Posts Tagged ‘sugar’

Why All the Candy?

Monday, February 1st, 2016

why all the candyOh, Valentine’s day. What are we really celebrating? It’s supposed to be all about love and friendship right? Nurturing our love for each other, celebrating our friends who feel like family, being thankful for the love that we have in our lives. We want the best for the ones we love the most right? So what exactly does candy have to do with any of that? Why do we want to give the people we love so much little boxes of candy hearts filled with food dye, sugar and who knows what else?

I’m a mom who tries really hard to keep junk food out of the house. I want food dye, corn syrup, sugar and whatever else is in candy far away from my daughter which makes valentines day a day that I don’t even want to send her to preschool. Surely she’ll come home with lots of little bags of candy that I’m not going to let her eat and that will end up in the trash. I feel bad throwing it away- after all someone paid for it- but to be honest I’d much rather put it in the trash than put it in our bodies.

So then the bartering with a 4 year old begins. You give me that candy and we’ll buy you some other candy that doesn’t have the ingredients that I don’t want you to have. You really want the candy you got? Ok, choose one piece that you really, really want and you can have that and then we’ll change the rest for something else.

But then I become the monster mom that won’t even let her kids have a piece of candy on valentines day. Lucky for me I don’t really care what other parents think of what I feed my kid. No, I’m not depriving her of a life without candy- I just make sure the candy she does eat is the highest quality I can find. There are plenty of organic varieties out there and just because something is organic does not make it healthy – candy is candy.

I want her to learn at a very young age that there is a huge difference when it comes to the quality of ingredients. Plain and simple. I tell her all about the junk that’s in food and then sometimes we decide we still decide to have some junk but I know that even at the age of 4 she knows there’s a difference.

My hope is that one day she’ll come home from school with cute valentines day cards from her friends instead of little bags of candy.

Jacqueline Banks is a certified Holistic Health Counselor and online fitness coach. She works with women in all stages of motherhood, from mothers struggling with conception to those trying to get their grove back after pregnancy to ensure the best health and nutrition for both mom and baby.


Healthy Smash Cakes for Toddlers

Thursday, June 12th, 2014

Healthy Alternatives to smash cakeEveryone loves a good birthday party and pictures of a cute baby tearing into their first birthday cake. It seems like the smash cake is almost a rite of passage, a necessary part of the first birthday ritual.

At this age many babies have never even tasted sugar, so it can be a shock to their tiny bodies. Food dyes can cause reaction in many kids, not to mention toddlers. Fortunately, there are plenty of healthy alternatives to the traditional smash cake.

Going with a homemade cake might be your best bet since you can control the ingredients and sweetness. Chances are that even a cake that is just a little bit sweetened will please your baby, and you can use vegetable-based food coloring, typically found in health food stores, to make it just as pretty as any store-bought cake.

If you’re trying to avoid grains, this is a fabulous recipe for a paleo smash cake. Below is the recipe I used for my daughter’s smash cake and it was an absolute hit! Use organic ingredients whenever possible.


5 ripe bananas

¾ cup cinnamon applesauce

1 ½ cups whole wheat flour or gluten free baking mix

3 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 teaspoon baking soda


Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees.

Mash the bananas with the applesauce and vanilla extract.

In a separate bowl mix together all the dry ingredients.

Mix the dry ingredients into the banana mixture.

Liberally grease the cake pan with coconut oil or organic butter and pour in the batter.

You can use a large pan and the cut out smaller shapes once it’s baked or you can use small, individual sized pans. Begin checking for doneness at around 20 minutes, less if you’re using very small pans or a little longer if it’s a large pan.


1 cup cream cheese

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

¼ cup fresh strawberries or blueberries (whichever color you prefer)

Add all ingredients to a food processor and process until smooth. Wait for the cake to cool before spreading the frosting.

If you want to try something completely different, you can try a cake made out of fresh fruit. Watermelon makes a perfect base for a cake and now is the best time for one of these fruit cakes since so many delicious fruits are in season. Here’s a great guide on how to make a beautiful watermelon cake!

Jacqueline Banks is a certified Holistic Health Counselor focused on nutrition and green living strategies. She works with women in all stages of motherhood, from mothers struggling with conception, through pregnancy, lactation and beyond to ensure the best health and nutrition for both mother and baby.