Sugar tends to get a bad name when it comes to our health, and there’s a good reason for that. Refined sugars, which are natural, and raw sugars that have undergone a number of different chemical processes to remove impurities, are believed to be very detrimental to health, not only increasing the risk of dental cavities, but also causing a number of other issues, including bloating as a result of a sluggish gut.
As parents, we all want what’s best for our kids, and sometimes this means making a few changes to the types of snacks and treats we have on offer at home. While many kids have a sweet tooth (which is completely normal!), satisfying this sweet tooth with sugary goodies can increase their risk of tooth decay. Fortunately, there are many different types of sugar-free snacks that we can whip up in the kitchen:
If your kids love cookies, then these healthy spiced cookies are sure to be a big hit. All you need is a cup of rolled oats (if you opt for gluten-free oats, you can easily make a gluten-free version of the cookies), half a cup each of coconut flour and melted coconut oil, and 2 eggs. Mix well, and add a cup of grated carrots and some warming spices like nutmeg and cinnamon before baking. Think of it as being a healthier version of pumpkin pie! If your kids like their treats sweeter, drizzle with a little honey.
There’s nothing quite like a big bowl of sugary popcorn when you’re watching a movie… or is there? Believe it or not, chickpeas make an excellent alternative to the traditional theater snack, and they’re sugar-free, too. Toss your ready-soaked chickpeas, or garbanzo beans, with a little olive oil and some herbs or spices of your choosing – smoked paprika works great, as does a sprinkling of Parmesan. Roast in a hot oven for around 30-40 minutes, turning regularly. They should be crunchy but not burnt.
At Christmas time (and any time of year, for that matter), it seems that kids can’t get enough of chocolate bark. So what’s a good, sugar-free alternative? Well, how about yogurt bark? Your favorite sugar-free yogurt, mixed with a spoonful of matcha powder (which is chock full of antioxidants), a drop of vanilla extract, and topped off with a handful of pistachios, makes for a very healthy and tasty snack. The hard part is waiting for it to freeze; we suggest keeping a small bowl out of the freezer for snacking on while you wait!
Your Secret Weapons
There’s really no limit as to the healthy, sugar-free treats you can whip up for your kids at home. The secret is to know what’s good to use to make your snacks taste irresistible. If you’re trying to steer clear of refined sugars, look for natural alternatives like honey or maple syrup, try some natural cacao powders or unsweetened cocoa, or you might even wish to look into store bought natural sweeteners or unsalted nuts, which can drastically transform the texture and tastes of your recipes. Head to the kitchen today and see what you can create!