Ah, the evil S-word. "Sugar is sugar no matter which way you sell it," says Ciccolini. "But there are definitely healthier options for replacing the processed white stuff." Since most conventional recipes can do with at least half the called-for amount of sugar, consider trying coconut sugar, date sugar, maple syrup, or honey. "These sugars are naturally occurring and mineral rich, so you can at least get some health benefits," says Ciccolini. (Here's more on how to bake with 12 healthy sugar substitutes.)
Depending on the specific recipe, you can also use applesauce or ripe banana, or enhance the flavor without requiring more sugar by using vanilla or food-grade essential oil. If you want to keep it simple, 1:1 substitutions work when you replace dry with dry, and wet with wet. It's when you replace dry with wet that it gets complicated: White granulated sugar can be replaced 1:1 with other granulated sugars, like coconut sugar, and the same goes if you're replacing liquid with liquid, like honey for corn syrup. If you're swapping granulated with liquids like honey or maple syrup, keep in mind that those are sweeter than white sugar, so you'll want to use less than a 1:1 substitution. You're altering the liquid content as well, so a good rule of thumb is to start with ¼ to 1/3 of the original amount.
Related: 19 Ways To Give Up Sugar