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Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Halloween GMOs, Sugar..Try a Healthier Treat


My kids still remind me the most likely reason we didn't get many trick or treaters wasn't because we lived in a rural area, it was because I usually had "healthy" goody bags.Yea well, too bad. When my kids were preschool I had full control over the quality of food to which they were exposed. By first grade I didn't exactly give up but waged my battles carefully, hoping to at least set the foundation of good eating habits. And now that they are both young adults they, without my nagging, are realizing that how they physically feel, how clearly they can think, and of course their appearance all depends on their lifestyle and eating habits.

Only a few years back we were concerned about the amount of fat, sugar and salt added to candy and snacks but we didn't hear about the concerns with GMO modified food. Not wanting to be just one more voice spoiling  the fun of the holidays, we should at least be aware of what is going on.

A good article on the subject of what are GMOs and why we should be leery of their use in our food supply is found here from the Non-GMO Project. In the absence of mandatory labeling, the Non-GMO Project was created to give consumers the informed choice they deserve. In the U.S., the government has approved GMOs based on studies conducted by the same corporations that created them and profit from their sale. Not knowing who to believe or even trust with the health of our loved ones, more and more Americans are taking matters into their own hands by trying not to purchase foods containing GMOs. The hope is that if people stop buying GMOs, companies will stop using them and farmers will stop growing them.



Now let's be more aware of what those labels mean in terms of sugar intake. How many grams in a tsp. of sugar is there anyway? As you can see from the chart below, the typical candy bar has 20 or more grams of sugar. Five teaspoons is 21 grams of sugar, six teaspoons is 26 grams of sugar, seven teaspoons is 31 grams, and my favorite Milky Way bar came in at 35 with 9 teaspoons being 36 grams of sugar!

As disturbing as it is to actually know that, we don't want to take all the fun out of our kids' Halloween loot. My way of handling the indulgence was to put most of the candy in the freezer and ration it out over a few weeks. Some parents let their kids have their gorge fest to get it over with and accept the sugar highs and sugar crashes as all part of the holiday. Below is the candy bar chart but for the full candy comparison refer to the following site:


Chocolate Bars Compared
Chocolate Bar Serving Size Calories Total Fat
(g)
Saturated Fat
(g)
Contains Trans Fat Sugar
(g)
Hershey's Milk Chocolate
(Hershey's)
1 bar 270 16 10 NO 31
Hershey's Milk Chocolate With Almonds
(Hershey's)
1 bar 210 14 6 NO 19
Krackel
(Hershey's)
1 bar 210 10 6 NO 24
Mounds
(Hershey's)
1 bar 230 13 10 NO 21
Almond Joy
(Hershey's)
1 package 220 13 8 YES 20
Kit Kat Bar
(Hershey's)
1 bar 210 11 7 NO 22
REESE'S Fast Break
(Hershey's)
1 bar 260 13 4.5 YES 30
5TH Avenue
(Hershey's)
1 bar 280 14 5 NO 27
Mr. Goodbar
(Hershey's)
1 bar 260 17 7 NO 22
YORK Peppermint Pattie
(Hershey's)
1 piece 140 2.5 1.5 NO 25
Take 5
(Hershey's)
1 package 210 11 5 YES 18
Hershey's Special Dark Chocolate
(Hershey's)
1 bar 218 12 8 NO 21
REESE'S Peanut Butter Cups
(Hershey's)
1 package 260 15 6 NO 25
HEATH Toffee Bar
(Hershey's)
1 bar 210 13 7 NO 23
PAYDAY Peanut Caramel Bar
(Hershey's)
1 bar 240 13 2.5 NO 21
SKOR
(Hershey's)
1 bar 210 12 7 NO 24
SYMPHONY Milk Chocolate
(Hershey's)
1 bar 210 13 8 NO 23
Snickers
(Mars)
1 package 280 14 5 YES 30
Snickers Cruncher
(Mars)
1 package 220 11 6 YES 21
Snickers Almond Bar
(Mars)
1 package 230 11 4 YES 26
Milky Way
(Mars)
1 package 260 10 7 YES 35
TWIX Caramel Cookie Bars
(Mars)
1 package 280 14 11 YES 27
3 Musketeers
(Mars)
1 bar 260 8 5 YES 40
Chunky
(Nestle)
1 bar 190 11 5 NO 21
Baby Ruth
(Nestle)
1 bar 280 14 8 YES 33
Butterfinger
(Nestle)
1 bar 270 11 6 NO 29
100 Grand
(Nestle)
1 package 180 8 5 NO 21
Nestle Crunch
(Nestle)
1 bar 220 12 7 NO 24


FOR A HEALTHIER SNACK

If you want an easy, chocolate lover's snack that is delicious and simple to put into gift bags, here are two no-cook recipes:




This recipe is an adaptation of a peanut butter ball recipe from an old Rodale cookbook.
Peanut Butter Chocolate Coated Sesame Balls

3/4 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup honey
1 tsp. vanilla extract
Combine these three ingredients in a medium sized bowl.

3/4 cup skim milk powder
1 cup oatmeal
Combine these two ingredients in another bowl.

Gradually add the oatmeal/milk powder mixture to the peanut butter mixture, blend thoroughly, mix will be stiff, may need your hands.

1/4 cup toasted sesame seeds (toast seeds in a preheated 200 degree oven for 20 minutes)
2 tbsp. boiling water
Blend the seeds and the hot water into the mixture.

Using your hands, shape into 1-inch balls. (The mix will be sticky so wet your hands periodically with cold water.)
Roll the balls around in a bowl containing finely chopped nuts, almond meal, wheat germ or ground flax seeds.
Place the balls onto wax paper lined baking sheets. 
Place the baking sheets in the freezer for 30 minutes.

Place a pound of chocolate coating wafers or a 12 oz. bag of semi-sweet chocolate chips along with 1 tbsp. shortening into a small microwave safe bowl (or melt using a double boiler).
Microwave for 1 1/2 minutes, stir, another 30 seconds, stir till smooth.
Dip the balls into the melted chocolate using a strong sandwich pick. Place onto the wax paper lined baking sheets to harden.
This batch makes about 3 dozen.


From the Taste of Home cooking magazine, this recipe is a bit easier and uses only four ingredients. You can use your own granola mix or purchase a store brand.
Granola Fudge Clusters
1 cup (6 oz) semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup (6 oz) butterscotch chips
1 1/4 cup granola
1 cup chopped walnuts

In a microwave-safe bowl, melt the chocolate and butterscotch chips, stir until smooth.
Stir in the granola and walnuts.
Drop by tablespoonfuls onto waxed paper lined baking sheets.
Refrigerate about 30 minutes or until firm.
This batch makes about 2 1/2 dozen.