With the holidays around the corner many families are looking for healthy treats that their kids will enjoy. Many of my patients with ADHD, Autism Spectrum Disorders and other problems have food sensitivities or food allergies making something as simple as going out for ice cream a major challenge. I like helping families create treat ideas for their kids that are both yummy and healthy, while avoiding foods that can trigger symptoms. Below is a quick and easy gluten-free casein-free treat you can make for your kiddos in less than 5 minutes. It’s one of my personal favorite healthy treat recipes and many of my patients’ families I’ve shared it with have enjoyed it too!
Here are some of Dr. Oskin’s tips for healthy treats:
1. Eat whole foods.
- Cook with real food ingredients, rather than artificially processed foods. If it came from a tree or the ground, you’re good to go! If it comes from a box and has a long list of ingredients with names you can’t pronounce, then you’re probably better off putting the box back on the shelf ;-).
2. Avoid artificial colorings, flavorings, and preservatives.
- These can affect children with attention and behavior problems. Learn more here.
3. Avoid adding refined or processed sugars.
- Let the frozen fruit sweeten the ‘ice cream’ naturally!
- Rapidly raising and lowering blood sugars can cause mood swings, behavior and attention problems in kids. Keep blood sugars stable by using natural fruits to sweeten the treats and by adding some protein and/or fiber to the mix. Ground flax seeds mix in easily so kids won’t notice. Flax provides essential fatty acids for good brain health and fiber to help balance blood sugar and make healthy poops!
RECIPE: Dr. Oskin’s Yummy Gluten-Free, Casein-Free, Vegan Homemade Chocolate “Ice Cream”
In a blender, mix the following ingredients until they are a smooth consistency like soft-serve ice cream:
1. 1-2 frozen bananas
- Note: it’s easy to cut up and freeze the ripe bananas at the end of the week to save them before they go bad. Keep them on hand for smoothies or vegan ‘ice cream’ treats.
2. 4-5 frozen organic strawberries
- Note: Berries are low glycemic and high in antioxidants! However, strawberries are on the “Dirty Dozen” list of most heavily pesticide sprayed produce. Shop smart and cost effectively by selectively purchasing organic produce for foods on the “Dirty Dozen” list and conventional produce for the “Clean 15”!
3. 1/4 -1/2 cup of UNSWEETENED Almond Milk as a starter for the blender
4. 1 tablespoon of ground flax seeds
5. 1-2 tablespoons of your favorite UNSWEETEND Cocoa Powder.
- My favorites are dark cocoas like Ghiradelli because the darker the chocolate the more antioxidants. Your child may prefer other brands that you can find at the supermarket.
- Pure cocoa has lots of antioxidants that are good for our minds and our bodies. By using pure unsweetened cocoa powder we are avoiding the bad sugar and saturated fat in unhealthy processed chocolate products.
Once you have blended the ingredients you can serve this healthy, yummy treat a few ways:
- In a bowl like ice cream.
- Pour into Popsicle Molds and freeze for later.
- Add a little extra Unsweetened Almond Milk to serve in a cup like a ‘milk-shake’.
Most importantly, be creative and have fun in the kitchen!
For families with children on the Autism Spectrum who use the GFCF Diet (Gluten Free, Casein Free), here are some helpful websites:
- Elana’s Pantry – Excellent Recipe Website!
- GFCFSF Diet on a Budget
- Generation Rescue Nutrition Guide