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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

More by this author

Kelly Coleman

CEO of Dawn and Shawn Digital Ltd

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Last Updated on September 18, 2020

7 Simple Rules to Live by to Get in Shape in Two Weeks

7 Simple Rules to Live by to Get in Shape in Two Weeks

Learning how to get in shape and set goals is important if you’re looking to live a healthier lifestyle and get closer to your goal weight. While this does require changes to your daily routine, you’ll find that you are able to look and feel better in only two weeks.

Over the years, I’ve learned a lot about what it takes to get in shape. Although anyone can cover the basics (eat right and exercise), there are some things that I could only learn through trial and error. Let’s cover some of the most important points for how to get in shape in two weeks.

1. Exercise Daily

It is far easier to make exercise a habit if it is a daily one. If you aren’t exercising at all, I recommend starting by exercising a half hour every day. When you only exercise a couple times per week, it is much easier to turn one day off into three days off, a week off, or a month off.

If you are already used to exercising, switching to three or four times a week to fit your schedule may be preferable, but it is a lot harder to maintain a workout program you don’t do every day.

Be careful to not repeat the same exercise routine each day. If you do an intense ab workout one day, try switching it up to general cardio the next. You can also squeeze in a day of light walking to break up the intensity.

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If you’re a morning person, check out these morning exercises that will start your day off right.

2. Duration Doesn’t Substitute for Intensity

Once you get into the habit of regular exercise, where do you go if you still aren’t reaching your goals? Most people will solve the problem by exercising for longer periods of time, turning forty-minute workouts into two hour stretches. Not only does this drain your time, but it doesn’t work particularly well.

One study shows that “exercising for a whole hour instead of a half does not provide any additional loss in either body weight or fat”[1].

This is great news for both your schedule and your levels of motivation. You’ll likely find it much easier to exercise for 30 minutes a day instead of an hour. In those 30 minutes, do your best to up the intensity to your appropriate edge to get the most out of the time.

3. Acknowledge Your Limits

Many people get frustrated when they plateau in their weight loss or muscle gaining goals as they’re learning how to get in shape. Everyone has an equilibrium and genetic set point where their body wants to remain. This doesn’t mean that you can’t achieve your fitness goals, but don’t be too hard on yourself if you are struggling to lose weight or put on muscle.

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Acknowledging a set point doesn’t mean giving up, but it does mean realizing the obstacles you face.

Expect to hit a plateau in your own fitness results[2]. When you expect a plateau, you can manage around it so you can continue your progress at a more realistic rate. When expectations meet reality, you can avoid dietary crashes.

4. Eat Healthy, Not Just Food That Looks Healthy

Know what you eat. Don’t fuss over minutia like whether you’re getting enough Omega 3’s or tryptophan, but be aware of the big things. Look at the foods you eat regularly and figure out whether they are healthy or not. Don’t get fooled by the deceptively healthy snacks just pretending to be good for you.

The basic nutritional advice includes:

  • Eat unprocessed foods
  • Eat more veggies
  • Use meat as a side dish, not a main course
  • Eat whole grains, not refined grains[3]

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Eat whole grains when you want to learn how to get in shape.

    5. Watch Out for Travel

    Don’t let a four-day holiday interfere with your attempts when you’re learning how to get in shape. I don’t mean that you need to follow your diet and exercise plan without any excursion, but when you are in the first few weeks, still forming habits, be careful that a week long break doesn’t terminate your progress.

    This is also true of schedule changes that leave you suddenly busy or make it difficult to exercise. Have a backup plan so you can be consistent, at least for the first month when you are forming habits.

    If travel is on your schedule and can’t be avoided, make an exercise plan before you go[4], and make sure to pack exercise clothes and an exercise mat as motivation to keep you on track.

    6. Start Slow

    Ever start an exercise plan by running ten miles and then puking your guts out? Maybe you aren’t that extreme, but burnout is common early on when learning how to get in shape. You have a lifetime to be healthy, so don’t try to go from couch potato to athletic superstar in a week.

    If you are starting a running regime, for example, run less than you can to start. Starting strength training? Work with less weight than you could theoretically lift. Increasing intensity and pushing yourself can come later when your body becomes comfortable with regular exercise.

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    7. Be Careful When Choosing a Workout Partner

    Should you have a workout partner? That depends. Workout partners can help you stay motivated and make exercising more fun. But they can also stop you from reaching your goals.

    My suggestion would be to have a workout partner, but when you start to plateau (either in physical ability, weight loss/gain, or overall health) and you haven’t reached your goals, consider mixing things up a bit.

    If you plateau, you may need to make changes to continue improving. In this case it’s important to talk to your workout partner about the changes you want to make, and if they don’t seem motivated to continue, offer a thirty day break where you both try different activities.

    I notice that guys working out together tend to match strength after a brief adjustment phase. Even if both are trying to improve, something seems to stall improvement once they reach a certain point. I found that I was able to lift as much as 30-50% more after taking a short break from my regular workout partner.

    Final Thoughts

    Learning how to get in shape in as little as two weeks sounds daunting, but if you’re motivated and have the time and energy to devote to it, it’s certainly possible.

    Find an exercise routine that works for you, eat healthy, drink lots of water, and watch as the transformation begins.

    More Tips on Getting in Shape

    Featured photo credit: Alexander Redl via unsplash.com

    Reference

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