Brainy Fruit Roll-Ups, 2 Ways

Healthy Fruit Leather

One of my favourite childhood snacks was Fruit Roll-Ups. 

I loved to twirl them around my (probably not the cleanest) little fingers, and slowly eat them off my hands. Since you are reading this recipe, and may be familiar with NeuroTrition, you are probably thinking this is a little (or a lot) gross. But maybe, just maybe, you are also having flashbacks of doing the same when you were younger. While I would never recommend the store-bought variety to our clients, I do have to say there is something so delightfully nostalgic about Fruit Roll-Ups. And I really wanted to re-create them for our paediatric clients (and those who are still young at heart).

Four of my pet peeves with the store-bought variety are the 1) high sugar content, 2) lack of healthy fats or proteins, 3) use of artificial colourings and 4) damage they cause to the microbiome. And these four pet peeves are all shown in the scientific literature to significantly impact developing brains (and coinciding moods, energy and behaviour). So, I wanted to create our own brain-hacked, elevated version and deliciously address these factors:

  1. The sugar in our fruit leather comes from low glycemic berries and gala apples (or, pear in our “green” veggie version).
  2. We brought in some brain loving fats and protein with raw hemp hearts.
  3. Our version doesn’t need any artificial colourings — just those from real fruits and veggies here!
  4. Every single one of our ingredients is a bona fide prebiotic, which means it contains the perfect resistant starch fibre that is the favourite food for your good gut bugs!

I hope your kids (and you!) enjoy our Brainy Fruit Roll-Ups — wrapping them on your finger is optional (although science says that eating a little dirt can be great for seeding your microbiome)!

Brainy Fruit Roll-Ups, 2 Ways
Yield: 20 Brainy Fruit Roll-Ups
Prep: 20 minutes
Cooking: 4 hours
Ingredients
  • 1/2 cup fresh strawberries* 
  • 1/3 cup fresh raspberries* 
  • 1 gala apple, peeled, cored and sliced 
  • 1/3 cup fresh blueberries*
  • 1 Tbsp raw hemp hearts**

OR
 

  • 1 carrot, peeled and diced 
  • 1/2 cup fresh strawberries* 
  • 1 pear, peeled, cored and sliced
  • 1 large handful spinach 
  • 1 Tbsp raw hemp hearts**
Method
  1. Preheat oven to 170°F. 
  2. Prep a baking sheet by placing parchment paper over the whole thing (including edges). Use a smaller, square 9x9 cake pan to make your Brainy Fruit Roll-Up thicker so it will roll-up easier!
  3. In a blender, puree fruit (and veggies, if making the second option) until smooth, then strain through a small strainer to remove seeds. 
  4. Sprinkle on the hemp hearts.**
  5. Spread over baking sheet and cook for 3-4 hours (you will know it is cooked when it pulls from edges, is dry, and is starting to curl).
  6. Using a sharp knife or kitchen scissors, slice and roll-up!***
Notes

*If you want to use frozen berries, go for it! Just be sure to thaw them first, before you use them.

**If your little one isn’t a fan of hemp seeds (yet!) you can omit them from the recipe (just keep in mind, your Brainy Fruit Roll-Up will no longer have the added healthy fat and protein).

***These will keep for up to two weeks on the counter, and four weeks in the fridge. It is not advised to freeze them.

Brainy Bites
LET'S DIG IN AND MAKE SOME OF THE SCIENCE EASIER TO DIGEST!

Blueberries

  • Their brainy compounds may be an important nutritional intervention for age-related neurodegenerative diseases like Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s.
  • Blueberry juice is shown to improve learning and memory, balance blood sugar (even though they taste so sweet, they won’t mess with your blood sugar because they are low glycemic) and even reduce depressive symptoms.

Hemp Hearts:

  • Read our blog to learn all the science behind this brainy little seed!

Pears:

  • They have a low glycemic index and glycemic load so will not spike (then inevitably crash) your blood sugar. Rather, pears balance your blood sugar which means more stable, steady energy and mood for you ALL DAY LONG. Say goodbye to the blood sugar roller coaster and feeling HANGRY for good!

Apples:

  • One of their polyphenols (fancy plant compounds), chlorogenic acid, has anti-anxiety effects most likely due to its free radical fighting potential.
  • Their flavonoids (compounds found in their pretty colour pigments) are shown to improve cognition and reduce age-related declines in learning and memory.
References
  1. Krikorian, R., Shidler, M.D., Nash, T.A., Kalt, W., Vinqvist-Tymchuk, M.R., Shukitt-Hale, B., & Joseph, J.A.. (2010). Blueberry supplementation improves memory in older adults. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, 58(7), 3996-4000.
  2. http://www.glycemicindex.com
  3. Bouayed, J., Rammal, H., Dicko, A., Younos, C., Soulimani, R. 2007. Chlorogenic acid, a polyphenol from Prunus domestica (Mirabelle), with coupled anxiolytic and antioxidant effects. J Neurol Sci, 262(1-2), 77-84.

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