“Healthy” Little Lies

When I first began my privilege of teaching Sunday school at Beit Miriam, I knew I was accepting a huge responsibility. I would now be responsible for 12 precious children learning to count tzedakah and learn the alphabet in Hebrew. In addition, I would be responsible for providing a safe and joyful Judaic environment and giving the little munchkins a gift — teaching the blessings we say before we eat our snacks.

Snack time in Pre k 4 is a huge deal. Hands are washed, and tushies are quickly placed on chairs without extra nudging. “Morah Sherri,” what are we having today?

As a nutrition health coach, I feel a sense of responsibility to ensure the food I provide is made with real ingredients that even a child could pronounce. We are not having any snack foods targeted to children as “healthy” when they are anything but nutritious.

A typical school snack pantry has many items that appear to be “better for you.” Think about your snacks at home. Veggie Sticks? Lunchables? Fruit snacks? Chewy Granola Bars?

All those products are marketed to seem like easy and healthy choices but genuinely are not. I won’t belabor the point, but I will provide an example. A popular lower sugar chocolate chip granola bar has these ingredients: Granola, whole grain oats, brown sugar, brown rice crisp [whole grain brown rice flour, sugar, salt], whole grain wheat, soybean oil, dried coconut, whole wheat flour, baking soda, soy lecithin, nonfat dry milk, corn syrup, semisweet chocolate chips (sugar, chocolate liquor, cocoa butter, soy lecithin, vanilla extract, sunflower oil, corn syrup solids, inulin, polydextrose, glycerin. Contains 2% or less of: calcium carbonate, invert sugar, salt, molasses, diacetyl tartaric acid ester of monoglycerides, tocopherols (to preserve freshness), natural flavor, soybean oil.

Not only does it contain an inflammatory soybean GMO oil, it has sugar added to it as sugar, brown sugar, corn syrup, polydextrose, and molasses, and contains DATEM (diacetyl tarteric acid ester of monoglycerides) which is a banned from anything sold at Whole Foods Markets. It’s very misleading.

Ingredients make all the difference to our health. They are more critical than worrying specifically about calories or convenience. Last week a client told me how shocked she was that her digestive issues had disappeared after switching up some of her staple foods with ones made with simple ingredients she knew!

Barukh ata Adonai Eloheinu melekh ha’olam hamotzi lehem min ha’aretz.

Blessed are You, Lord our God, Ruler of the universe, who brings forth bread from the earth.

This Sunday at Beit Miriam, when pre-k 4 recites the motzi, it will be a blessing over bread made from real ingredients from the earth that even our ancestors would recognize.

Try my recipe for homemade granola bars. Wrap them individually to make them even easier to grab.


2 cups organic sprouted oats

1 cup roughly chopped almonds

⅓ cup local honey

¼ cup dark brown sugar

¼ cup organic grass-fed unsalted butter 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 teaspoon cinnamon

¼ teaspoon kosher salt

2 tablespoons ground flaxseed

¼ cup Enjoy Life mini chocolate chips


1. Preheat the oven to 350°F and line a rimmed half baking sheet with parchment paper.

2. Spread the oats and chopped almonds in an even layer on the prepared baking sheet and bake until light brown and toasty, stirring regularly, about 10-15 minutes.

3. Line an 8” x 8” baking pan with parchment paper.

4. While the oats and almonds are toasting, combine the honey, brown sugar, and butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat and stir until melted. Stir in salt, cinnamon, and vanilla, then fold in the toasted oats mixture and ground flaxseed until evenly distributed.

5. Scrape into the prepared baking pan and spread out evenly.

6. Sprinkle chocolate chips over the oats


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