Healthy & Healing Snacks for Kids!
I'm in love with these little healthy fruit jellies!
Since I've had a blanket ban on sugar in our household (fruit cordial, fizzy drinks, sweets and candies, children's breakfast cereals and low-quality chocolate), the kids feel a bit grumpy.
I know all their friends at school think I'm a bit of tyrant - but I don't care! I'm not giving in to peer pressure - not at the age of thirty-something!
Recently, my old school friend started a Facebook page called Archie's Allergies. Her son has severe multiple allergies and she posts the 'safe' recipes she cooks for her family. She has to be so careful what she gives to her children, but she does a great job of incorporating healthy and fun foods into their diet.
Her post for Gut Healing Jellies got me inspired. I'm a bit obsessed at the moment with lots of Australian cooks (my friend is now living in Australia). They seem to be way ahead of us here in the UK when it comes to eating and health. My favourites are I Quit Sugar, The Merrymaker Sisters, Alexx Stuart and Shannon's Kitchen (if you are easily offended - don't take a look here - Shannon is very funny, but very sweary!).
I'd read about gelatin and it's healing properties, so I was keen to give these lovely little jellies a go.
Not only is gelatin good for healing the gut, but it is also used as an anti-aging product as it supports age-related cartilage damage, and collagen loss. I've been suffering with arthritis in my hands, so I'm keen to try anything that helps relieve the pain a little without having to fill up on ibuprofen.
As well as making you feel young, gelatin is meant to make you look young and beautiful with all that youth-giving collagen. It has also been found to help you sleep with the glycine found in gelatin. I know me and Mr Mean were fast asleep on the sofa last night after a Smoothy Jelly (recipe to follow shortly...), but that could be just sheer exhaustion!
Now not all gelatin is created equal. I've made many fine panna cottas using just the bog-startdard sheet stuff from the supermarket, but if you like to know exactly where your gelatin comes from - Great Lakes seems to be the one everyone favours. I ordered the Great Lakes Beef Gelatin from Amazon. The cows are grass-fed.
Anyway, enough about gelatin - what about these yummy little jelly snacks? After reading the Archie's Allergies post, I thought, what a great idea! Now that the kids aren't allowed sweets, these little jellies would make a great treat. They would feel they were having some sweeties, whereas I would know they were having a lovely healthy snack! Winner!
When it comes to making these lovely jellies, I find it's best to use around 100ml-150ml of liquid to 4 sheets of gelatin or 1 tablespoon of powdered gelatin. Prepare the sheets by soaking them in cold water for five minutes. I've found the best way to prepare the powdered gelatin is to get a small saucepan, add 1 tablespoon of cold water, then add 1 tablespoon of gelatin powder. Let it start to clump for 5 minutes until you can't see any powder (it just looks a bit jelly-like).
These recipes use cold ingredients, so the gelatin needs gently heating to melt into a liquid. The sheet gelatin can squeezed and put directly in a small pan with a small amount of liquid. It will only take seconds for the gelatin to melt and you can add it to your cold liquid. With the powdered gelatin, as I've already started preparing it in a small pan - just place it on the heat until it turns into a liquid (again, only seconds - do not overheat), then add to your cold liquid.
Here's my three favourite healthy jelly recipes. I've used rice syrup to sweeten the jellies, but you could use honey or maple syrup. They are quite nice with a sour tang - but taste before you add the gelatin and adjust the sweetness to taste. I had some little silicon chocolate moulds that I'd never used at the back of the cupboard - which are perfect for these jellies!