strawberry raspberry fruit snacks

As a kid, I used to go HAM on some Gushers.

You know, those little fruit snacks that have a “gush” of fruit stuff in the middle, sending a shock of insulin to already hyped up children…

Source: http://amzn.to/15sJZGF

Source: http://amzn.to/15sJZGF

They were/are the most desirable snack for kids – not only delivering 3+ teaspoons of sugar per pack – but the palatability of that “gush” is unmatched!

Nevermind the fact that juicy grapes basically do the same thing, but without these 25 ingredients:

PEARS FROM CONCENTRATE, SUGAR, CORN SYRUP DRIED, CORN SYRUP, CORN STARCH MODIFIED, FRUCTOSE, COTTONSEED OIL PARTIALLY HYDROGENATED AND/OR, COTTONSEED OIL, GRAPE(S) JUICE FROM CONCENTRATE CONTAINS 2% OR LESS OF THE FOLLOWING: MALTODEXTRIN, CARRAGEENAN, CITRIC ACID, GLYCERINE, MONOGLYCERIDE DISTILLED, SODIUM CITRATE, MALIC ACID, ASCORBIC ACID, POTASSIUM CITRATE, AGAR-AGAR, FLAVOR(S) NATURAL & ARTIFICIAL, XANTHAN GUM, COLOR(S) (BLUE 1, YELLOW 5, YELLOW 6).

Newsflash: These oh-so-innocent, “naturally flavored” snacks rank a big fat “F,” according to the lovely FoodFacts.com.

With 3 food dyes, genetically modified ingredients, inflammatory preservatives (ahem, carageenan), and hydrogenated oils (need I go on more?), this is the last thing to give to children. Especially mixing sugar + food dyes… that’s a recipe for instant hyperactivity and inattention (Stevens, et. al, 2013)!

Fast forward to the invention of REAL fruit snacks. Had I known these were so easy and healthy to make, I would have attempted these years ago!

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Beyond the fact that there’s really only 3 – 4 ingredients used to make these bad boys, they are loaded with “Nature’s Botox.”

Yes, that would be gelatin, also known as collagen.


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What is this stuff? According to Great Lakes Gelatin, one of the highest quality versions around:

“Gelatin is obtained from selected pieces of calf and cattle hides, de-mineralized cattle bones (ossein) and pork skin.”

Weirded out?

Don’t be. Our body is made up of 30% collagen, and our natural ability to produce supporting connective tissue diminishes after age 25. Translation: We need as much help as we can get to support our joints, bones, and connective tissues!

My first attempt: Raspberry Citrus Fruit Snacks!

My first attempt: Raspberry Citrus Fruit Snacks!

Collagen is a naturally occurring protein collagen that does just that…

  • It hydrates the body’s tissues.
  • It has high amounts of amino acids glycine, lysine, and proline, which are found to generate cell growth.
  • It’s beneficial in replacing the synovial fluids between the joints, and to repair and build cartilage (Great Lakes Gelatin, 2008).

In fact, in a trial of long-term care residents with pressure ulcers, those taking a collagen supplement had TWICE the rate of pressure ulcer healing after 8 weeks (Kwon, Posthauer, Dorner, Redovian, Maloney,  2006).

Another small study at Penn State, which investigated the effect of collagen (hydrolysate) on activity-related joint pain in athletes, found joint pain improved in 24 weeks (Clark, et. al., 2008).

Other benefits that Great Lakes Gelatin boasts of include benefits to:

“…hair, skin tissue, muscle, cartilage, ligaments and blood cell growth. Some doctors are referring to this product as the new anti-aging product of the century.”

To consume this missing link more in your diet, you can drink 1 – 2  tablespoons per day with this version that doesn’t gel mixed with water.

Or, make these super simple fruit snacks with this version which gels, inspired by Balanced Bite’s recipe. (Note: Another fantastic way is to consume homemade bone broth!).

Anti-Aging Fruit Snacks


Ingredients

1 1/4 – 1/2 cups of pureed strawberries and raspberries
*If you prefer a less concentrated version, use 1 1/4 c fruit puree, and 1/4 c water!
4 – 5 tbsp gelatin

Instructions

1. Pureé the strawberries and raspberries.

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2. In a small pan or pot on medium heat, whisk the gelatin into the fruit pureé until the gelatin is fully dissolved.

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3. Pour the mixture into a glass pan. The smaller the size, the thicker the fruit snacks.

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4. Chill the mixture for about 30 – 45 minutes in the fridge.

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5. Cut into pieces and enjoy! Store in the fridge.

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Now, how’s that for a MUCH better alternative to gushers!? 🙂

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References

Clark, KL, Sebastianelli, W, Flechsenhar, KR, Aukermann, DF, Meza, F, Millard, RL, Deitch, JR, Sherbondy, PS & Albert, A. (2008). 24-Week study on the use of collagen hydrolysate as a dietary supplement in athletes with activity-related joint pain. Curr Med Res Opin. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18416885.

Collagen Hydrosylate Info. (2008). Great Lakes Gelatin. http://www.greatlakesgelatin.com/consumer/CollagenFAQ.php.

Kwon, L, Posthauer, ME, Dorner, B, Redovian, V, Maloney, MJ

Stevens, LJ, Kuczek, T, Burgess, JR, Stochelski MA, Arnold LE & Galland L. (2013). Mechanisms of behavioral, atopic, and other reactions to artificial food colors in children. Nutr Rev. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23590704.