We’re often asked about sweet tasty recipes you can cook for children which are relatively healthy in comparison to most of what you see on the supermarket shelves. As we often provide the same few responses, we thought that we’d just detail the most popular in one place for ease of access.
Many of them involve disguising other foods in a thin coat of good quality chocolate. This works time and time again in getting young taste buds accustomed to new flavours and more than often than not, they’ll start to ignore the chocolate and focus more on, for example, the fruit itself.
So if your child has started to ‘graze’ on sweeties on a daily basis and you’re worried about it, spend an hour a week making some alternative chocolaty snacks for them instead. It’s good fun, they’ll love it and they’ll be healthier as a result.
Fruit dipped in chocolate
A fondue of this sort will make kids eat more fruit than they care to realise, with a lot less chocolate on it than you might think. Easy to do and always a favourite at parties, you’re guaranteed to get through stacks of bananas, entire punnets of strawberries and buckets of apples.
If you’re on the move, then just chill them and take them with you – the chocolate will harden on the fruit and they’ll taste just as delicious.
Chocolate Fruit and Fibre Crackles
A play on the old favourite of chocolate crackles, these are filling, pack plenty of goodness and they have an unrivalled crunch and chew factor – essential characteristics for the ultimate chocolate snack. Easy to make, you only have to buy the cereal, melt the chocolate, mix them together, put them in cupcake cases and then let them cool.
The vitamins gained from the fruits are numerous and they include Vitamin A, C and iron. There are also natural, healthy fats in the fibre and nuts, if present. This is a great one to make in large quantities.
To make this mousse less fatty than most, we use natural sweeteners. To get going, you will need:
- 3 large tablespoons of honey
- 2 avocados
- 1 extremely ripe banana
- 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
- ¼ cup of quality cocoa
Blend everything together for 30 seconds, making sure you add the honey first of all. Spoon the mixture into a couple of glasses and place in the fridge. Once set, enjoy!
Healthy Nutella’esque Spread
When the kids are about to head off for school, many just want a delicious snack to get them going. In many cases this will involve a chocolate spread covered piece of toast. To make a healthier version you need:
- ½ cup maple syrup
- 2 cups of hazelnuts
- 3 tablespoons of cacao
Once the nuts have been in the oven for 10 minutes at 180C, let them cool. Once cool, blend them together fully, then add the syrup and cacao and blend again. Once all thoroughly mixed, gradually add a half cup of water to make it of optimum consistency.
General Health Benefits of Dark Chocolate
Dark chocolate actually has numerous health benefits on its own. For instance:
- BLOOD PRESSURE: Once of the most well-known health benefits regards blood pressure. Eating just a few pieces every week can help lower it, which is clearly good for the heart.
- BLOOD CLOTS: A small piece or two in your daily diet has been shown to help thin the blood, thus reducing the chance of it clotting. Good circulation in turn leads to protection from type 2 diabetes.
- BRAIN POWER: Related to the above points, the fact that it increases the amount of blood travelling to the brain means that your cognitive function actually improves.
- HAPPINESS: One of the most well-known benefits of all forms of chocolate is the happy effect it gives you. This is not mere placebo, as it has been shown that chocolate releases endorphins which make you feel just so.
- VITAMINS: It contains all sorts of vitamins and minerals, some of which like copper help to reduce your chance of getting a stroke.
So there you have it! Some healthy goodies to keep your children (or yourselves for that matter) content and healthy.