Healthy Fruit Gummies Recipe
I was recently preparing a display on the amount of added sugars found in packaged foods which led me to spend a lot of time in the snack aisle checking out the various granola bars, toaster pastries, and fruit snacks. As a kid I really enjoyed fruit snacks and they seem to still be a popular item for lunchboxes. I had recently started making fruit gummies for my husband and I as part of a gut healing protocol I was trying out and decided to take a peek at the fruit snacks in the store to see how they stacked up. I grabbed a box of the Welch’s Berries ’N Cherries Fruit Snacks, a brand I recall eating as a kid. The front of the box proudly stated:
“Fruit is our 1st Ingredient!”
“Made with Real Fruit!”
“Excellent Source of Vitamins A, C & E”
Wow! That sounds pretty good, right?! As I teach my clients, you can’t always believe the health claims made on the package, be sure to check the ingredient list and nutrition facts. So I turned the box to take a look…
Ingredients: Fruit puree (pear, peach, strawberry, raspberry, blackberry, blueberry and cherry), corn syrup, sugar, modified corn starch, modified tapioca starch, gelatin, pectin, citric acid (acidulant), lactic acid, natural and artificial flavors, ascorbic acid (vitamin C), alpha tocopherol acetate (vitamin E), vitamin A palmitate, sodium citrate, coconut oil, carnauba wax, red 40, and blue 1.
Nutrition Facts (serving size is 1 pouch): 70 calories, 17 grams carbohydrates, including 8 grams of added sugars (2 teaspoons worth!), 1 gram of protein, 0 grams fat.
Sure, fruit is the first ingredient, but the next two ingredients are added sugars, then various starches, artificial flavors and vitamins, carnauba wax, and artificial food dyes. Red #40 contains a substance called benzidene, which is a known carcinogen (Dessy, 2013).
I started going through the other brands on the shelf and unfortunately none faired much better than the Welch’s, with some being even worse (I’m looking at you Annie’s Organic Bunny Fruit Snacks). What a bummer. But, it was the perfect opportunity to demonstrate how I strive to find healthier alternatives to my client’s favorite foods and snacks! These Welch’s fruit snacks were going in my added sugar display and I was going to offer samples of my healthy, homemade fruit gummies at the WNY WellFest to show people how easy it can be to eat tasty and nutritious foods!
Lemon-Raspberry Gelatin Gummies
Prep time: ~5min
Cook Time: ~15min
Makes approximately 22-24 gummies
- 3/4 cup lemon juice (I like this brand)
- 1 cup frozen organic raspberries
- 3 tablespoons organic raw honey
- 1/4 cup grass-fed gelatin (I like this brand)
- Place lemon juice and raspberries in a blender and blend on high until completely mixed. If the mixture is too thick (sometimes my blender stops working) add a tiny bit of water to thin it out. You don’t want it super watery, but it should also be nice and smooth in texture. Pour into a saucepan.
- Add the honey and gelatin and whisk together. I’ve found adding the gelatin powder slowly and mixing as I go helps eliminate lumps. You will have a thick paste. Turn the heat on low to low/medium, and continue to whisk the mixture for about 5-10 minutes, until it becomes thin and everything is incorporated. Remove from the heat.
- Pour into silicone molds or a small baking dish. Set in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour to firm up. (I used this mold)
- If you used a small baking dish, cut into bite-sized squares. Otherwise, remove the gummies from their molds and enjoy!
*I’ve made these gummies with 1 cup of frozen mixed berries as well and can’t decide which I prefer! If you sampled these at the WNY WellFest you tried the mixed berry version. I think the raspberry only are a little more tart.
Storage: I keep these gummies in a glass container in my fridge. They should hold up fine in a lunchbox, especially if you toss in an ice pack.
Health Benefits of Homemade Fruit Gummies
100% Grass-Fed Beef Gelatin: Gelatin is a cooked form of collagen and is made by boiling animal bones, cartilage and skin. Collagen is the most abundant protein found in humans and animals and contains several amino acids which are the building blocks of proteins. Collagen and gelatin have virtually the same nutritional composition and are abundant in the amino acids glycine, proline, valine, hydroxyproline, and glutamic acid. Glutamic acid is converted to glutamine in the body and is very important for overall gut health. It serves as a source of fuel for the cells lining the intestines, and it improves the integrity of the gut wall and helps prevent “leaky gut.” Regularly consuming collage and gelatin may also help improve the signs of aging, improve joint and bone health, and speed up the healing process in conditions such as exercise-induced joint pain, osteoarthritis, and tendonitis.
Lemon Juice: Lemon juice is high in vitamin C, an important antioxidant which is needed for the growth and repair of tissues throughout your body. Vitamin C is essential for the formation of collagen fibers and cell differentiation in the body.
Raw Organic Honey: Raw organic honey is a natural sweetener that contains more minerals than refined sugar. It offers small amounts of magnesium and potassium, and trace amounts of copper, manganese, zinc, and some B vitamins as well as several antioxidant compounds. Antioxidants help neutralize reactive oxygen species (ROS) in your body which can build up in cells and cause damage. Damage can contribute to conditions like premature aging, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease (Cianciosi et al., 2018). Excessive heat can have detrimental effects on the nutritional value of honey so be sure to use low heat when preparing these gummies!
Organic Raspberries/Berries: Berries are loaded with antioxidants which help keep free radicals and cell damage and inflammation under control. They are also high in fiber which is important for the health of our gut microbiome and helps with elimination. Berries provide may vitamins and mineral and are an especially good sources of vitamin C (see lemon juice above for benefits).
Nutritional Facts for 5 of my Heart Shaped Raspberry-Lemon Gummies: 83 calories, 5.5 grams of protein, 0.3 grams of fat, 16.7 grams of carbohydrates, 1.5 grams of fiber, 13 grams of added sugars (but they are from honey, a natural sweetener that offers some nutritional value over sugar).
These gummies are a much healthier option than the store bought brands AND they are more satisfying! Take a look at the picture I shared comparing the size of the homemade gummies versus what comes in 1 pouch of Welch’s Fruit Snacks! If you wadded up the 11 tiny Welch’s fruit snacks they would still be smaller than just one of my gummies! Plus with the homemade gummies you are getting more protein, vitamins, minerals, and fiber for nearly the same number of calories and carbohydrates.
Give these gummies a try and let me know what you family thinks of them!
Need more help finding healthy alternatives to your families favorite foods? That’s what I’m here for! Call or e-mail me to schedule your complimentary Nourish to Flourish Strategy Session to see how I can help you!
Cianciosi, D., Forbes-Hernández, T. Y., Afrin, S., Gasparrini, M., Reboredo-Rodriguez, P., Manna, P. P., Zhang, J., Bravo Lamas, L., Martínez Flórez, S., Agudo Toyos, P., Quiles, J. L., Giampieri, F., & Battino, M. (2018). Phenolic Compounds in Honey and Their Associated Health Benefits: A Review. Molecules (Basel, Switzerland), 23(9), 2322. https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules23092322
Dessy, M. (2017). Your colorful diet. The pantry principle (pp46-54). Willlis, TX: Versadia Press.