Cooking Tips and Questions - Any ideas for healthy family treats?

09-27-2008, 09:51 PM
Ive tossed all out "bad" foods out to the trash today and bought healthy.

What I would like to know is are there any treats I can make for the kids so they won't feel so deprived of the sweets and junk food?

I want to find something like cookies or baked goods that I can make with whole wheat flour and splenda for the sweetener. Would love some recipies or suggestions!


09-27-2008, 10:03 PM
Hey! :wave:

I'm moving your post to the Food Talk forum where you might get better response.

I don't have any recipes for you--but I did want to say that there's no reason to be restricting what your children eat unless your doctor says that they are overweight.

I don't think it's good for children to be eating sugar replacements like Splenda--they are still growing and active, and they need nourishment! Just my opinion...


09-27-2008, 10:33 PM
Popcorn is always a good "snacky" food. We always had popcorn instead of chips when watching ball games on Sunday.

I agree with Jay, though, that you might consider making baked goods with real sugar - although try natural cane sugar, rather than processed white - instead of Splenda. Just IMO, but I think it's better to teach them portion control with real treats rather than encourage them to eat artificial sweeteners. :)

But you can still make healthy sweet treats. You can make carrot and zucchini bread/muffins, pumpkin muffins, peanut butter cookies with veggie puree in them (seriously - the peanut butter covers the taste of the veggies, and you use natural fresh ground pb to make it healthier - less sugar).

Honestly you can puree veggies (esp things like frozen spinach) and add it to almost any baked good and hardly tell the difference in flavor. It might affect the color some, but you'd never know it by flavor.

Baked apples or baked pears with natural brown sugar and cinnamon and raisins

Spread natural peanut butter into celery and top with raisins (ants on a log)

Or spread natural peanut butter on thin strips of whole grain toast and top with sliced banana.

You can do various fruit crumble kinds of things - most of them don't need as much sugar as the recipes call for mixed with the fruit - and then use oatmeal or a mix of oatmeal and whole grain flower for the "crumble" part of the topping.

And again, from our family traditions, my mom rarely put out "junk" when we were watching the ball games on Sunday - it was always popcorn, sliced cheese, sliced apples and pears, veggies and ranch dip. A real treat would be if she'd make quesadillas with tortillas and cheese - that was probably the most unhealthy thing we'd have.


09-28-2008, 12:04 AM
JayEll: thanks for moving that to the other forum, I'm still finding my way around here =)
My kids are overweight, my entire family is. My sister is 100 lbs heavier than me. My parents had weight issues as well. I think one of my problems is that I just have the genetic disposition as does my ex husband so my kids had it coming from both directions. My 14 yr old son weighs 230 and my 7 yr old daughter weighs 94. Both are very tall for their age but still are 90 & 25 lbs overweight. We are just eating healthy as a family and trying to consume proper proportions in general.

Thanks for the ideas photochick =) will give them a shot!

09-28-2008, 12:18 AM
Hi Sweet -- sounds like you are on your way to healthier eating! Here's a good looking muffin that was just posted.

Also, some healthy snacks for your kids might be

hummus - dip with veggies or crackers
apple slices with natural peanut butter
laughing cow cheese with wasa (or other light) cracker
crustless pumpkin pie - make in custard cups for individual servings

Ok, I'm a little sleepy, so I can't come up with much. Good luck on your journey!

09-28-2008, 01:58 AM
Hi Sweet -- sounds like you are on your way to healthier eating! Here's a good looking muffin that was just posted.

Also, some healthy snacks for your kids might be

hummus - dip with veggies or crackers
apple slices with natural peanut butter
laughing cow cheese with wasa (or other light) cracker
crustless pumpkin pie - make in custard cups for individual servings

Ok, I'm a little sleepy, so I can't come up with much. Good luck on your journey!

I really like all of these suggestions. I think that kids can be very stubborn about changing up what they're eating (they like what they like), but though it will take time, I think that the above list will help woo them along a bit :) I also like fruit leather for snacks as well. And I agree with Photochick about puree-ing veggies into sauces. I actually make a meatloaf that is full of finely chopped veggies and carrots (grated) and it's also half ground turkey (the other half is lean beef).

How did your kids react to you throwing out the junk?

09-28-2008, 04:55 AM
Megs Fiber One Muffins! They come out fantastic and you can put all sorts of fruit in them. I've tried them with apples, raspberries, peaches, nectarines, figs, strawberries, apricots, and cherries. You could also go the more traditional route and put blueberries in them ;).

Here is my version on the recipe:

Fiber One Muffins

1 1/2 cups (90g) Fiber One cereal
3/4 cup boiling water
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup Splenda
1-2 tsp spices (Try cinnamon, ginger, cardamom, ground cloves, or a combination of any of these. Pumpkin Pie Spice also works well.)
1/4 cup Eggbeaters or egg whites
1/4 cup pumpkin puree
3/4 cup nonfat yogurt
4-5 oz fruit (diced) or berries

Mix Fiber One with water and let soak for 5 min or so until all the water is absorbed. Mash it up with a wooden spoon.

Blend remaining dry ingredients together in a bowl (flour, salt, Splenda, baking powder, baking soda, and spices).

Mix together wet ingredients (yogurt, Eggbeaters, pumpkin) and stir into dry mixture along with Fiber One just until lightly mixed. Do not overstir (this is Meg's warning, I've never had a problem with overstirring)!

Divide batter into 10 muffins in tin sprayed with PAM and bake at 375 until browned - about 20 minutes.

They make 10 nice-sized muffins at 80 calories per muffin (provided you don't add more than 100 calories' worth of fruit). For kids, you could make 20 mini-muffins. Not including the fruit, they have 2g fat, 17g carbs, 5.5g fiber, and 4g protein.

09-28-2008, 12:06 PM
Ok, now I think I want to make muffins today :D

I wonder if Sweet will see this thread? I just noticed that Jay said she moved it... oops.

Here is another recipe I wanted to share... I think these would be great for kids. I found them online, and the blogger included pics, and they looked divine. I plan to try them. You would have to figure the nutritional breakdown, but again, I think they would be a great homemade treat for kids (dessert)

Homemade protein bars
1/4 cup natural peanut butter (any nut butter would work)
1 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 teaspoons honey
2 tablespoons whipping cream
1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon stevia
pinch of sea salt
2 oz protein powder

Heat oven to 350 F. In a medium size microwave safe bowl, add the peanut butter, butter, and honey. Microwave for about a minute until warm and you can blend thoroughly. Add the vanilla, stevia, salt and cream and mix well. Mix in the protein powder. Really mash it to mix well. It will be kind of like shortbread dough.

Line a loaf pan with parchemnt paper. Press the mixture into the bottom of the loaf pan evenly. It is a very thin layer. Bake for about 10 minutes - you don't want it to brown. Remove from the loaf pan and cut into 4 pieces while it is still warm (that way they don't crumble).
Looks like this:

The texture is almost exactly like a shortbread cookie. I actually really like these. A little caloric, but would be a great sub if you want a cookie. Much healthier LOL!
I then melted a tablespoon of dark chocolate chips and spread over the top:

For an on-the-go meal, these are pretty good. With the chocolate, around 250 calories or so. YMMV depending on the brand of protein powder you use. I might replace the cream with milk next time. I also have a mind to try some PB2, should I get around to ordering any.

09-28-2008, 12:09 PM

Here is the link to those bars, so you can see a pic. I'm not low carbing, but don't they look like a yummy treat???

09-28-2008, 01:22 PM
When I was growing up my mom would give us a small baggie of peanuts and raisens mixed together. I know it's not a baked good, but it was a nice snack with a sweet taste and some protein. I used to love peanut butter on an apple or in celery as others have mentioned. Creme cheese (you could use fat free) is also really good in celery.

Good luck to you and your kids!

09-28-2008, 02:08 PM
Sunflower Chip Cookies

3/4 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup wheat germ
2 T dry milk powder
1/2 t baking soda

Mix together and set aside.

1/2 cup butter (softened)
1/2 cup brown sugar I agree with the posters that said to use real sugar in moderation~You could probably cut it back to 1/3 cup with no problem if you want them less sweet
1 egg
1/2 t vanilla

Cream together butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Mix in egg and vanilla. Stir in dry ingredients.

1 cup chocolate chips (or raisins)
1/2 cup shelled sunflower seeds (raw or roasted)
1/2 cup chopped peanuts (optional) I have never added these

Stir in and drop by rounded teaspoons on greased baking sheets. Bake in preheated oven at 350F for 8-12 minutes. Makes 3 dozen.

I use a 1T cookie scoop to make cookies and they work out to 68 calories per cookie that way. If these go too fast in your house you can freeze some, to help with portion control. Whenever I take these to parties people love them and don't notice they are healthier.

Honey Milk Balls

Combine in bowl:

1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup peanut butter
1 cup dry milk powder
1 cup uncooked rolled oats

Mix well, then knead by hand until blended. Shape into small balls. Roll in coconut or finely chopped nuts. Makes 2 dozen.

These are great to make with younger kids since there is no heat involved. I use my cookie scoop for these too. They end up at about 96 calories each.

I've also been seeing a lot of people (on different food blogs) talking about making healthier homemade potato chips in the microwave with no added fat. I haven't tried this, since we don't own a microwave, but it sounds like a cool idea. Here's a link:

09-28-2008, 02:41 PM
Here's the pumpkin muffin recipe that I posted recently. It's really yummy and dense and moist

Pumpkin Spice Muffins

Wet Ingredients:
1 15oz can solid pack pumpkin
2 large eggs
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
3/4 cup sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/8 tsp ground cloves
grating of fresh nutmeg

Dry Ingredients:
1.5 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt

preheat oven to 350deg F

Whisk together all the wet ingredients in a medium bowl until smooth.

Whisk together all the dry ingredients in a separate bowl until well combined.

Fold dry ingredients into wet ingredients, mixing gently by hand. Do not overmix. It's ok if the batter is lumpy. It will all bake out in the end, I promise.

Divide batter among muffin cups and bake until puffed and golden brown and wooden pick or skewer inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean, 35-40 minutes.

Cool in pan on a rack 5 minutes, then transfer muffins from pan to rack and cool completely before packaging and storing.

Makes 16 muffins. Each muffin is 110 cals and 1.7 g fat.

09-28-2008, 11:06 PM
Here is a great cookie recipe that can be made with at least 1/2 whole wheat flour. They taste like a soft, moist, sugar cookie. And the are kid-tested. A friend made them for her kids (with figs, even) and she said they were a huge hit.

Fruit Cookies
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup butter or light margarine
1/4 cup applesauce
1 egg
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground cloves (or try other spices, such as cinnamon)
1 cup fresh fruit (the original recipe called for chopped figs, but you could sub berries, nuts, or chocolate chips if your kids aren't fig eaters)

Cream sugar and butter together until light a fluffy. Add applesauce and egg and mix until well blended.

In another bowl, stir dry ingredients (except fruit). Add to sugar mixture and stir until combined. Fold in fruit.

Drop by spoonfuls onto a greased cookie sheet. Bake for 15-20 min at 350 degrees.

Makes about 36 cookies at about 60 calories per cookie (if made with fruit--nuts or chocolate chips will increase the calories, but for kids this probably isn't a big deal).

I tried making this recipe with Splenda and that did not work out. The sugar is needed to activate the baking soda. You could maybe try 1/2 cup of sugar and 1/2 cup Splenda. I'm also going to try using all Splenda and subbing 1/2 cup nonfat yogurt for the 1/4 cup butter and 1/4 cup applesauce. But I have no idea if this will work. The yogurt should activate the baking soda, but it won't provide the firmness that that the butter does, so the cookie batter might be more like muffin batter (which won't really work for drop cookies :lol:).

03-01-2009, 09:41 PM
This is a really old thread but I am really craving family friendly sweets as the girl scout cookies keep showing up.

I am not much of a baker but what about fruit? I loved apple crisp in the fall and winter- not sure how healthy but I think with the oatmeal topping and brown suger it could be made in a healthy version. Check out this website for "healthy" dessert ideas.

In the summer I love fresh fruit (kiwi, strawberries, black berries, pine apple) with low fat whip cream. Skinny cow ice cream products can be a nice treat and sorbet usually have less calories then ice cream.

03-01-2009, 10:01 PM
Fiber One Cookies:
1 1/2 C fiber one cereal
1/4 C peanut butter
1/4 C chocolate chips

Microwave chocolate chips and peanut butter together in a microwave safe bowl for 1 minute, stirring every 30 seconds. Pour mixture over fiber one. Mix until cereal is coated. Divide mixture into 8 cookies onto a baking sheet. Refrigerate until chocolate is hard (at least 15 minutes).

**** These are delicious! They do use real chocolate, but by the time you divide 1/4 C choc. chips by 8 servings, it's very little chocolate. I make a batch of these every weekend, they are my favorite dessert! ****

11-07-2009, 05:57 PM
Pillsbury Banana Muffin (boxed) mix
1/2 Can (real) pumpkin (in place of oil)
Egg Beaters (in place of eggs)
2 ripe bananas
4 TB sugar free Hershey's choc chips
Fat free milk
chopped walnuts

Makes a dozen large super nutritious yummy muffins!

11-09-2009, 12:00 PM
Here is my story...

I joined WW in '05 and had weight loss success. I lost 47 pounds in a little under a year. However, their food choices and recipes are heavy with Splenda but I was foolishly shooting for low points and shaved them anywhere I could. Everything in my house was S/F, F/F and LOADED with Splenda.

I lost weight but boy did I get something else I never expected! My GB all but exploded and the lining of my stomach nearly ate itself. I developed IBS and was miserable for over a year. I had every test imaginable and was poked and prodded beyond belief and found nothing. So I began researching health and nutrition and bingo! You cannot believe the bad news that pops up regarding Splenda.

I immediately eliminated it cold turkey and pitched I dont know how much boxed, pre-packaged, Splenda laden food. I try to stay Splenda free and use real, raw sugar sparingly. It's in everything so it is hard to avoid. I try to shop / cook from the outer rim of the grocery store and eat whole, healthful foods that dont have much if anything added to them.

IMO Splenda is very bad and should be avoided for general good health and well being AND weightloss. I know that sounds counter intuitive but it makes sense really. Since Splenda came out....the nations obesity epidemic has gone off the charts! With so many products having Splenda in them, shouldnt that trend have gone the other way? Sugar...real sugar gets a bad wrap and rightly so most days. But...Splenda...this miracle we all waited actually WORSE for you than sugar!

I highly recommend that you research this sweetener before you fill your cupboards with it and give it to your children. I understand how important weight loss is but your health should never be sacrificed for it.