Whole Food Homestead

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Whole Food Toddler Snack Series: Gummies

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What’s great about these gummies, besides the fact that they are soooo easy, portable, clean and well loved by toddlers everywhere, is that they are made with pure collagen gelatin from grass-fed animals. Like all foods, quality here matters. The most readily available, high quality gelatin I’ve found is Great Lakes Gelatin. You can find it on Amazon or in many natural food stores. (More on the wonders of gelatin below.) The only other ingredients are fruit juice and honey. Any sort of juice will do, but if you want to go all-out whole food, go for it and use a juicer or blender to make your own fresh juice. Blending will of course retain all the fiber in the produce as well, giving you a thicker substance than regular fruit juice. If you go this route, add some water or store bought juice to thin it out to a smoothie consistency. If you use fresh juice or raw honey (both recommended!), be sure to keep the heat at the lowest temperature possible when dissolving the gelatin in order to preserve the enzyme and vitamin content as much as possible.

So, what’s the big deal with gelatin? Let me tell you!

About Gelatin

  1. Gelatin is loaded with protein.  11 grams per tablespoon! Gelatin is not a complete protein, but it does contain 18 amino acids, many of them essential, which makes gelatin a great source of vital nutrients. Furthermore – and this is really amazing – gelatin is a protein “sparer,” which means it allows the body to more fully utilize complete proteins (such as muscle meats). In short, this means that when we consume complete proteins along with gelatin (so please note, it’s important to eat both), we can actually eat less of it and get the same benefit (about 20% less). So if you’re trying to stretch the grocery budget, or your kids don’t eat much meat, gelatin is key! (source)
  2. Gelatin improves digestion. Gelatin is a “peptogenic” substance, meaning it produces pepsin – the principal digestive component of gastric juice. So by consuming gelatin, you are aiding your body’s digestive process, helping food to move through your system more easily. Gelatin also coats and soothes the digestive tract, relieving various GI problems.
  3. Gelatin heals.   The amino acids found in gelatin do a lot of important work in our bodies, including reducing inflammation, building strong bones, joints, skin and teeth, detoxifying the liver and healing the digestive tract, the latter of which houses 70% of our immune systems and when damaged can be the source of [ever increasing] food intolerances and other health and developmental problems (source 1, source 2).
  4. Gelatin can improve your quality of sleep. Gelatin contains the amino acid glycine, which among many other essential roles has been shown in clinical studies to improve sleep. Not only that – test subjects also reported less daytime drowsiness and better cognitive function (source). So make sure you save some gummies for yourself too!

Wondering about more ways to get gelatin into your diet? I’m sure that very soon I’ll be making a real effort to talk you into making your own chicken broth (loaded with gelatin and other goodies), so stay tuned! There are also techniques for improving sauces, soups and stews, plus jello and pudding treats – anyone interested in those? Let me know!

Gotta love simple ingredients


Print Recipe
Made with real collagen gelatin, these gummies provide many essential nutrients.
6-8 cups
6-8 cups
Print Recipe
Made with real collagen gelatin, these gummies provide many essential nutrients.
6-8 cups
6-8 cups
  • 1 tsp oil
  • 3 cups juice
  • 1/2 cup pure collagen gelatin Great Lakes is a great brand - buy the red canister
  • 1/4-1/3 cup honey 1/4 cup will be mildly sweet - older or pickier eaters may prefer 1/3 cup.
Servings: cups
  1. Prepare two 9x13" pans by greasing lightly - it works well to dab some oil on a paper towel and rub it around. You only need an extremely light coating. You can use larger or smaller pans - only the thickness of the gummies will be affected.
  2. Pour juice into a sauce pan over low heat. When the juice is at about room temperature, start to slowly pour in the gelatin while whisking. Whisk constantly to avoid clumps. Continue to warm the juice until the gelatin dissolves - the mixture should go from grainy to completely smooth.
  3. Once the gelatin is dissolved, add honey and whisk until dissolved. Remove from heat.
  4. Pour mixture into prepared pans and place in the fridge for a couple hours or the freezer for about 10 minutes to set. Cut into cubes with a sharp knife and scoop out with a spatula. Enjoy!
Recipe Notes

These will keep in the fridge for 1-2 weeks or indefinitely in the freezer. If you freeze them, you must thaw them in the refrigerator or at room temp - using the microwave will melt them. Although they should be refrigerated for storage, it's no problem to have these at room temp for much of the day if you are on the go.

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  1. With my six grandchildren arriving from Texas in a few short days finding this recipe is perfect. They all eat GF but as they are growing children they are always interested in snacks. Thanks for this wholistic, natural, healthy and appealing option! Keep up your intentionally nutritious approach! Ann

  2. Have you ever used pureed fruit instead of juice? We rarely have juice on hand, but I was wondering how a fruit puree might change the texture/consistency.

    • Yes, it definitely does work. I’ve used frozen berries, which are pretty watery already, but you can just thin with water a bit if it’s looking really thick. If you were going to make gummies out of a thick purée, you’d want to cut the gelatin down. Let us know if you have success and what ratios you used!

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