Every couple of weeks, I give my kids at school a “Health Challenge”. Last Tuesday, I presented Health Challenge #5: Limit your “sweet treats” to one per day. After presenting the “Did you know…” facts about added sugars in our food, we got on the topic of what is actually in the foods we eat. As an example, I grabbed a “fruit snack” from the snack cart. (Don’t even get me started on fruit snacks…) Anyway, it provided a great learning opportunity, as the kids realized that the first two ingredients were forms of sugar. They were blown away by the deceptiveness of food manufacturers.
When they questioned gelatin on the ingredient label, I couldn’t resist the opportunity to let them google that little tidbit of information!! So, out came the iPads. And shortly after, came the “That’s disgusting!” comments. Not going to lie, I loved it!!
My goal really wasn’t to gross them out. I just wanted them to develop an awareness of the ingredients they are putting into their bodies. Not sure how many fruit snacks will be sold from this point on. This may have an economic impact on our end of year field trip.
But hopefully, it will also have a long term impact on our health care costs. I am willing to take the risk.
So now, I present “Sea Salt Caramels”, boasting only six nutrient rich ingredients:
dates: high in fiber, potassium, magnesium, vitamin B6, iron and calcium
nut butter: healthy fats, protein, magnesium, and vitamin B6
cacao powder: dietary fiber, iron, calcium, theobromine, anandamide
virgin coconut oil: antioxidants
raw agave nectar: calcium, dietary fiber
sea salt: trace minerals
Now compare that to the ingredients you would find in a typical caramel recipe: white sugar, brown sugar, corn syrup, evaporated milk, whipping cream, butter….you get the idea. Not a whole lot of nutrition there!
But these? Your body will love you for feeding it these!
Chocolate Covered Sea Salt “Caramels”
12 big, plump, juicy dates (make sure pits are removed or this will be a bad day for your processor)
2 T. of nut butter
6 T. coconut oil (melted)
6 T. cacao powder
3 T. liquid sweetener (or to taste)
Place dates in processor and process until a sticky mess forms. Add nut butter. Process until blended. Put in bowl and place in fridge. Make chocolate by mixing coconut oil (melted), cacao powder, and liquid sweetener together. Remove “caramel” mixture from fridge, and form little bite size balls. Or big bite size balls…your call. Place in fridge again to harden up. Then, dunk in chocolate mixture, place on parchment lined cookie sheet, and sprinkle with sea salt. Keep these in the fridge!
****If you want to simplify your life, melt about 1/2 c. of chocolate chips (I use Enjoy Life brand) with a teaspoon of coconut oil instead of making your own chocolate. This is less melty than the other option.
Enjoy! And now go ahead, google gelatin.