When I visit with kids as part of my work to deliver nutrition education programs, the kids are often surprised that I allow sweet treats.
This strategy is something I learned from my work with the nonprofit Nurture, where we avoid referring to foods as “good” and “bad,” but instead call them “go foods” and “slow foods”.
The idea is that kids know deep down what the best fuel is for their bodies. “Go foods” give you energy and are things like vegetables, fruits, protein, whole grains, and healthy fats.
Slow foods, well, when you eat too much of them, they can slow you down.
I consider ice cream to be a “slow food”, but I think that it is wise to avoid shame around foods (by calling them “bad”) and instead look for opportunities to educate, inspire, and give choice.
So when I had an opportunity to be part of a classroom where ice cream would be served, I asked the kids:
“What would you rather eat?”
Option 1: Something made from: eggs, sugar, milk, cream, and vanilla (ingredients for home-made ice cream)
Option 2: Something made from: skim milk, cream, sugar, corn syrup, molasses, acacia gum, guar gum, carob bean gum, carrageenan, xanthan gum, natural flavors (with vanilla extract)*, annatto color
*”with” vanilla? What else is in there? “Natural” flavors is an umbrella category for all kinds of substances, including those made from petroleum. Did I read four kinds of gums? Anyway…Option 2 was a popular store-bought brand of vanilla ice cream.
Which option do you think won hands down? Option 1!
So we made this in class using an ice cream maker, and the kids learned a valuable lesson about reading ingredients on labels and enjoying sweet treats in moderation. The ice cream was sooooo good, the kids didn't need to over-indulge.
Now, you might be thinking, “I’m not going to take the time to make my own ice cream!”.
Well, I’m here to convince you that you can. It takes about 5 minutes to assemble the ingredients and beat them up. Your kids will probably help you. Then you put the ingredients in an ice cream maker, and it does the rest of the work for you. (My own kids stand over the ice cream maker while it freezes). I even found an ice cream maker –an excellent Cuisinart brand– that was nearly half off, and available through Amazon Prime.
– 2 eggs*
– 2/3 cup sugar
– 1 ¾ cups milk
– 2 cups cream
– 2 tsp. vanilla
Directions: Beat eggs and sugar with an electric mixer until thick and cream-colored. Add milk, cream, and vanilla. Mix well. Then add to your ice cream maker (you will have kept the base in the freezer overnight so that it is nice and cold), and you will have ice cream in about 20 minutes! Enjoy!
*to serve this recipe at school, I went the very safe route and used an egg substitute product instead of eggs, since you don’t cook the mixture. However, I make this recipe with real eggs all the time at home. Just make sure you buy great quality and fresh eggs.
Want to learn how “Food Feelings” affect your health and how to eat for optimal energy and well-being? Please check out this FREE Make Nutrition Fun Course on teachable!