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Healthier Sloppy Joes (Sans High Fructose Corn Syrup)

June 2, 2015

Sloppy JoeWho doesn’t like sloppy joes?  Let’s rephrase this- what homemaker doesn’t appreciate the ease of making sloppy joes? Cook meat, add ketchup and other stuff, serve with buns and other side items.  Tada.

The only thing is that it contains one ingredient I like to avoid: high fructose corn syrup, in the ketchup.  Why?
Well first you need to know that fructose is very bad for you (some experts use the word toxic or poisonous!) whereas glucose is good for you- a necessary chemical for living.  Whether or not a sweetener is good/bad depends on the ratio of fructose to glucose and other ingredients.  Whether or not it’s “natural” or “organic” is a whole separate question.  So, while all fruit contains some fructose, it’s okay because it’s a small percentage of fructose to fiber and other components of the fruit.  Fruit JUICE on the other hand, contains a high concentration of fructose!  It is little better than soda, especially if it is pasteurized and not fresh (no original nutrients).  Agave nectar is 90% fructose- so much for “natural” being healthy!  Cane sugar, organic or not, is ~50% fructose and ~50% glucose.  Honey is 40/60.  Maple syrup is about the same as cane sugar.  Dextrose (found on some ingredient labels) is basically glucose, I have been told, so apparently it’s not bad for you at all!  High fructose corn syrup (HFCS) can be anywhere between 50-90% fructose – we don’t know from reading the label on a package.*

Which brings me to the reason for wanting to make sloppy joes without the HFCS found in ketchup- I have no way of knowing how much fructose is in the dish.  I’m not scared of consuming fructose, I just try to be intentional about not consuming too much and not consuming it in foods that don’t taste that great anyway or don’t really need it.

I buy organic ketchup with cane sugar for our hamburgers and hot dogs, etc., but I’m not keen on using that expensive stuff in sloppy joe meat! So…

After a little comparing recipes online and experimenting, I figured out that instead of using ketchup to flavor sloppy joes, I can use tomato paste, salt, brown sugar, and other flavorings/spices. An added perk to this recipe is that they are a little less “sloppy” because the tomato paste is much less watery than ketchup.  Yay for cleaner toddler meals!

Here’s my recipe.  I hope you like it!

Healthier Sloppy Joes
2 lbs ground beef
1 medium onion, diced
1 tsp salt (and to taste)
1 six oz can tomato paste
2 Tb Worcestershire sauce
2 Tb red wine vinegar
2 Tb mustard (I used dijon w/ provence herbs from Aldi)
1/4 c. brown sugar
1/4 tsp black pepper
1 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp ground coriander (optional?)
1/4 tsp dried dill (optional?)

Brown your beef, onions and salt together and drain according to your liking (if it’s grassfed meat I don’t drain the fat because it actually has great nutrients- whereas fat in factory farm meat has the highest concentration of antibiotics and other junk to avoid*).  Add the rest of the ingredients and stir over heat until fragrant. Taste, adjust seasoning, and serve!

To make this even better, use good quality buns with whole wheat, simple ingredients and no HFCS (Aldi was selling whole wheat buns with no HFCS recently- love that store!). Use organic ingredients and grass fed meat if possible.

*All of this info is off the top of my head from the book Year of No Sugar by Eve O. Schaub and other random articles on the internet and hear-say.  Feel free to fact check this information.

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