Healthy Easter Treats

Growing up I remember Easter with chocolate bunnies, malted eggs, jellybeans and a variety of other marshmallow and chocolate treats. This was all on top of the traditional Easter Egg. Below I have listed some healthy alternative Easter treats.

Healthy Marshmallow Recipe (or Homemade Peeps)

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These fluffy honey-sweetened homemade marshmallows will deliver all the flavor but none of the health-compromising refined sugar. Plus, these can be made in a coconut or chocolate version (see below) based on the recipes plans or preferences. This simple recipe will make you wonder why you ever bought marshmallows at the store. But remember, sugar that comes from whole foods like honey or fruit is still sugar, so remember to eat these as a treat, not a regular snack.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 tbsp. grass-fed gelatin (or agar agar for a vegan option)
  • 1/2 cup cold water
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1/8 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

Instructions

1. Lightly grease a loaf pan. Then cover with parchment paper (with enough to hang over the sides of the pan one way), then grease the parchment paper.
2. Put ¼ cup of water in a medium bowl (or in the bowl of a mixer with attached whisk) , and sprinkle the gelatin over the water. Set aside to soften.
3. In a small pot, place the honey, salt, and the other ¼ cup of water. Heat on medium heat. Using a candy thermometer, bring the mixture to 240 degrees. (You can also test it by dribbling a little of the liquid into a bowl of ice cold water. It should be in the candy stage of forming little soft balls when cooled in the water and taken out. It takes about 7-8 minutes to reach this temperature. ). Remove from the heat immediately when reaching temp.
4. Using a hand mixer on low, very carefully mix in the hot syrup into the gelatin mixture by pouring the hot syrup in a drizzle down the side of the bowl. Once it’s all combined, add the vanilla and increase speed to high. Beat for 12- 15 minutes, or until the mixture is thick and fluffy (it will look like marshmallow fluff). *Scrap into the prepared pan and leave, uncovered, for 4-12 hours to dry. Cut into squares, serve as is or for an extra treat cut with bunny cookie cutter to create little bunny ‘peeps’.

*If making Peeps you will want to divide the mixture into parts (as many as you need) an add food coloring to make the various color peeps before leaving to let dry. Then proceed to cutting with cookie cutter. You will need to coat the cutter lightly with cooking oil to keep marshmallow from sticking.

Homemade Reeses Peanut Butter Eggs

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Total Time: 10m
Yield: 6-9 eggs

Ingredients

Filling

  • 1/4 cup peanut butter OR allergy-friendly alternative at room temperature (homemade recipe here)
  • dash salt
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 more tbsp of the sugar

Coating

  • 3/4 cup (3.6 ounces) sugar free chocolate chips
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil

Instructions

  1. Mix the first three ingredients together in a bowl into crumbly dough. Also, I put the dough into a plastic bag to shape into a ball with less mess.) Add the extra 2 tbsp. sugar if it’s too gooey, and add a little more pb if it’s too dry. (Different brands of peanut butter will yield different results.) Taste the dough and add a little more salt if desired. Form dough into egg shaped ovals** (like Reeces eggs). Freeze the dough for an hour or until firm.
  2. Meanwhile, melting the chocolate chips and coconut oil for 30 seconds in the microwave. Stir until smooth.
  3. Next dip frozen peanut butter eggs into melted chocolate. Set on tray with wax paper and refrigerate until chocolate is set.

**Note Alternatively, you can use candy egg molds. Instead of shaping peanut butter pour mixture into egg molds and freeze for about 1 hour. Remove from mold Next melt chocolate chips and coconut oil and then dip peanut better eggs. Set on wax paper and refrigerate until set.

Filled Plastic Eggs

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Growing up our family always had the traditional Easter Egg Hunt. What made it an extra special treat was my mom used to hide a few plastic eggs filled with special treats. She would put a variety of Easter surprises in them. You can fill ‘em up with dried fruits or peeled snacks and/or nuts or even little toys!

Healthy Easter Egg Popsicle

Saw this on a Pinterest post and thought it’s the perfect Easter morning brekkie!

Individual Phyllo Apple Cups

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Candy apples are a decadent fall treat, but they’re loaded with sugar and calories. These rehabbed apple cups taste just as indulgent with all the gooey, seasonal goodness of fall, but contain just 144 calories a serving — that’s half the calories of a candy apple. Plus, the perfectly portioned apple cups are not only easier on your waistline, but on your teeth as well!

Serves 12

Ingredients:

Non-stick cooking spray
2 pounds Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, and cut into ½-inch chunks
1/3 cup dried cranberries
Juice and finely grated zest of 1 lemon
2 tablespoons agave nectar
2 teaspoons freshly grated ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon allspice
3 tablespoons butter, melted
2 tablespoons water
4 (9×16) sheets phyllo pastry, thawed
1 cup fat-free vanilla frozen yogurt

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Coat a standard muffin pan with nonstick spray. Set aside.

In a large pot, combine the apples, cranberries, lemon juice, zest, agave, ginger, cinnamon and allspice. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the juices in the pot thicken and very little syrup remains, about 10 minutes, set aside to cool.

In a small bowl, mix the melted butter and water. Unfold the phyllo, lay one sheet on a cutting board, and brush the dough with the melted-butter-water mixture — be sure to keep the pastry you are not working with covered with a damp towel to prevent it from drying out. Repeat three times, stacking the layers of dough on top of each other so that you have four layers.

Cut the stack of phyllo sheets three times crosswise and then cut again lengthwise twice so you have 12 even squares. Lay the phyllo squares in the wells of the muffin pan and gently press them into the cups, letting the edges fold and overlap naturally.

Spoon ¼ cup of cooled apple mixture into the phyllo cups. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes or until nicely browned. Let the apple cups cool in the pan before trying to remove them. Serve warm with a small spoonful of frozen yogurt.

Nutrition info. (per serving): Calories: 144, Total fat: 4 g, Saturated fat: 3 g, Cholesterol: 8 mg, Sodium: 74 mg, Protein: 2 g, Fiber: 4 g, Carbs: 27 g

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The ‘healthy’ snacks that are secretly making us fat and what to eat instead…

It’s common to reach out for a small to stave mid-morning hunger pangs but your snacking choices may be doing you more than good.

Items we consider healthy such as cereal bars, bran-flakes and low fat biscuits, are full of sugar which, while they may provide a temporary energy boost, will end up making you crash.

When preparing snacks, choose low-energy releasing foods and avoid sipping on smoothies or fruit juices.

When preparing snacks, choose low-energy releasing foods,  rather than items which are full of saturated fat and sugar  

When preparing snacks, choose low-energy releasing foods,  rather than items which are full of saturated fat and sugar.

It might be tricky to resist mince pies but hold off for the big day itselfA handful of dried fruit will hit the sweet spot while getting one of your five a day.

It might be tricky to resist mince pies (left) but hold off for the big day itself. Instead try a handful of dried fruit (left) to hit the sweet spot, while getting one of your five a day.

Nutritionist Dr. Sarah Schenker told FEMAIL: ‘So many people are misled by snacks which we’re told are healthy, in reality, people need to be thinking about the nutritional content and how that can help you maintain your energy levels.

‘Snacking still has negative connotations that need to be overcome – which I fully support. Introducing convenient and nutritious foods can overcome the stigma of snacking and help us to become more active and healthier.’

Here she shares ten snacking swaps you can make to ensure you are consuming all the right foods.

SWAP: Low-fat biscuits

FOR: Oatcakes with hummus

Oatcakes have much lower sugar content than many low-fat biscuits on the market and are a great source of fibre. Top this with hummus for a fix of essential vitamins and minerals.

SWAP: Mince pies

FOR: Dried fruit

This time of year can be tricky to resist, however if you’re holding off for the big day itself, then try a handful of dried fruit to hit the sweet spot, while getting one of your five a day.

SWAP: Cereal bars

FOR: Peanut butter on wholemeal toast

Cereal bars are often packed with hidden sugars which can undermine any nutritional value. Peanut butter is a natural source of protein and helps maintain energy levels, perfect if you have a big day ahead.

Cereal bars are often packed with hidden sugars which can undermine any nutritional valuePeanut butter is a natural source of protein and helps maintain energy levels

Cereal bars (left) are often packed with hidden sugars whilst peanut butter (right)  is a natural source of protein and helps maintain energy levels

There is nothing wrong with snacking but make sure you choose foods which are light and healthy  

There is nothing wrong with snacking but make sure you choose foods which are light and healthy

SWAP: Lighter crisps

FOR: Vegetable sticks and avocado dip

Light crisps are often high in salt, as an alternative, swap for vegetables sticks and an avocado dip. Avocados are high in antioxidants and provide you with good, monounsaturated fats that can help keep hair and skin healthy.

SWAP: Processed fruit bars

FOR: Mixed raisins and nuts

Whole fruit has a much higher water content contributing to hydration, helping to prevent dehydration that can be a root cause of the afternoon slump.

SWAP: Smoothies

FOR: A glass of milk

A glass of milk provides essential calcium and minerals and is comparably much better for you than a smoothie, which contains large amounts of sugar.

Light crisps are often high in saltVegetable sticks and avocado dip

Light crisps (left) are often high in salt so swap for vegetables sticks and an avocado dip (right)

SWAP Fruit Juice

FOR Coconut water

There has been some debate as to whether fruit juice should continue to count towards your 5-a-day as the process of juicing releases the sugars, having similar impact to added sugars, particularly on teeth. Coconut water has less sugar than most fruit juices and could be a better choice for adults and kids looking for a beverage that is less sweet. It also provides electrolytes that can help you rehydrate more effectively.

SWAP Strawberry ice cream

FOR Greek yoghurt with frozen berries

Strawberry ice cream is loaded with sugar and light on any actual fruit. You can get the same effect by swirling frozen berries through protein and calcium packed Greek yoghurt with a fraction of the sugar content.

SWAP Bacon on toast or a bacon butter

FOR Poached eggs on toast or a fried egg sandwich

Although both eggs and bacon provide protein, that’s where the nutritional similarities stop. Bacon is high in salt and there is concern over the effect that the preservatives contained can have on the gut. Eggs on the other hand are rich in many essential vitamins and minerals needed for good health.

SWAP: Bran flakes

FOR: Porridge

Although they contain fiber, bran flakes are still relatively high in sugar, which means they have a higher GI, releasing their energy more quickly. Porridge will give you a slow release of energy to ensure you start your day right.

How to make the perfect fried egg to go with your sandwich

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Bacon is high in salt and there is concern over the effect that the preservatives contained can have on the gutEggs are rich in many essential vitamins and minerals needed for good health

Bacon (left) is high in salt and there is concern over the effect that the preservatives contained can have on the gut. Eggs (right) on the other hand are rich in many essential vitamins and minerals needed for good health

The tips are part of Sun-Pat’s Spread the Energy study, which revealed that 24 per cent of teenagers felt they lack the energy needed to take part in after-school activities.

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Benefits of Almond Milk You May Not Know About

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Those looking for a dairy-free milk substitute have probably stumbled across almond milk and wondered, “Is almond milk good for you?” Whether you’re a vegan, sensitive to milk or just don’t like the taste, almond milk is a fabulous alternative.

While almond milk is becoming more and more popular, it’s important to note that it doesn’t provide as much protein or calcium to be a complete substitute, so make sure you receive adequate amounts from other sources. One cup only has one gram of protein versus 8 grams in cow’s milk, and 2 milligrams of calcium versus 300 milligrams in cow’s milk.

As with everything you buy, make sure to check the labels and purchase almond milk that contains the least amount of preservatives and other additives.

1. It helps with weight management.

One cup of almond milk contains only 60 calories, as opposed to 146 calories in whole milk, 122 calories in 2 percent, 102 calories in 1 percent, and 86 calories in skim. It makes for a great substitute that will help you lose or maintain your current weight.

2. It keeps your heart healthy.

There’s no cholesterol or saturated fat in almond milk. It’s also low in sodium and high in healthy fats (such as omega fatty acids, typically found in fish), which helps to prevent high blood pressure and heart disease.

3. It keeps your bones strong.

While it doesn’t offer as much calcium as cow’s milk, almond milk does offer 30 percent of the recommended daily amount, as well as 25 percent of the recommended amount of vitamin D, reducing your risk for arthritis and osteoporosis and improving your immune function. Plus, these two nutrients work together to provide healthy bones and teeth formation.

4. It keeps your skin glowing.

Almond milk contains 50 percent of the recommended daily amount of vitamin E, which contains antioxidant properties essential to your skin’s health, such as protecting it against sun damage.

5. It barely impacts your blood sugar.

Almond milk (with no additives) is low in carbs, which means it won’t significantly increase your blood sugar levels, reducing your risk for diabetes. Because of its low glycemic index, your body will use the carbs as energy so the sugars aren’t stored as fat (score!).

6. It contributes to muscle strength and healing.

Although almond milk only contains 1 gram of protein per serving, it contains plenty of B vitamins such as iron and riboflavin, both important for muscle growth and healing.

7. It keeps your digestion in check.

Almond milk contains almost one gram of fiber per serving, which is important for healthy digestion.

8. It doesn’t contain lactose.

Lactose intolerance impacts about 25% of the US population, which means they have difficulty digesting the sugar in cow’s milk. This makes almond milk a suitable, lactose-free substitute.

9. It tastes better than cow’s milk.

Almond milk doesn’t taste like cow’s milk, perfect for those who are turned off by the taste. It has its own unique flavor many describe as being light and crisp. Bonus: it’s versatile, meaning you can use it instead of cow’s milk in recipes that require it. It won’t have the same taste, but it will have the same consistency.

10. It doesn’t require refrigeration.

Knowing that you don’t have to refrigerate almond milk means you’ll be more likely to take it with you to work, or on a camping trip. It’s perfectly fine at room temperature which makes it a convenient, nutritious staple to pack, automatically upping your daily intake of all the fabulous nutrients above.

11. It’s easy to make.

Being that it’s a tad inconvenient to have a cow grazing in your backyard, almond milk is the convenient alternative to make at home. It’s made by finely grinding almonds and placing them in a blender with water, then filtering the pulp with a strainer to separate it from the liquid. Want to give it a try? Below is a delicious almond milk recipe.

Have you ever tried almond milk? Let us know what you think in the comments!

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Why You Should Always Freeze Your Lemons

So why should we freeze lemons?
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“A new study has shown for the first time how limonoids, natural compounds present in lemons and other citrus fruit, impede both ER+ and ER- breast cancer cell growth. This sheds new light on the importance of citrus fruit for breast cancer prevention and supports past studies which showed fruit consumption may lower breast cancer risk.”

All kinds of people are saying that the entire lemon should be used with nothing wasted. Not only for the obvious health benefits but also for the amazing taste! How?

Simple, take an ORGANIC lemon, wash it and then put it in the freezer. Once it is frozen you get whatever is necessary to grate or shred the whole lemon without even peeling it first.

Then sprinkle it on your salad, ice cream, soup, cereals, noodles, spaghetti sauce, or whatever. No holds barred. What you will experience is that whatever you sprinkle it on will take on a taste you may never have experienced before.

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Why would I do this? Because the lemon peel contains 5 to 10 times more vitamins than the lemon juice itself and the peel is the part that is usually wasted. Not only that, but the peel helps to get rid of toxins in the body.

But wait, there’s more. Lemon is effective in killing cancer cells because it is allegedly 10,000 stronger than chemotherapy. This has not been revealed because there are people out there that want to make a synthetic, toxic version that will bring them huge profits. Shades of Monsanto.

The good news is that the taste of lemon is pleasant and does not deliver the horrific effects of chemotherapy. What’s bizarre is that people are closely guarding this fact so as to not jeopardize the income to those that profit from other’s illnesses.

Another interesting aspect of the lemon is that it has a remarkable effect on cysts and tumors. Some say the lemon is a proven remedy against all types of cancer.

It doesn’t end there. It has an anti-microbial effect against bacterial infections and fungi; it is effective against internal parasites and worms; it regulates blood pressure, which is too high; it acts as an anti-depressant; it combats stress and nervous disorders.

The source of this information, although not specifically named, is one of the largest drug manufacturers in the world. They further say that after more than 20 laboratory tests since 1970, the extracts revealed that it destroys the malignant cells in 12 cancers, including colon, breast, prostate, lung and pancreas and that the compounds of the lemon tree were 10,000 times more effective than the product Adriamycin, which is a drug normally used chemotherapeutically in the world to slow the growth of cancer cells.

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Even more, this type of therapy with lemon extract only destroys malignant cancer cells and does not affect healthy cells. The process is simple: buy an ORGANIC lemon, wash it, freeze it, grate it, and put it on everything you eat.

It’s not rocket science. Nature has put stuff on the planet to keep the body healthy. The corporations hide this information and create synthetics to treat disease. The synthetic chemical creates other symptoms from its ingestion requiring another drug to combat these symptoms.

And so the cycle continues, which equates to enormous profits coming from an overt intention to keep a body ill and suppressing natural healing foods, minerals and modalities, all withheld by the mainstream media to not jeopardize their advertising dollar income, and payoffs to the politicians to not pass laws that will greatly benefit the people.

Almond-&-Lemon-Crusted Fish with Spinach

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Coating fish with nuts and baking it is an easy, foolproof way to cook it elegantly. And it is especially nice with a mild white fish like cod or halibut. The spinach turns a little yellowy because it’s cooked with the acidic lemon juice, but what you lose in green color is more than made up for in great flavor.

Ingredients

Zest and juice of 1 lemon, divided
1/2 cup sliced almonds, coarsely chopped
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh dill or 1 teaspoon dried
1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
Freshly ground pepper to taste
1 1/4 pounds cod or halibut, cut into 4 portions
4 teaspoons Dijon mustard
2 cloves garlic, slivered
1 pound baby spinach
Lemon wedges for garnish

Preheat oven to 400°F. Coat a rimmed baking sheet with cooking spray.

Combine lemon zest, almonds, dill, 1 tablespoon oil, 1/2 teaspoon salt and pepper in a small bowl. Place fish on the prepared baking sheet and spread each portion with 1 teaspoon mustard. Divide the almond mixture among the portions, pressing it onto the mustard.

Bake the fish until opaque in the center, about 7 to 9 minutes, depending on thickness.

Meanwhile, heat the remaining 2 teaspoons oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat. Add garlic and cook, stirring, until fragrant but not brown, about 30 seconds. Stir in spinach, lemon juice and the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt; season with pepper. Cook, stirring often, until the spinach is just wilted, 2 to 4 minutes. Cover to keep warm. Serve the fish with the spinach and lemon wedges, if desired.

Per serving: 249 calories
13 g fat (1 g sat, 8 g mono)
46 mg cholesterol
8 g carbohydrates
0 g added sugars
28 g protein
4 g fiber
496 mg sodium
1025 mg potassium.

Nutrition Bonus:
Vitamin A (184% daily value)
Vitamin C (37% dv)
Folate (36% dv)
Magnesium (35% dv)
Potassium (29% dv)
Iron (22% dv)
Calcium (17% dv)

Creamy Garlic Pasta with Shrimp & Vegetables

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Toss a garlicky, Middle Eastern-inspired yogurt sauce with pasta, shrimp, asparagus, peas and red bell pepper for a fresh, satisfying summer meal. Serve with: Slices of cucumber and tomato tossed with lemon juice and olive oil.

Ingredients

6 ounces whole-wheat spaghetti
12 ounces peeled and de-veined raw shrimp, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 bunch asparagus, trimmed and thinly sliced
1 large red bell pepper, thinly sliced
1 cup fresh or frozen peas
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt
1 1/2 cups nonfat or low-fat plain yogurt
1/4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
3 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
**optional – 1/4 cup toasted pine nuts (To toast pine nuts, place in a small dry skillet and cook over medium-low heat, stirring, until fragrant, 2 to 4 minutes. )

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add spaghetti and cook 2 minutes less than package directions. Add shrimp, asparagus, bell pepper and peas and cook until the pasta is tender and the shrimp are cooked, 2 to 4 minutes more. Drain well.

Mash garlic and salt in a large bowl until a paste forms. Whisk in yogurt, parsley, lemon juice, oil and pepper. Add the pasta mixture and toss to coat. Serve sprinkled with pine nuts (if using).

Per serving: 385 calories
6 g fat (1 g sat, 3 g mono)
168 mg cholesterol
53 g carbohydrates
0 g added sugars
34 g protein
10 g fiber
658 mg sodium
887 mg potassium

Nutrition Bonus:
Vitamin C (130% daily value)
Vitamin A (71% dv)
Folate (60% dv)
Iron & Magnesium (35% dv)
Calcium & Zinc (28% dv)
Potassium (25% dv)

5 Minute Clean Eating Fudge

Although I make tons of these during the holiday season for family & friends, it’s always nice to have a sweet treat on hand that is guilt free. Warning.. make enough of these to last because the go fast!

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For Base Ingredients

10  Medjool dates pitted
3 tbsp cacao powder
2.5 tbsp coconut butter or sub with coconut oil
3 tbsp water

For Nut Fudge

1.5 cup raw pecans or sub with walnuts
3/4 cup raw macadamias
1-2 tbsp. shredded coconut
1/4-1/2 jar raw chocolate spread

Add the pecans and 1/2 cup of the macadamias to a good blender. Pulse several times, or until the nuts have a rough, meal-like consistency.
Add the remaining ingredients to the blender, excluding the shredded coconut and the 1/4 cup macadamias set aside previously. Blend on a low-medium setting until everything is nicely combined and the mixture is smooth.
Roughly chop the remaining 1/4 cup macadamias and then stir into the mixture.
Line a small-medium brownie/slice tray with baking paper.
Scoop out the fudge mixture from the blender and press into the baking tray, flattening and evening out the mixture with a spoon. Cover and place in the freezer to set for 1-2 hours or until firm.
Remove the fudge from the freezer and, using a small spatula, ice with chocolate spread.
Sprinkle some shredded coconut on top.
Return the batch to the freezer so the icing can firm up (30-60 minutes).
Once the icing has set, remove fudge from freezer and cut into 12 squares. Store in the fridge for a softer fudge or in the freezer for a firmer texture.

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For Orange Fudge Add (to base):

  • 4 teaspoons orange extract
  • Zest of one medium orange

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For Mint Fudge Add (to base):

  • 1 teaspoon high-quality mint extract (Don’t skimp on this. It makes all the difference)

Calories: 59
Total Fat: 4 gm
Saturated Fats: 4 gm
Trans Fats: 0 gm
Cholesterol: 0 mg
Sodium: 3 mg
Carbohydrates: 6 gm
Dietary fiber: 2 gm
Sugars: 4 gm
Protein: 1 gm
Estimated Glycemic Load: 2

The Health Benefits of Maple Syrup

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Maple syrup is one of the many wonders of the world and far more than a simple sweetener. Maple syrup is not only rich in essential nutrients such manganese as well as zinc, but 34 new beneficial compounds discovered just a few years ago have been confirmed to play a key role in human health.

Health Potential

Maple syrup was known to have naturally occurring minerals, such as zinc, thiamine, and calcium. Rhode Island researcher Navindra Seeram was enlisted to study the plant’s antioxidants, known to exist in plant structures such as the leaves and the bark, and found 13 that were not previously known to be in the syrup. Several of those had anti-cancer, anti-bacterial, and anti-diabetic properties.

A previous study published in the Journal of Clinical Nutrition in 2007 found that maple syrup contains polyphenols such as abscisic acid (ABA) which is thought to stimulate insulin release through pancreatic cells very much the same way berries increase sensitivity of the fat cells to insulin, which makes the syrup beneficial for those with metabolic syndrome and diabetes.

These discoveries of new molecules from nature can also provide chemists with leads that could prompt synthesis of medications that could be used to fight fatal diseases, said University of Rhode Island researcher Navindra Seeram.

“I continue to say that nature is the best chemist, and that maple syrup is becoming a champion food when it comes to the number and variety of beneficial compounds found in it,” Seeram said. “It’s important to note that in our laboratory research we found that several of these compounds possess anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, which have been shown to fight cancer, diabetes and bacterial illnesses.”

As part of his diabetes research, Seeram has collaborated with Chong Lee, professor of nutrition and food sciences in URI’s College of the Environment and Life Sciences. The scientists have found that maple syrup phenolics, the beneficial anti-oxidant compounds, inhibit two carbohydrate hydrolyzing enzymes that are relevant to Type 2 diabetes management.

Enhances Liver Function

The pilot study, conducted by Dr. Keiko Abe of the University of Tokyo’s Graduate School of Agricultural and Life Sciences, showed that healthy laboratory rats fed a diet in which some of the carbohydrate was replaced with pure maple syrup from Canada, yielded significantly better results in liver function tests than the control groups fed a diet with a syrup mix containing a similar sugar content as maple syrup.

Click here to view a brief video detailing the liver health findings with Dr. Keiko Abe and Dr. Melissa Palmer.

Different Grades of Maple Syrup

There are several different “grades” of maple syrup, depending on the color.
The exact way they are classified can vary between countries.

In the United States, maple syrup is either classified as grade A or grade B (1).
Grade A is further categorized into 3 groups: Light Amber, Medium Amber and Dark Amber.
Grade B is the darkest of them all.

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The main difference between them, is that the darker syrups are made from sap that is extracted later in the harvesting season.

The dark syrups have a stronger maple flavor and are usually used for baking or in recipes, while the lighter ones are rather used directly as syrups… for example on pancakes.

If you’re going to buy maple syrup, then make sure to get actual maple syrup, not just maple-flavored syrup… which can be loaded with refined sugar or high fructose corn syrup.

As with any other food, make sure to read the label.

Thinking of replacing sugar with maple syrup?

Here are some simple conversion tips:

  • Substitute sugar for an equal amount of maple syrup.
  • In General Cooking, it is ideal to use ¾ cup of maple syrup for every one cup of sugar.
  • In Recipes – For each cup of syrup, reduce the quantity of liquid ingredients in the recipe (water, milk, juice) by about a quarter of a cup.
  • In Baking – the ratio is 1:1 It is a good idea to turn your oven temperature down about 25 degrees from the original cooking temperature because the maple syrup caramelizes at a lower temperature than sugar does.Replacing sugar with maple syrup in your cooking can be a great adventure. Take the time to experiment and learn how the maple syrup can best enhance the recipe at hand, for cooking healthy can be fun as well as tasty.

Replacing sugar with maple syrup in your cooking can be a great adventure. Take the time to experiment and learn how the maple syrup can best enhance the recipe at hand, for cooking healthy can be fun as well as tasty.

For recipes containing maple syrup click here