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Sugary snacks are bad for humans, and also snails

I’m sitting here at the kitchen table with one tween, one teen and four snails for company.

Everyone has a project they’re working on but the snails seem to have the best deal. The girls have made them impressive homes with lots of sticks, leaves and eco-friendly obstacles for adventures. They’ve created a “snail feeding schedule” so they have a healthy rotation of vegetables and fruit. I was hoping they’d create a “mom feeding schedule” too, but no luck so far.

As pets go, these might be the best option yet. Mango and Chutney live in one snail house and Lentil and Bean live in another. Given that the rabbits are called Sugar and Oreo, I feel like we’ve made some strides here. There’s also no cleaning out, no walks and no long-term commitment issues! The only problem is, you can’t cuddle a snail ….

The kids are so enamoured in fact, that I got a telling off when I was caught trying to feed a tomato to the wrong snail on the wrong day.

“They can’t have too much sugar!!” I was told. And yep, it was impossible to resist the teachable moment.

Last week we talked here about how humans frequently forget that they are animals. Animals (as we think of them) don’t thrive on junk, but humans don’t either. And OK, we might admit that we don’t “thrive” on junk, but that doesn’t stop most of us eating it. My kids are no exception. They are such healthy eaters when it comes to meal times, but the snacks really can cause a problem.

Many of us find that the snacks we reach for are sugary. It’s a quick way to get an energy boost and the feel-good factor that comes from sugar makes it a very common go-to. The thing is, if you eat sugar by itself, the energy crash afterwards can feel pretty rubbish. The trick instead is to try and go lower sugar and include lots of fibre and protein, both of which can steady sugar release.

One of the best little snacks for kids are the Made Good bars but they can get expensive and it’s sometimes fun to make your own. This recipe has been a huge hit in our house. I had to start with quite a lot of maple syrup but I’ve been able to wean them down over time. The nuts and seeds provide lots of protein – and you could use seeds only if you need to make this nut-free.

Let’s face it, this is never going to be as healthy as a steamed bowl of veggies so you still have to eat those too, but it’s a pretty good option for when you need an energy fix. Enjoy!

Pecan and banana granola bars


1/2 cup Earth Balance Vegan Margarine

1/4 cup extra virgin coconut oil

1 cup maple syrup (you can reduce this and use more banana)

1 pinch salt

1 large very ripe banana, mashed

2 1/2 cups oats (gluten-free if need be)

1 cup Linwoods sunflower, pumpkin, flax, sesame and goji berry ground seed mix (Miles)*

1/2 cup Linwoods Hemp mix (Miles)*

1/2 cup pecans, finely chopped or whizzed in the food processor*

* You could use any combination of nuts/seeds here. The trick is to go for a combination as that bumps up the available protein. I use whatever I have in the cupboards!


1. Preheat the oven to 350F. Oil a square (for deep bars) or rectangular pan (for shallow bars) with coconut oil.

2. Melt the margarine, coconut oil, maple syrup and salt in a large pan over a very low heat.

3. When melted, stir in the mashed banana and turn off the heat.

4. Stir in the oats and your choice of seed/nut mixes. Make sure everything is evenly coated.

5. Press into your pan and bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until the sides have gone darker and a little crunchy and the top is more golden.

6. Cool completely before cutting. Keep in the fridge!

Note: You can also press this into mini muffin pans (oiled) for bite-sized/lunch box-sized treats! Cook for approximately 10 minutes.

Catherine Burns is a qualified nutritional therapist. For more details: www.natural.bm, 505-4725, Natural Nutrition Bermuda on Facebook and @naturalbda on Instagram

Catherine Burns promises her pecan and banana granola bars are a real treat

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Published September 17, 2021 at 7:59 am (Updated September 17, 2021 at 7:54 am)

Sugary snacks are bad for humans, and also snails

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