This is going to be the first Easter my son will “get it.” You know, get it that he's not going to be eating the same sugary/processed stuff as everyone else. Yes, we are definitely at that age.
I've always had ways to navigate food well when he was younger. For example, his school would do bread day and I'd make him an alternative bread. Not only is he getting older, but we're entering a time when sugary treats are being displayed with enough regularity that he's beginning to ask.
We've chatted about food choices and the importance of whole foods to help us grow and learn. We keep the conversations casual and do our best not to vilify foods, but instead try to instill the idea that we need to honor our bodies and listen to their messages, especially around food.
But he's 3.
And as lovely as I'd like to make our conscious eating conversations sound, he beginning to suspect that he might be missing out. In fact, he knows now that other kids have candy on a regular basis.
Again he's 3. He observes and questions everything.
In my best attempt to not sound like a judgmental or pretentious parent (although you might be thinking this about me now), I try to explain the effects of sugar, caloric density, and long term outcomes.
I forgot for a moment I was talking to a 3 year old. Sheesh!
Tummy troubles. Aha! That one he gets and so we dove into discussing tummy troubles caused by sugar. He's really into knowing what his body does right now. “Mama, tell me about blood.” That beautiful one-liner came to us over dinner last night. Not even a bit ashamed to say, I LOVED it! But this is the kind of curiosity this conversation needed.
So, I explain. He listens and questions me further. And all is resolved and well in the world for at least 30 seconds…because again, 3 year old.
Despite my concerns surrounding the ever-encroaching world of sugary and processed foods, I still want my son to have some fun on Easter and not feel left out. I have to remember that although these events may seem trivial to me, they are the world to him.
And with that, I will set out to make an amazing protein-packed, nutrient dense meal to fill his little tummy up before embarking on the day. And I will also be making these whole food version of marshmallows.
Fingers crossed I never have to explain Peeps! I hope you enjoy these delicious marshmallows from my friend, Natasha from The Feisty Kitchen
~Dr. Jolene Brighten, ND
Easy Easter Marshmallows
1 cup water, separated into 1/2 cup
3 tbsp grass fed gelatin (such as Great Lakes or Vital Proteins)
1 cup maple syrup (or honey will work)
1/4 tsp Himalayan sea salt
arrowroot or tapioca powder for dusting pan
freeze dried berries for coating
coconut oil spray
In stand mixer, add 1/2 cup water and sprinkle with the collagen. Let sit to allow to bloom.
Spray 9×9 pan with coconut oil, then line with parchment paper and have a little overlapping each side so it's easy to remove. Lightly dust with arrowroot or tapioca starch.
Meanwhile, in a saucepan with candy thermometer attached to the side, add 1/2 cup water, maple syrup, sea salt. Cook over medium heat until thermometer reaches about 235-240F. Watch carefully as the mixture is prone to bubbling over! This may take anywhere from 8-12 minutes depending on burner output.
Turn on mixer low, and carefully add hot sugar mixture to the side, not directly onto whisk attachment. Once liquid is all in, slowly increase speed to high and watch as the color begins to lighten and the volume becomes fluffy. This may take about 10 minutes.
Pour into prepared pan and smooth surface with back of spatula. Let marshmallows set up for 4 hours to overnight. When ready, remove from pan, using a knife coated with starch, cut into squares. At this point you can sprinkle with any additional powder you like, such as, freeze-dried berries that are ground up in food processor or spice grinder, cacao powder. You may also dip in melted dark chocolate for a fun variation!