Nature’s Sour Skittles & Caramels

http://youtu.be/9__NBUDHoyk
Kids love sweet foods! Obviously this is not ground-breaking news of any kind. But what is ground-breaking is that kids can enjoy sweet treats in a healthy way.

Their first taste of sweet begins in utero with amniotic fluid, which contains fructose, glucose, fatty acids and amino acids. As a result babies are born with a preference for the sweet taste of mother’s milk. This initial stage of nurturing creates a safe and comforting feeling that is associated with the sweet flavour. This soothing feeling from sweet foods lives with us into our adult years. You might find yourself digging through your cupboards for a cookie or stopping off at a bakery for a cupcake after a frustrating day. We often reach for sweet treats when we want to reward our efforts, or find comfort. The sweetness triggers your pleasure induced brain signals and offers, reassurance, comfort and support. This sounds all so sweet until that one comforting chocolate chip cookie turns into 6 guilt ridden ones. When eating sweets moderation is the key but often it proves to be the challenge as emotional responses take over. Be mindful of this when reaching for your sweet pleasures and try to live by the 80/20 rule.

I see the innate love for sweet foods in my four year old. He’s been introduced to a mixture of flavours and textures within a wide variety of healthy foods since he was born, but he always has a desire to have a sweet treat.

I don’t believe in deprivation, but I do believe in finding the healthiest version of a treat where possible. I often walk through grocery stores and have a hard time digesting the gross abundance of man-made processed treats with brain-numbing artificial colours and flavours, and nutrient-robbing sugar.  These energy-stripped confectionaries have a great impact on a child’s behavior, their ability to communicate, their immune system and their development, but as a society we have made it an acceptable part of childhood.

I have seen tremendous changes in children when their parents reduce these treats and replace them with healthier alternatives. One of the main reasons for this is the body needs to use valuable nutrients to help metabolize these ingredients. Not only does this leave a child’s body at a deficit, but it also creates a sugar spiraling cycle of wanting more due to crashing blood sugar levels. One of the worst parts of this addiction is many children become accustomed to a wanting an extreme flavour that only fake ingredients can offer. Watermelon candy doesn’t taste like real watermelon for example. It’s no wonder many kids won’t touch broccoli or spinach.

So, how do I give my son sweet and sour treats without the plethora of toxic ingredients? I always keep Golden Berries and Medjool Dates stocked in my fridge.

Golden berries are highly addictive in my opinion. They are sweet, sour and tart, which makes them a great substitute for a child who likes sour candies. These are nature’s equivalent of sour skittles. They have a texture like a cranberry and can be added to recipes, smoothies, salads or enjoyed on their own. They offer a mega amount of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory, anti-viral, anti-parasitic and anti-histamine benefits. Unlike other berries, golden berries offer a good source of protein. Some brands offer dark chocolate covered golden berries. I am definitely a buyer.

Medjool dates are naturally sweet. I would describe them as having a caramel like flavour. There are tons of easy ways to incorporate dates into your baking and cooking or eat them raw. You can make a paste by blending them, or chop them up for sweet or savory applications, throw them in a blender with your smoothie or tuck a teaspoon of coconut oil in one before exercise for an easy to digest carb. They offer a great variety of nutrients that are important for healthy growing kids; minerals like calcium, magnesium, manganese, zinc, copper, iron, selenium and potassium, vitamins B5 and B6 and fibre. They are an alkaline-rich fruit, and instead of sending your kids blood glucose on a roller coaster, they help to stabilize.

Nutrition Side Note:

-Remember that portion control still applies here. A couple of dates and a small handful of golden berries go a long nutritional way

The Polka Dot Thought…Medjool Dates & Golden Berries

(Tell your kids this info before or after they try this snack)

Dates blast you full of energy

-Golden berries help you to concentrate so you can finish your homework faster and play sooner!

 Want to WIN a selection of NATURAL DELIGHTS MEDJOOL DATES? 

 Leave a comment below and let us know what you do with dates.

ENTER TO WIN THESE 4 VARIETIES

ENTER TO WIN THESE 4 VARIETIES

The winner will receive a sample box of four 8oz Natural Delights Medjool Date tubs: organic, conventional, coconut and almond rolls.  Natural Delights Medjool Dates are fresh—not dried—and are available in the produce department in both regular and organic packages as well as in coconut, pistachio and almond rolls.  naturaldelights.ca

Contest closes Friday April 18th 6p.m. One winner will be chosen at random. Contest open to Canadian residents.

Reference:

Bakalar, Nicholas. Nature 486,S4–S5 (June, 2012) Nature. International Weekly Journal of Science Sensory Science: Partners in Flavour. http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v486/n7403_supp/full/486S4a.html

  1. Robyn Atkinson says:

    For a sweet treat I replace the date seed with a teaspoon of coconut oil and enjoy. Yumm!

  2. Kerri Robinson says:

    Use this brand a lot in gluten free, dairy free cookies. Great natural sweetener.

  3. Nicole says:

    I love to eat dates whole or as a sweetener in baking or smoothies.

  4. Alexandra Misiak says:

    I eat dates when completing long runs when I’m marathon training- as you said they blast you full of energy

  5. Always require a healthy snack with you to function or when you’re out.
    Including snacks as well as just one little bit of food,
    because after the week whenever you review your food
    diary, you may well be shocked at simply how much food you consumed.
    Some people think the answer then is to starve themselves as bikini
    season approaches, but your body is also developed to store much more calories as we avoid eating enough.

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