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Will Our Kids Be Sucked In By Sugar Free Sweets?

Will Our Kids Be Sucked In By Sugar Free Sweets?

Removing sugar from our kid’s lives is hard. Crazy hard. You can’t keep them in a sugar free cocoon when parties are filled with the stuff. It’s also crazy hard understanding how much sugar is where. There are 2 and half teaspoons of sugar in an iced Krispy Krème doughnut but 12 teaspoons in a glass of apple juice. What?!

Raw veggies in a lunch box might work for some but if I gave my son a crudité, he’d stick it up his sister’s nose. Teaming fruit and vegetables with protein and fat the correct way in order for them to be properly assimilated would send me over the edge every morning and quite frankly I’m normally perched on it to begin with.

So, the best way to take sugar from my kid’s lives is by good old fashioned lying. ‘What?! Of course it’s a wagon wheel darling, they’re doing special shapes for Easter!’ ‘Ooh yes these are the new snickers bars, aren’t they just amazing?’

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I appreciate that you can buy sugar free sweets and I think that’s fantastic but I don’t really understand the process of making them and I would much rather make my own from scratch. (Incidentally, I did find this blog, which explains the differences in ingredients between classic sweets and sugar free versions)

So, I made some sugar free versions of my families’ favourite sweet things and thought I would test them out.

Refined Sugar Free Wagon Wheels

I chose this recipe from the I Quit Sugar recipe book. In my imaginary world, I lead my life according to this book and I float around bare feet all virtuous and glowing with really clever kids called Apple and Strawberry. In reality, however, I panic buy in supermarkets because I have yet again forgotten to do my meal plan and in between working from home, doing up a refurb, having two kids, doing meals, laundry and cleaning, I just sometimes need things in packets that I can throw at the children.

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So as expected I had to make each element of the not so wagon wheel from scratch. The base is a sugar free baked cookie dough recipe that I thought would be disgusting but it actually turned out to be everyone’s favourite part. It’s made with 150g unsalted butter, 2 tablespoons rice malt syrup, 1.5 cups of flour. (The recipe called for ¾ cup of buckwheat flour and ¾ cup of gluten free plain flour but I didn’t want to go too crazy), ½ cup of desiccated coconut and a pinch of sea salt. This was simple. I mixed it up and baked it for 20 mins. Then let it cool.

Then I spread this with homemade refined sugar free strawberry chia jam which I took from the Deliciously Ella book because the recipe looked nicer. Then the best bit which I thought would not in a million years work, but it did and it was amazing! Homemade refined sugar free marshmallow made with 1.5 tablespoons gelatin powder, ¼ cup of rice malt syrup and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract.

I mixed the gelatin into a cup of cold water until it dissolved. Then in a pan I combined the rice malt syrup with the vanilla and salt and stirred until it boiled. I let it simmer for 8 minutes then turned off the heat and added the gelatin which wobbled slightly at this stage. Then I blitzed the whole lot in a processor. It was supposed to go creamy but it actually didn’t so I didn’t hold much hope. However I poured it over the biscuit and jam and popped it into the fridge and it set absolutely perfectly and was exactly like marshmallow. That too was the kid’s favourite part. Once set, I added melted dark chocolate (85%) let that set and then tried to cut it in circles with biscuit cutters. That just cracked everything and looked a real mess so I made squares instead and they looked and tasted so good. I was pleasantly surprised but, were the kids?! Well, my son took his plate into the lounge and then brought it straight back. He had an issue with the darkness of the chocolate and the jam he said. So I had to scrape those bits off and give him the marshmallow and biscuit. Win. Even the boyfriend liked them but I didn’t see him rushing back for a second?

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Refined sugar free Snickers!

Again I took this recipe from the I Quit Sugar recipe book. ‘Snickery Caramel Bars’ and they were, in my sons words ‘awesome’! Yay, result! Even my daughter liked these and she is particularly persnickety when it comes to her food.

The nougat base consisted of ½ cup of coconut cream, 1 tablespoon of rice malt syrup, a pinch of sea salt, 1 teaspoon of vanilla powder, 1/3 cup of coconut flour (again, I just used plain) and ½ cup of smooth peanut butter. All mixed together then pushed into a loaf tin and frozen for at least 2 hours. I froze mine for 2 days and it worked just fine. I covered this with gooey caramel sauce which was just insane. I heated ¼ cup of rice malt syrup in a pan until it bubbled, cooked it for 13 minutes, yes 13, added 100g butter and a pinch of salt, stirred, removed from the heat and then added ¼ cup of coconut cream and stirred until it was combined. It was delicious. This was then frozen for 2 hours. Gosh, seriously it was lush. If I can make this taste this good without sugar then it opens up all sorts of recipes that I can use it for.

Once the gooey caramel sauce was poured over the nougat, I sprinkled it with roasted peanuts and then sliced into 20 pieces and put them back in the freezer before taking them out and dipping them individually into melted dark chocolate (85%). Super lush and a big high five from each family member.

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So the end result, as expected is that yes I can give my kids treats without the dreaded white stuff, though they are fiddly to make and you need strange ingredients like rice malt syrup to hand. That said, I bought a stash from Whole Foods so now have plenty of jars at the ready. So, I guess this means that I now have to get up even earlier in order to prepare these sweet gems. They may not be a crudité but they are just little steps towards us going sugar free and I for one am very excited by this.

Featured photo credit: DollarPhotoClub via dollarphotoclub.com

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Kelly Coleman

CEO of Dawn and Shawn Digital Ltd

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Last Updated on December 13, 2018

12 Practical Tips To Stay Fit For Christmas

12 Practical Tips To Stay Fit For Christmas

Christmas is approaching fast, and lots of people not only tend to ruin their usual diets, but they also gain a few extra pounds. Based on studies, the majority of people tend to gain additional weight during the holiday season that starts at the Thanksgiving Day and ends with the New Year celebrations. Excessive eating is claimed to be the main cause for the additional weight gain, but it is also due to lack of physical activity and exercise.

A lot of individuals out there tend to set aside their fitness routines during the holidays since they believe that they do not have enough time to perform their workouts. And because they feel guilty after the holiday season, most of the gyms and fitness centers are packed with fresh members. Always bear in mind that you can still enjoy the holidays and stay fit at the same time. If you want to stay fit during the holiday season, especially during Christmas and the New Year’s Eve, here are some useful tips that might help you:

1. Eat Before Heading Out

First, it is best that you eat something before heading out to visits, trips or family dinners. By doing so, you will no longer be tempted to eat a lot or overindulge yourself since you have already eaten. Skipping on meals is not a good idea either, because you will only be forced to eat more later.

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2. Select The Treats

Make sure to select the treats that you eat in a wise manner. You should choose something that you can only enjoy during the holiday season and not something that is readily available all the time.

3. Avoid Skipping Meals

Don’t skip meals, especially breakfast! Even though it can be tempting to skip on certain meals, believing that it will make up for the treats you consumed in the previous day, don’t do it because it will only lead to counterproductive results.

4. Drink With Moderation

It is best to regulate your drinking since alcohol, coke or other juices will only add more calories to the ones you already eaten!

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5. Be Active

You should still perform your fitness routine whenever possible and if you can’t do that, simply walk more, park your car some distance away from the store or just use the stairs!

6. Get Out Of The House

Make the holidays a family affair and plan outdoor activities where everyone is involved. Even a snowball fight in the backyard will burn a lot of calories and will keep the children entertained.

7. Don’t Skip Your Strength Workouts

Always remember to perform your strength training in order to maintain that muscle mass you worked hard to get. You might be tempted to use lightweights and just do some cardio, but you can burn just as many calories by lifting weights. And with all of those extra stakes you had on the holiday meals, you might even gain some extra muscle. And this is much better than gaining some extra fat.

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8. Set Realistic Goals

You should set realistic exercise objectives. Aim for at least half an hour per day and you will be very happy when you will achieve that. If you plan one hour or more and not achieve it, you will only end up disappointed.

9. Enjoy Yourself

Also make sure to set realistic diet plans! Trying to restrain yourself totally from some foods will only make you eat more. Feel free to enjoy the treats that you really love, but in small portions.

10. Drink A Lot Of Water

This can satiate your appetite as well as keep you hydrated at all times. And it will also prevent a possible hangover if you overdo it with alcohol.

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11. Eat Less And More Often

Distribute your meals evenly throughout the day, and do not eat everything at once.  Instead of having 2 enormous meals, have 5 small ones.  Eat your dinner earlier and have a nice walk before going to bed.

12. Prioritize Your Workouts

Try to do them early in the morning while everyone else is still sleeping. This way you will also avoid remarks like “Oh, come on! It’s Christmas…”

So there you go! Twelve simple tips that will help you avoid gaining weight during the winter holidays, but will also allow you to enjoy yourself and have a great time with your loved ones.

Happy Holidays everyone!

Featured photo credit: rawpixel via unsplash.com

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