Kids’ Treats, Sweet Tips to Make them Healthier

Kids Treats, sweet tips to make them healthier

This article was originally published on PyureOrganic.com, and modified as a guest post here on Loreeebee…

Kids are back in school, and while the school years might look a little different, one thing that hasn’t changed is the snacks they love. Whether your kids are heading to the classroom or learning their lessons from home, they’re going to want something to eat at the end of the day. 

Kids love sugar, but unfortunately, sugar doesn’t always love them back. Sugar is a multi-billion-dollar industry, but it’s not the healthiest ingredient for kids or adults. Sugar intake contributes to diabetes, obesity, heart disease, cancer, and a host of other problems for kids later in life. 

Luckily, Stevia is a great alternative to sugar. Stevia is a plant that can be made into a fine powder that is 350 times as sweet as sugar but contains none of the negative side effects that sugar does. 

The best part? Stevia has a very low glycemic index – meaning your kid won’t get that spike in blood sugar that can cause them to act wild and then crash. 

Is Stevia Safe for kids? 

The short answer: absolutely – if you choose the right product!

Stevia can actually be a better choice for your kids, especially if you’re using it instead of processed sugar. It matters, however, which stevia brand you choose. Not all Stevia is created equal! 

Stevia is a highly sustainable plant that is part of the sunflower family. It’s native to South America, but there are more than 250 species of stevia worldwide. Pyure Organic is the number one organic Stevia brand in the country, and it’s easy to see why. We focus relentlessly on quality, using a single-source, high-quality species and only using the very sweetest part of the Stevia leaf. We avoid chemicals, additives, and any artificial processes that would make Stevia something you’d want to avoid. We’re also certified organic and non-GMO project verified. 

Pyure Organic’s mission from Day 1 has been to make stevia taste great. That’s good news for parents; kids won’t even know the difference when you swap stevia into their favorite after-school treats.

How to Swap Sugar for Stevia in your Recipes

Swapping sugar for Stevia in your kids’ treats depends partly on the recipe, and partly on the Pyure product that you’re using. Pyure products are a great substitute for tabletop sweeteners, liquids, extracts, and bulk Stevia blends. Substitute Pyure Organic Sweeteners for all or part of the sugar your recipes call for using the easy conversion chart below:

easy conversion chart

For baking pros, note that in some instances you may need to adjust your recipe to account for the loss of mass associated with the reduction of sugar.

Great Ideas for Kids’ Treats

Every kid has a sweet tooth, as do many adults. Here are some recipes for tasty treats you can make using Stevia.  They won’t notice the difference.

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

This recipe is keto-friendly and only takes about 15 minutes to put together! Check out Pyure Organic’s tasty peanut butter chocolate chip cookies here

Tropical Splash Popsicles

Even if summer is over, your kids will love one of these refreshing snacks at the end of a long school day of concentrating and learning. Check out this fruit-filled recipe here

Pumpkin Spice Bars

Perfect for autumn, or any other time, these bars are guilt-free, with none of the processed, artificial flavoring found in many coffee chains’ pumpkin-spiced lattes. The frosting is a bonus! Get the recipe here.

Vanilla Cupcakes with Vanilla Whipped Cream

If kids are allowed to bring birthday treats to school, these cupcakes are a great option! They’re sugar-free, using Pyure Organic All Purpose Stevia Blend and Pyure Organic Liquid Stevia Blend, but the class will never know it. Get the recipe here

Spiced “Sugar” Cookies

These cookies make delicious holiday – and everyday – treats, with nutmeg, cinnamon, and allspice in addition to Pyure Organic All-Purpose Stevia Blend. Check out the video for how to make spiced “sugar” cookies here. 

Conclusion

We have tons of recipes that use stevia in place of processed sugar.  Read more and explore our products. We’ve even got brownie mix and chocolate chip cookie mix for those days when you’re not inspired to test out a new recipe, or don’t have the ingredients on hand to make treats from scratch.

I have not yet tried these Stevia products, but do admit the idea of using a sugar alternative does appeal to me, especially with my grandkids always looking for sweet treats.

I will keep you posted!

Calorie Cutting Hacks for Classic Recipes

calorie cutting hacks

Do you love classic recipes, but dread consuming the calories they are usually laden with? Me too. Over the years I have learned to substitute many calorie-rich ingredients for healthier options, without sacrificing the taste or presentation. Check out these tried and true calorie cutting hacks

Creamy Sauces

I learned to substitute the cream in many recipes because my stomach can never handle the high-fat content in cream. Instead, I use almond milk, but you could substitute any other nut milk. I call them milk, but technically they are not milk, they have no dairy in them. I have yet to try the cashew version but plan to soon. Not only will you not notice a lack of creaminess, but the fat in nut “milk” is a healthy type of fat.

For example, I make chicken alfredo with either fettuccine or penne pasta using a can of mushroom soup diluted with almond milk instead of the half-and-half or full-fat cream called for in most alfredo recipes. If the recipe calls for salt, omit it as the canned soup is salty enough, especially when parmesan cheese is an essential ingredient. Otherwise, your favourite recipe can stay the same.

Another idea is to use unflavoured, unsweetened, low-fat Greek yogurt instead of the sour or other cream called for in saucy dishes and casseroles such as stroganoff or pasta. Regular yogurt also works, but the Greek version is generally thicker, resulting in creamier sauces. Greek yogurt is higher in protein than regular yogurt too, another bonus.

Calorie Cutting Hack for Gravy or Soups

Every time I roast meat, I add minced or a few cloves of garlic and several slices of onion to the bottom of the pan. This trick creates rich, golden-brown, flavourful “drippings” that can be used immediately for gravy, or frozen for future use in soups, stews, and sauces.

I keep a bucket in my freezer for such use, each new addition forms a layer. The fat rises to the top of each layer and is easily removed when thawed for use. Soups are especially tasty when a mixture of the layers is used as broth. The only problem is that no two batches of your homemade soups will ever be identical.

This method eliminates the salt, sugar, and other unhealthy calories and ingredients that come in canned or packaged supermarket broth, gravy, soup, or stew.

Calorie Cutting Hack for Desserts

Similar to the creamy sauces, satisfyingly rich desserts can be made with almond (or another nut) milk instead of full fat, whipping, or half and half cream. Except, of course, unless whipping the cream is required for volume. Unfortunately, alternative milks don’t whip well.

Silken tofu and soy milk in equal parts, plus a bit of vanilla can be blended together and then whipped to replace full-fat whipping cream. This is also a great dairy-free option for your favourite creamy dessert.

Not only does sugar increase your caloric intake, but it also adversely affects your body in other ways. There is lots of research linking kids’ poor, even aggressive behaviour and/or poor concentration to increased sugar consumption.

So, how can you eliminate or at least reduce these bad effects? Simply cut back on the sugar amount called for in recipes, or use a sugar alternative. Stevia, a plant-based sugar alternative, can be used in many desserts to cut calories as well as the glycemic index of your treats. Foods with a high glycemic index cause our blood sugar levels to rise dramatically after their consumption, an unhealthy treatment of our body, especially over time.

In less sweet recipes, such as muffins, simply use more fruit instead of the oil or fat called for in the recipe. Extra (naturally sweet) fruit also means you can reduce the amount of granulated sugar you add to the mixture. For example, applesauce is amazing in muffins. It adds a natural sweetness and keeps the muffins moist. I have also used low-fat, unsweetened yogurt in muffins with great success. You may have to play around with the amounts of the substitutions to achieve your perfect muffin, but it can be done. Just make small batches until you discover your favourite.

Conclusions for Calorie Cutting Hacks

With colder weather, it is natural to crave and request comfort foods more frequently. To get even more enjoyment out of your favourite classics, experiment with alternative ingredients to make the recipes lighter and healthier, but still satisfying.

Just imagine, using these tips will allow you to consume your favourite classic meals or treats, with less guilt!

Your waistline, bathroom scale, and your overall health will thank you.

Do you have any calorie cutting hacks you can share?

photo credit: Nicole Michalou and Pexels

Healthy Morning Routines To Kickstart Your Day

Healthy Morning Routines

This article was originally posted on PyrureOrganic.com, modified as a guest post here on Loreeebee…

How you start your morning sets the tone for the day. With that in mind, you can see how your healthy morning routines can help you while bad habits can hurt you when it comes to your health goals – whether that’s feeling energized and focused, managing blood sugar levels, keeping fit, preventing heart disease or controlling your weight.

In my roles as a registered dietitian nutritionist and a certified diabetes educator, I’ve watched thousands of people work to get their healthy habits in order. Behavior changes and new habits seem to flow better when the morning starts off right. A successful start to the day simply breeds more success.

Here are 5 ways you can get your morning in tiptop shape.

1. Start your Morning Before you go to Bed

Sometime in the early evening, check your schedule so nothing surprises you first thing tomorrow. Get organized by picking out your clothes, packing lunch, gathering any papers or books you may need, and grabbing a piece of fruit for a snack and some Pyure Organic Stevia packets to sweeten your mid-day work beverages. Then get into bed on time. A good night’s sleep is critical to feeling energized and being well. In fact, research suggests that short sleep increases the risk of weight gain, heart disease, and Type 2 diabetes.

2. Waking up Gently is a Healthy Morning Routine

Skip the jarring, blaring alarm clock, and wake up to something you enjoy. I open my eyes to a simulated sunrise and soothing bird chirping sounds. It’s made a difference in how I feel each morning. And try to find an extra few minutes before jumping out of bed to think about the good that lies ahead in your day. Start your day with positive feelings whenever you can.

3. Do Coffee Right

Or tea. Sipping on a warm caffeinated beverage can be a nice way to ease into your day. And both coffee and tea are associated with less risk of Type 2 diabetes and likely have heart health benefits, too. But sip smartly. For the sake of your weight, blood sugar, and heart, avoid extra calories, added sugars, and saturated fats. Instead of syrups and heavy cream, add a splash of milk and a non-caloric sweetener.

4. Eat a Health-Boosting Breakfast as a Healthy Morning Routine

It’s good to sit down to a nourishing meal, but even if you’re on the go, pick wholesome foods. Let this first meal of the day fuel you for a positive and productive morning. Eat favorite foods that fill you with both protein and fiber. For a leisurely breakfast at home, try savory oats topped with greens and an egg. Or enjoy a Greek yogurt and fruit parfait. If you’re on the run, grab a couple of hard-boiled eggs, half of a peanut butter sandwich on whole grain bread, and some fresh fruit. If you eat breakfast at work, steer clear of the typical sugar bombs like donuts, pastries, and your officemate’s candy dish. Instead, bring overnight oats with whatever fruit is in season. Say no to the sugar, and jazz up your oats with stevia or a sugar-free honey alternative and cinnamon.

5. Get Some Exercise

Morning is my favorite time to exercise because it gives me time to think about my day and what I want to accomplish. And I feel terrific starting my work or chores knowing that I already did something good for myself. Sadly, only one-third of adults get the recommended minimum amount of exercise each week, and a mere 5% of adults get 30 minutes of physical activity daily. Now really, it doesn’t matter if you exercise in the morning or later on. But each morning, do commit to exercising at some point during the day – even if you can find just a few minutes. Every time you exercise, you do your body good. Physical activity is good for controlling blood sugar, blood pressure, and cholesterol levels. It reduces the risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and some types of cancer. It’s also good for the muscles, joints, and bones. Exercise can lift your mood and help you sleep better, too.

Conclusion

Make changes to start your day in ways that support your goals. Give yourself the gifts of time, nourishment, and joy. Healthy morning routines will kickstart your day.

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