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 The Low Carb Luxury Online Magazine   Low Carb Connoisseur
    September 2004    Page 3       > About LCL Magazine     > Cover Page      > Inside Cover    Feature Pages:   1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8   9   10   11  12  13  14     

Feature Articles
 Want to Lose the Fat?
 Great Breakfast Ideas!
 Snack Attack!
 Personal Complicity
 Here's What's New!
 Ouch! Handling Pain
 Jonny Bowden Weighs In
 Industry Interview
 The Art of Quitting
 15 Tips for Kissable Lips
 Yes, We Eat Vegetables!
 Fall Fashion Trends
 Rediscovering Hamburger!
 Restaurant Snapshot




                 Make it Low Carb! by Joan Hedman


I caught some flak in my mailbag after my last column wherein I mentioned that I give my kids pasta:

"I'm sure you know that the reason adults are struggling with obesity is because as children we were fed high carbohydrate foods such as pasta. Certainly we want a better nutritional life for them."

Well, we're all familiar with how over-consumption of high carb foods contributes to obesity. But it's important to keep in mind that people with normal, healthy metabolisms can incorporate moderate amounts of high carb foods into their diets. The majority of children are not insulin resistant, and with the appropriate diet, they need never become that way.

There's nothing inherently evil about semolina pasta, or whole grain bread; my kids eat minimally processed grain products every day. Reasonable portions of grains don't worry me all that much, as long as the way we're eating them is not too far removed from how they grew. I'm more concerned and vigilant about high fructose corn syrup and hydrogenated oils. Research shows that high fructose corn syrup fails to trigger appetite suppressant hormones, leaving folks hungry long after they've consumed adequate calories, and it has also been linked to a host of others metabolic problems. As for hydrogenated oils, Dr William Sears, on his website, commented that they "are one of the biggest contributors to childhood and adult obesity and heart disease."

In an ideal world, I'd be able to give my kids low-sugar, healthful snacks like:

  • apple or pear wedges, peeled and tossed in a little orange or lemon juice to prevent browning
  • cucumber slices or pickles
  • celery sticks stuffed with cream cheese
  • carrot sticks or baby carrots with a small container of ranch dressing for dip
  • BabyBel mini cheeses, or cubes of cheese
  • cut up melon
  • strawberries with whipped cream cheese dip

apple Alas, with the exception of apple slices, my finicky kids simply won't eat this stuff when they're at school. Maybe they just don't like it, but at home they'll eat it because they know they have to. Maybe they're too distracted by socializing with their friends. Maybe they don't have enough time to chew it all up... this list could go on forever.

Obviously, then, the most important criteria for a bring-to-school snack is that, whatever it is, it must be something that they will eat. Next up, it must be something that they can eat: not too messy, not too chewy, not too complicated.

It's important to be realistic when sending food to school with your child. You have absolutely no control over whether or not they will eat it, and there is no way to impose such a control. You just have to hope for the best.

Experience has taught me that I have no choice but to send in more traditional carb-laden snacks, or else risk having starving kids with very short attention spans and even shorter tempers.

Pepperidge Farm Goldfish Crackers So I pack reasonable servings of chips, cookies, crackers, or pretzels in zipper sandwich bags. Don't panic, now... I don't just grab a bag of Fritos and a box of Oreos and go. I'm a compulsive label reader, and my kids learned early that we don't buy Chips Ahoy! because they "have bad stuff in them."

I'm heartened by the recent trend away from trans fats — Pepperidge Farm Goldfish Crackers now advertise that they are "trans fat free!" even though partially hydrogenated oils are still an ingredient! The snack food industry definitely has a way to go before they're offering truly healthy choices.

Editor's Note: Pepperidge Farm, and many other companies that proclaim trans fat free are actually less than 1/2 gram trans fat per serving, and are not zero trans fat. In fact, they often use unrealistically arrived at serving sizes to allow themselves this labeling freedom.

When I shop for snack foods for my kids, I look for:

  • No hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oils
  • No high fructose corn syrup
  • No soy protein (developing bodies don't need phytoestrogens)
  • Whole grains
  • Sweeteners that appear significantly late in the ingredient list

I'm consider myself lucky to be able to do the bulk of my grocery shopping at Trader Joe's, where trans fats and high fructose corn syrup have been all but abolished and the prices are very reasonable. When I'm away from home, I find myself shopping in the Organic and Natural Foods sections of the supermarket; the prices are steeper but I can generally find what I'm looking for.

Two things I don't recommend for school snacking: First, nuts of any kind, because nut allergies seem to be more common these days, and they can be deadly. Some classrooms even ban peanut butter. I also advise against raisins, dried fruit, fruit leathers, or "fruit snacks." These are poor choices for snacks not just because they are nearly 100% sugar, but also because they are sticky. Eating sticky sweet foods carries the double whammy of delivering a sugar wallop while at the same time leaving young teeth exposed to a greater risk of decay. Better choices include more complex carbohydrates that are more slowly absorbed and don't imperil teeth.

When I have time, I like to bake for (and with) my kids. They'll usually at least taste something they had a hand in creating, although they oftentimes won't eat more than that taste. In my experience, it is better to retain some healthy high carb ingredients to improve texture and taste when baking for picky children. The recipe below works well for children because the oatmeal, while upping the carb count considerably, adds a delightful chewiness to the texture. So while these bars are not low carb, they are certainly lower carb, and much better for your kids than a store-bought granola bar. As my little ones would say, "They have no bad stuff in them!"

Oatmeal Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Bars
24 bars

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
  • 1 cup Splenda
  • 2 tablespoons blackstrap molasses
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup all natural peanut butter
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • 1 1/4 cups vanilla whey protein powder (Designer Whey)
  • 2 tablespoons vital wheat gluten flour
  • 2 tablespoons oat flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • ? teaspoon salt
  • 3 cups quick or old fashioned oats, uncooked (not instant)
  • 1 cup chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Line a 9x13 pan with heavy-duty aluminum foil to make clean up easier.

In a large mixing bowl, beat the sweeteners into the butter until light and fluffy. Add the eggs and vanilla and mix well. Stir in the peanut butter. In a separate bowl, combine the protein powder, flours, baking soda, and salt, then add this mixture to the large bowl and mix well. Add the oats and chocolate chips, stir well to combine.

Pour the mixture into the prepared pan, and press the dough down all around to level it. Pay particular attention to the corners. Bake for 15-18 minutes. Don't overbake these or they will be dry? they'll still taste good, but you'll want to dunk them in milk!

Cool completely, then use the foil to lift the bars out of the pan. Cut with a heavy-bladed knife, as these are quite dense. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator or freezer.

E-mail me with questions, comments, or requests. Thanks!


Copyright © September 2004  Joan Hedman and Low Carb Luxury


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