It never fails!
Every time my 4 year old and I walk into the bulk food store, Sienna makes a beeline for the section with rainbow-filled bins of glowing gummy worms and gummy bears. Even the healthiest of bulk food stores has candy. And while it may be “sugar-free” and “organic”, it is still candy.
Sienna’s favourite: the gummies. Ugh.
The odd time I’ll begrudgingly toss some in a baggie, and cringe as she eats them. My sanity saver is that picky eating is in our past - I know she’s a much better eater and gets her nutrition at home.
Well, instead of cringing, I decided to make my own homemade healthy gummies that actually had some nutrition to offer. For those parents with fussier eaters who love their sweets, this recipe is going to be a favourite - for you and them!
Your ‘picky eaters’ can get their sweet fix while we improve their eating.
These Homemade Healthy Gummies are SOOOO much better than the store bought ones, because:
- They are made with organic, nutrient-dense and vitamin-packed berries (versus just fruit juice)
- They only have a bit of sweetener from quality honey (versus simple processed sugar)
- They are also a source of important amino acids (versus just a sugar hit)
Protein in gummies? That’s right! The amino acids come from something called Gelatin.
What is Gelatin?
Gelatin is a translucent, colorless, and flavorless food (thank goodness!) derived from collagen, which we find in animal parts. The parts that we no longer consume such as skin, tendons, and other gelatinous cuts of meat. It is commonly used as a gelling agent in food and other products and give gummies their gumminess.
If you’ve had Jell-O, you’ve had gelatine or gelatin. But the quality of the source is the differentiator (i.e. which animals they are getting the collagen/gelatin from).
Gelatin provides the amino acids glycine and proline that are used in the production of collagen.
Why should we add gelatin to our family’s diet?
Gelatin isn’t just beneficial for our little ones. We (moms and dads) ALSO benefit big time from the amino acid make-up of this food. Yes, that means you can eat those gummies too!
Four reasons to try gelatin:
- BEAUTY benefits: Collagen supports skin, hair and nail growth because it is one of the primary structural elements of skin. And mamas, you’re going to love this…it helps strengthen and tighten lose skin (goodbye wrinkles and belly after baby!)
- SLEEP benefits: Glycine can decrease anxiety, promote mental calmness, and improve sleep quality.
- DIGESTIVE benefits: Glycine coats and heals the stomach which can help alleviate food allergies, etc. It also helps improve the absorption of other minerals.
- DIETARY benefits: Those with a meat and egg-heavy diet (even from quality sources) tend to have high amounts of homocysteine, which we can balance out with the glycine (the predominant amino acid in gelatin).
Muscle meats and eggs are high in methionine, an amino acid that raises homocysteine levels in the blood…. We don’t want high homocysteine in our blood because homocysteine is a significant risk factor for serious diseases like heart disease, stroke, mental illness, and fractures. - Source
The brand of gelatin we use is Great Lakes, which comes from grass-fed animals. If you’re in Canada click here. In the US or elsewhere, click here. You’ll want the Gelatin in whole form (orange bottle) for the homemade gummy recipe.
Ok, let’s put that gelatin to use and make some homemade healthy gummies!
Healthy Raspberry Gummies
Leave those sugary candies at the bulk store and make yourself a batch of these fruit and gelatin-based gummies!
- ¾ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1 cup frozen organic raspberries
- 2 tablespoons honey (optional)
- ¼ cup grass-fed gelatin (agar-agar for vegetarians/vegans)
Blend lemon juice, honey and raspberries on high.
Pour raspberry mixture into saucepan and turn heat on low.
Add the gelatin and whisk together for 5-10 minutes. Once thin and well mixed remove from heat.
Pour into mini ice cube trays, silicone molds or a small flat baking dish (9x9).
Put in the refrigerator for about 1 hour (or more) until no longer soft inside.
If you used a larger dish (vs. mini molds), cut into bite-size squares.