The sight of sweet can bring a smile in a child’s face, and just a thought, can make your mouth water. Many parents use sweets to reward good behaviour and for special occasions. The restricted use, kept the blood sugar level of the child in check. Over the years, however, its intake has increased considerably among children, leading to higher rate of childhood obesity.
Sugar in is our daily diet. It is even present in savoury substances like ketchup and sauces. A tablespoon of ketchup has about four grams of sugar (one teaspoon), and a can of soft drink contains up to 40 grams (10 teaspoons).
Despite these facts, some parents still succumb to their child’s demand.
What can a parent do to resist such a call, especially when, simple sugars like fructose, maltose, sucrose and high fructose corn syrups, and partially metabolized sugar alcohols such as sorbitol, mannitol, xylitol and maltitol, are added to sweeten foods. So, how do you fulfil your child’s craving?
The answer - homemade treats!
Making sweets at home will put your mind at ease. However, before you become the next Willy Wonka, here are some healthy tips that to keep in mind:
- Use seasonal fruits to sweeten your deserts and cakes.
- Dried fruits like dates, figs, dried apricots can provide natural sweetness and volume to your dish.
- Try grilling fruits to bring out the natural sweetness and makes them sweeter.
- Jaggery adds a nutrition punch to your sweet if used in limit to substitute sugar. Experiment with different types and colours of jaggery to get the desired end result.
- Use natural colours from turmeric, saffron, beets and flowers to colour your drinks and sweet treats.
Simple recipe ideas for homemade sweets and treats:
- Popsicles and sorbets: You can freeze freshly squeezed orange juice, lemonade, watermelon juice or mango juice in sticks for a summer afternoon relief. You can also make a frozen concoction of coconut meat and coconut water. If you have an ice cream churner, you can even make a sorbet.
- Creamy ice-creams: Replace at least half the cream with protein rich thick curds in your ice creams to jazz up the nutritional value of your ice cream. By doing so, you are cutting down on the fat content and increasing the probiotics and protein content. Add a cup and half of any fruit puree to half a cup of thick curds and mix well. Add half a cup of condensed milk to this mixture. Beat half a cup of cream till it forms soft peaks. Fold in the fruit, curd and condensed milk mixture, and then freeze to make a yummy creamy ice cream. Ensure that all ingredients are super cold while making the ice-cream.
- Chikkis and Brittles: Instead of white sugar and high fructose corn syrup, use jaggery to make the chikki of your choice. You can try using hazelnuts and macadamia nuts to give the traditional Indian chikki an international twist.
- Milkshakes: Add dates, figs to milkshakes to give flavour and sweetness.
- Grill fruits: Cut up some ripe bananas and grill them till they caramelize. You can add a spoon of jaggery to increase the caramelization. Use Kerala bananas. They are firmer and grill better.