You know that sugar isn’t good for your child. However, you love delighting them with delicious snacks that light up their smile. Are there any sugar-free treats that wow little taste buds and bellies?
Absolutely. There’s a world of alternative sweeteners that aren’t artificial and don’t wreak havoc with your child’s blood sugar. They can have their dessert and naptime, too, all without the side effects too much of the white stuff delivers.
Are you ready to thrill your little ones in the kitchen? Invite them to help whip up these eight sugar-free treats your kids will love this summer.
The Trouble With Sugary Treats for Kids
What’s so awful about indulging your child’s cries for candy at the checkout register? Too much sugar can impact anyone’s health, and your little one’s smaller body size amplifies the effect.
One of the biggest threats your child faces from eating too much sugar is diabetes. Nearly 100 million Americans live with prediabetes, and many don’t know they are at risk for the Type 2 form of the disease. Contracting it can mean a lifetime of medication and more frequent doctor appointments, putting an undue financial burden on your little one’s future.
Diabetes elevates your risks of heart and kidney disease. Prevention is far better than medication.
While some health risks associated with eating too much sugar seem a part of the distant future, tooth decay affects your child now. The high cost of dental care prevents some parents from seeking routine checkups, but check with your insurer. Many policies that don’t cover adult treatments offer coverage for those under 18.
You expect your child to visit the tooth fairy. However, they may become part of the 70% who lose teeth as adults if poor habits acquired in childhood lead to gum disease. Make sure your little ones do the following:
- Brush twice daily
- Brush, floss and rinse before bed
- Stay hydrated
- Choose tooth-healthy, sugar-free treats.
Natural Ways to Sweeten Without Sugar
Please don’t think you must turn to artificial sweeteners to make sugar-free treats for your kids this summer. Many of the recipes below use natural sweeteners, such as the following:
- Agave nectar
- Maple syrup
- Monk fruit
While these substances are sweet, they don’t impact your child’s blood glucose like white sugar, corn and rice syrup. They get all the flavor without the associated health risks.
8 Sugar-Free Treats for Your Kids This Summer
Are you ready to whip up some goodness with your little ones? Here are eight sugar-free treats for your kids this summer.
- 1 12-ounce package dark chocolate chips
- 1 cup toasted almonds
- ½ cup dried cherries or cranberries
- ½ teaspoon sea salt.
Melt the chocolate chips in a microwave-safe dish. Stir in the almonds and fruit. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and spread the mixture evenly. Sprinkle salt on top and place the mixture in the refrigerator to harden before breaking into bark-like chips.
Dark chocolate is chock-full of antioxidants, as are cherries. The anthocyanins that give these fruits deep red colors are fabulous for brain and heart health.
- 2 cans drained and rinsed chickpeas
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 teaspoon dried rosemary
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 teaspoon garlic salt
Preheat the oven to 210° Fahrenheit. Toss the chickpeas with the oil and herbs, spreading them on a baking sheet. Bake for 25 minutes or until golden.
Who said every sugar-free treat had to be sweet? Your kids will adore this savory snack, never realizing that the chickpeas fill them with healthy, plant-based protein.
- 2 medium bananas
- 1 large egg
- 1 ¾ cup oats
- ¼ cup raisins
- ¼ cup coconut oil
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon salt
Preheat the oven to 350°. Mix all ingredients well, scooping them onto baking sheets and flattening each ball slightly with your spoon. Bake for 15 to 18 minutes or until golden.
Oats are full of filling fiber to stave off hunger pangs. The bananas and raisins make these cookies plenty sweet without a single scoop of added sugar.
- 8 juiced passionfruit
- ½ cored, chopped pineapple
- 2 chopped bananas
- 2 chopped mangos
- Juice of two limes
- 2 400-milliliter cans of coconut milk
- 1 teaspoon turmeric
- 1 teaspoon rice malt syrup
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
Pour coconut milk into ice cube trays and freeze overnight. Juice the passion fruit, discarding the flesh and seeds. Whip the passion fruit juice, pineapple, banana, mango, lime juice and turmeric in a food processor until smooth. Pour into a lined baking sheet and freeze for two hours.
Whip frozen coconut cubes, rice malt syrup and vanilla, adding a touch more coconut milk to fix any crumbliness. Pour this mixture over the sorbet, insert popsicle sticks and freeze. Cut into squares to serve.
Holy antioxidants, Batman. This recipe is stuffed with good-for-you fruit. Plus, turmeric helps lower inflammation, helpful for the muscle aches and pains associated with childhood play.
- 2 3-ounce boxes sugar-free cherry Jello
- 1 cup boiling water
- 2 cups unsweetened coconut milk
Mix the jello with the boiling water. Add the coconut milk and whip until frothy. Pour into 5-ounce cups and refrigerate until set, adding a dollop of sugar-free whipped cream before serving.
Every parent needs a lazy day recipe that delights their kids without added sugar. This recipe is easy enough to make before soccer practice to have dessert when you get home.
- 1 pound fresh strawberries
- ¾ cup fresh blueberries
- ¼ cup mini sugar-free chocolate chips
- 6 ounces softened cream cheese
- 2 tablespoons softened butter
- ⅓ cup powdered monk fruit sweetener
- ¼ cup heavy whipping cream
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Wash strawberries, keeping the stem and hull intact. Cut them in half lengthwise, carving a small bowl in the center of each. Beat the cream and butter until smooth, adding the whipping cream and vanilla extract. Use a pipette to squirt it into the strawberries, topping each with blueberries and chocolate chips.
Strawberries are another antioxidant-rich superfood. Their high vitamin C content can help your child have an easier go of it if they catch a cold by slightly shortening the duration of their illness.
- ¼ cup almond flour
- 1 cup unsweetened almond butter
- 1 egg
- ½ cup sugar-free chocolate chips
- ½ cup powdered monk fruit sweetener
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ½ teaspoon salt
Preheat the oven to 350°. Mix all ingredients until well combined and drop 2-inch balls onto a greased baking sheet. Bake for 12 minutes or until golden.
Almonds are high in vitamins E, protein and fiber. Their filling plant-based nutrients satisfy your kids, making them the ideal snack to throw in their lunch boxes to power them through their afternoon.
8. Sesame Bars
- 1 cup shredded coconut
- ⅓ cup chopped raisins
- 1 cup sesame seeds
- ½ cup honey
- ⅓ cup peanut butter
- ½ cup powdered milk
Warm the honey and peanut butter in a small saucepan until more runny and blend with the other ingredients. Press the mixture firmly into a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and refrigerate until solid.
Seeds are also excellent sources of plant-based protein and lignans, which improve hormonal health. Natural honey provides oodles of antioxidants with sugar-free sweetness.
Sugar-Free Treats Your Kids Will Love
Too much sugar isn’t good for people of any age. The eight sugar-free treats above are kid tested for tastiness. They’re sure to delight your little ones, and you can feel good about their snacking choices.