Healthy Kids and Sweet Treats

We’ve all heard the warnings: sugar is bad for kids, limit the sweets, buy healthy snacks……

But let’s face it – kids love sweets.

And although I generally buy healthy snacks, I also tend to indulge their sweet tooth from time to time.

So now I ask – are all sweets created equal? The answer is NO.

Gummy Candies vs Ice Cream

Given a choice between gummy candies (or fruit snacks) and ice cream -the ice cream is the clear winner. Granted, it has bad stuff like fat and sugar but it also has protein from milk and possibly nuts.

The gummy candy usually translates to all sugar and sticks to teeth (read: empty calories and cavities).

Cakes, Cookies, and Donuts

Cakes, cookies, and donuts vary depending on the recipe. These can contain trans fats and tons of calories. But certain brands are fine – you just need to read the ingredient label or make them yourself. You know, in your spare time. 😉 Sometimes, you can even sneak some oatmeal or bran into the recipe.

The bottom line: once you decide to offer up a sweet treat, choose the lesser evil (the more nutritious option).

Why not just let them enjoy, without worrying about nutrition?

Sometimes I do that, but usually if they are having a treat after a meal. This way, they have some good food in their bellies already.

If they come home from school starving, and in a moment of weakness, I give in to their pleas – then I prefer that they eat something with a little nutritional value like ice cream, or a (previously approved by me) muffin or cookie.

I know all of you healthy moms out there are screaming right now but my kids are very persistent. I find that this middle of the road approach works for me so I wanted to share it with you, since my children are probably not the only kids that love sugar!

Types of Chocolate – Our Favorite Sweet Treat

Chocolate comes from the seed of the Theobroma cacao tree that grows in Mexico, South America, and Central America. Mankind has been eating various forms of this treat for thousands of years. The beans from the cacao tree are fermented to help rid them of their very bitter taste and then they are roasted. Once roasted, the shells are removed and the part left is called cacao nibs.

To make chocolate, the nibs are ground and then liquefied. The resulting product is called chocolate liquor. This liquor can be further separated into cocoa butter and cocoa solids. The various types of chocolate available today are made from varying proportions of liquor, cocoa butter, and cocoa solids. Milk and sugar along with other flavorings are also added.

Baking chocolate has a strong bitter taste. It is made from the liquor which is added to a fat so it solidifies into a block form. This is the type used to bake cookies, cakes, and brownies. The semi-sweet variety is also used in cooking and is made from cacao, fat, and a very low amount of sugar. Dark Chocolate is made from cacao, fat, and sugar, while milk chocolate is made from cacao, fat, sugar, and milk. White chocolate is made with cocoa butter, nutmeg, and powdered sugar. It contains no cocoa solids.

Many types of candies and desserts are made from this popular sweet food. Ingredients such as peanuts, caramel, and fruit are often added to the mix in order to create tasty little treats. These are often sold in gift boxes or gourmet gift baskets. They are popular to give as gifts on holidays like Valentine’s Day and anniversaries.

These sweets are some of the first that we are introduced to as kids so most of us develop a life long love of this confection. That is why they make a perfect gift, even for people that are difficult to shop for. Hardly anyone would not like a nice box of delectable sweet treats.

It is easy to find sweets like candy bars at any type of store but to find true gourmet candy, you have to really look around. In fact, candy of high quality can be difficult to find. The best place to shop for them is over the internet where the selection is nearly limitless.

There are many types of chocolate and all kinds of candies and treats that can be made from them that range from the very sweet to the strong and bitter. You will find a variety that few other foods are able to deliver and that’s why so many people are in love with this treat.

Healthy Sweet Treats

When people think of healthy eating, immediately the idea of sweet treats fades into a one-time guilty pleasure, but it doesn’t have to fade away completely. While refined sugar is not the best for anybody, there are alternatives that can satisfy that sweet tooth while helping you reach your weight loss goals.

Fruit

Fruit is always a good quick fix for a sugar craving. Biting into an apple can ease that sugar craving while providing ample amounts of vitamin A. One medium size apple contains only 95 calories and 4 grams of fiber. If apples aren’t your favorite, try frozen grapes. Grapes are another great bite-size treat that also prove key vitamins. One cup of grapes has over 100 calories and 1 gram of fiber.

Blending fruits like pineapple, bananas and mangoes with a little bit of yogurt can make a delicious smoothie that is nutritious and tasty. If you need more portable treats, add some dried fruits to your bag and you have a sweet treat at your fingertips all the time. However, remember that dried fruits have more sugar and are less filling per ounce than their fresh counterparts.

Frozen Yogurt

Frozen yogurt can quickly satisfy that sweet tooth, and is pleasant and refreshing year round. It has been shown that yogurt has natural cultures that aid in digestion and help regulate the digestive track. It also adds a healthy boost of calcium to your diet. The added bonus with frozen yogurt is the vast array of flavors you can get. It isn’t just vanilla anymore, so you can indulge in other sweet flavors, like chocolate and strawberry, and many frozen yogurt shops include fresh fruit among the available mix-ins. With significantly fewer calories than ice cream, this is a healthy dessert which enhances your weight loss plan while easing that sweet tooth.

Greek Yogurt

Greek yogurt has come a long way too. Different varieties of Greek yogurt are available for healthy diets. With flavors like caramel, honey and chocolate, Greek yogurt can satisfy any sugar craving while providing the same benefits as frozen yogurt.

No matter your preference, sugar doesn’t have to be completely omitted from a healthy diet. Honey and blue agave are also great natural substitutes for refined sugar. If you have a sweet tooth, don’t worry – you can have your sweets and lose weight too. With a proper diet and exercise regiment, you can reach your weight loss goals; however, a good natural weight loss supplement can assist a solid diet and exercise program, especially a natural appetite suppressant that can help curb those sugary cravings.