, harmful to our planet, and becoming increasingly difficult for everyone to afford healthy food. 

By using discarded food byproducts, Supplant aims to improve the health of both our planet and our population, all at an affordable cost.

As Joe Spence, Head of Marketing at Supplant, explains, “Since it’s from the fibrous parts of crops, it acts in your body like a fiber, so it’s good for your gut health—it’s prebiotic, it has a lower glycemic response, and is lower calorie.”

supplant
Joe Spence, Head of Marketing at Supplant, speaks to our team at Expo East 2022.

With the help of renowned Chef Thomas Keller (holder of *seven* Michelin stars!), Supplant infuses this healthier sugar into chocolates and shortbreads. 

Their small-batch chocolates made in Napa Valley boast 3-4g of fiber and 6-9g of sugar—a combo of their “sugars from fiber” and coconut sugar—per serving, making these chocolate bars a much healthier option than your traditional Big Chocolate brand. 

Joe Spence concludes by saying, “It’s good for gut health and nutrition, better for the planet, and is something we can all feel good about.”

MUSH: Mushy (In a Good Way) Oat-Filled Goodness

Mush at expo east 2022

You might be wondering why oatmeal is on a list of healthier sweets—but hear us out. 

Founded in 2015 on the belief that better foods create better outcomes, MUSH provides healthy and delicious ready-to-eat cold-soaked oats mixed with creamy coconut or almond milk and a variety of flavors with minimal ingredients—and they undeniably taste like a textured pudding that could fool anyone into thinking they’re eating a dessert. 

With flavors like Peanut Butter Swirl Crunch, Dark Chocolate, and Coffee Coconut, MUSH certainly believes that eating healthy does not have to be boring or tasteless (no cardboard-like bran flakes here).

mush dark chocolate product held in hand
[image source: eatmush.com]

We definitely agree as we shoveled the mushy (in a good way) oats into our faces late Friday afternoon for a fiber-packed and satiating pick-me-up before we completed our rounds at Expo East. 

And, MUSH utilizes the power of cold to help you absorb more nutrients—rather than heating oats, the cold-soaked approach removes a coating found on oats (and most grains) called phytic acid, enabling you to better absorb the minerals zinc, iron, calcium, and magnesium that are found in oats

While most people likely eat MUSH for breakfast, we feel confident saying that these tasty oatmeal cups can be consumed any time of day for a sweet but healthy meal, snack, or dessert. 

From their humble start selling at farmers markets in San Diego to now being sold everywhere from Target to Whole Foods, MUSH is making moves, one oatmeal cup at a time.

Lakanto: A Millennia-Old Natural Sugar Substitute (Without That Weird Aftertaste)

Over a thousand years ago, a group of Buddhist monks in remote Asian highlands discovered a unique fruit that increased their “chi” and well-being, nicknaming it “The Immortal Fruit.” 

Today, Lakanto harvests this sacred fruit that we know now as monk fruit—named after the people who discovered it—from the same region, using pesticide-free and traditional farming methods that support the local economy without interference. 

Lakanto booth at expo east 2022
Lakanto’s booth at Expo East 2022 displays its monk fruit-sweetened goods.

Although monk fruit is 300 times sweeter than regular sugar, it won’t spike your blood sugar at all—and doesn’t have that weird aftertaste that comes with many sugar substitutes. 

If you’re as curious as us about how this sugar sorcery works, here you go—the whole monk fruit is crushed and slowly steeped in hot water, then the juice is filtered to remove fructose and sucrose sugars, leaving a compound called mogroside that bypasses digestion by not being absorbed in the upper gastrointestinal tract. 

Zero calories, zero carbs, tastes just like sugar, [and was] designed over 30 years ago in Japan to be a complete replacement for sugar.

Joel Patrick, CRO at Lakanto

Then, the mogroside solution is condensed and dehydrated, leaving you with monk fruit extract, a sweet and tasty replacement for anyone looking to reduce their sugar intake. 

As Joel Patrick, the Chief Revenue Officer, relayed, Lakanto monk fruit sweetener is “zero calories, zero carbs, tastes just like sugar, [and was] designed over 30 years ago in Japan to be a complete replacement for sugar.”

lakanto peanut butter and suntella spreads at expo east 2022
Lakanto’s Peanut Butter and Sunflower Spreads

Lakanto is an increasingly popular sweetener for the low-carb crowd, but they have more than just sugar replacements—they also provide products like keto baking and brownie mixes, syrups, granola, chocolate chips, and chocolate sunflower spread called Suntella (we see what you did there!)

Joel also told us one of their newest products is a brown monk fruit sugar replacement, which smells, tastes, and compacts just like a typical brown sugar would—without any of those nasty glucose spikes.

Oats Overnight: Shake and Drink With This No-Spoon-Required Oatmeal Treat

Oats Overnight

Yep, we’re back again telling you that oatmeal is dessert—but this oat-based shake definitely fits the bill for a healthier sweet to enjoy morning, afternoon, or night. 

If you want the creaminess of overnight oats without having to do any of the work, Oats Overnight is your dream come true.

You don’t even need a spoon to enjoy it—just add water, let it do its thing overnight (or for at least four hours), and feel free to drink your protein-packed oats while on the go, smoothie-style.

Oats Overnight samples at Expo East 2022
Our team tries Oats Overnight samples at Expo East 2022

The nutrition of Oats Overnight also stacks up, with each packet using Certified Gluten-Free oats and providing 4-9 grams of sugar from real fruit, dates, or maple sugar and 20-22 grams of protein per serving. 

Oats Overnight also caters to both the vegan and dairy-eating crowds, with some oat packets (like the Dark Chocolate and Banana Bread) utilizing plant-based fava bean and pea proteins to pack a protein punch, while others, like the Strawberries & Cream and Fruity Cereal, contain whey protein concentrate. 

Loaded with superfoods like flax, chia, maca root, and real fruit—as well as about two dozen unique and enticing flavors like Caramel Macchiato, S’mores, and Peanut Butter & Jelly—Oats Overnight lives up to their motto that they’re “Not Just Oatmeal.”

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