One of the most blatant offenders is pancake/waffle syrup. Notice I didn't say maple syrup? That is because I want you to take a close look at the ingredients of the commercially produced pancake/waffle syrup. For example, here are the ingredients for the Aunt Jemima syrup:
Corn syrup, high fructose corn syrup, water, cellulose gum, caramel color, salt, natural and artificial flavor, sodium benzoate and sorbic acid (preservatives), sodium hexametaphosphate.
Umm, where exactly is the maple syrup? And, hexameta what?! Sounds appetizing right? Unfortunately there are also products out there called "All Natural Table Syrup" when the reality is they contain no maple syrup at all!
A REAL food alternative is pure maple syrup (straight from the maple trees). Here is its ingredient:
100% pure maple syrup.
That's it! One ingredient! Pure maple syrup is a natural sweetener that can be used to add sweetness to a variety of REAL meals and it also provides certain health benefits (contains minerals that help your immune system). Of course, it's fabulous with pancakes and waffles. But it is also great in salad dressings, granola or energy bars, rubs for meats, topping for vegetable such as sweet potatoes and acorn squash, applesauce, oatmeal, and many more.
When our family first switched to REAL maple syrup, our kids did notice and I am sure yours will too. But we used this as an opportunity to explain REAL food to our kids, and we said goodbye to the old syrup. Amazing, they adapted well and now they prefer it! One thing I will forewarn you about is the REAL maple syrup bottle is not made for young kids to pour their own syrup. By this, I mean the opening is HUGE and they can easily pour half of the bottle onto their pancakes. So, we purchased a clear plastic squeeze bottle (found at most discount stores) to pour the syrup into - and it works great!
Another thing to keep in mind, REAL maple syrup needs to be stored in the refrigerator. It is reassuring to me that the REAL maple syrup doesn't have so many preservatives in it that it can live in the pantry for 12 months and still be fine to eat!
Below is an example of a quick and easy salad dressing using maple syrup. There are other recipes that use maple syrup on Eat REAL America (for example, maple cinnamon applesauce and fall pear salad).
Next time you are picking up some syrup at the store, look at the ingredients and leave the food imposters on the shelf!
Ingredients: 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil, 2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar, 2 tsp maple syrup, 2 tsp whole grain mustard, salt & pepper to taste
Preparation: Whisk together or combine olive oil, balsamic, maple syrup and mustard. Add salt and pepper to season. Enjoy!!