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Stevia lends natural sweetness to smoothies, mocktails and more

Offering sugar-free craft beverages sweetened with stevia can help recapture sales that have slipped as consumers look to reduce their sugar intake.

3 min read


Stevia lends natural sweetness to smoothies, mocktails and more

(Photo: Tricia Contreras/SmartBrief)

This post is sponsored by SPLENDA Naturals Stevia Sweetener.

Beverages sweetened with stevia offer opportunities to boost beverage sales by appealing to consumers who are looking for natural beverage options and ways to reduce sugar in their diets. Chef Diane Henderiks led a series of hands-on demonstrations at the National Restaurant Association Show in Chicago last month that featured SPLENDA Naturals stevia sweetener in a variety of beverage applications.

Henderiks leads a demo in the Foodamental Studio (Photo: Tricia Contreras/SmartBrief)

“Using SPLENDA Naturals is a great way to recover beverage sales with diners and drinkers who are not into sugary beverages,” she said during a demo entitled Super Simple Seasonal Smoothies.

Henderiks led audience members through the steps to make three smoothies that featured a range of fruits and vegetables and used SPLENDA Naturals to achieve a sweet flavor without any added sugars. Spinach, avocado and apple create the base for the Lean & Green smoothie, while the Aloha achieves a tropical vibe with mango, pineapple, banana and coconut milk. The Peppermint Patty Cold Brew combines banana, almond milk, cocoa powder and peppermint and vanilla extracts with Java House Authentic Cold Brew Coffee Concentrate for a smoothie with a fresh mint chocolate flavor and a kick of caffeine.

A demonstration called Shake Up Your Menu with Mocktails featured three alcohol-free beverages that complemented the flavors of fruit juices and tea with the sweetness of SPLENDA Naturals. The Strawberry Mockarita riffs on a margarita with lime juice and strawberry puree, and the Watermelon Moscow Mule uses fresh ginger to stand in for the ginger beer in its namesake cocktail. Black tea mixed with lemon and orange juices forms the base of the Orange Palmer. Sweetened with SPLENDA Naturals, the mocktails have a fraction of the calories of traditional cocktail or mocktail recipes, which are often loaded with sugar.

Participants follow along with the mocktail demo (Photo: National Restaurant Association)

“There’s no added sugar if you’re using SPLENDA Naturals. It’s a wonderful product for people who have diabetes,” said Henderiks, who is also a Registered Dietitian and Certified Personal Trainer.

The recipes Henderiks demonstrated can help foodservice operators appeal to diners looking for a healthy breakfast or snack option or an alternative to alcoholic drinks, but they can also be spiked with alcohol for a fun twist. The Strawberry Mockarita can become a full-fledged margarita with the addition of tequila, while rum would be a perfect fit with the tropical flavors of the Aloha smoothie.

Regardless of the recipe, Henderiks said she recommends choosing SPLENDA Naturals over other stevia sweeteners because of its clean flavor that doesn’t leave a bitter aftertaste. Most stevia sweeteners use a part of the stevia leaf called Reb A that can have a bitterness that alters the flavor profile of recipes. The SPLENDA brand uses a sweeter part of the stevia leaf called Reb D to create its SPLENDA Naturals sweetener so that it has no bitter aftertaste, Henderiks said. “It’s just fantastic — healthy, 100% natural, non-GMO, nothing artificial.”

For more recipes for beverages, desserts and more, visit SPLENDA’s website.


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