Because I exercise on a daily basis and because my body is constantly in need of protein I am always on the hunt looking for snack options that have protein in them. At the end of the day I can tell if I did not have enough protein in my diet, I feel worn down, and my muscles feel achy. I drink water mixed with whey protein powder throughout the day but I wanted something with protein in it that I could easily eat as well. Much of the time I found myself eating hard boiled eggs or soy chips to get added protein. But since I have a strong sweet tooth I wanted to be able to enjoy something that was sweet and had protein in it as well. I quickly turned to gelatin as a healthy protein sweet snack.
The thought of gelatin can be off putting to some. Vegans and most vegetarians will not eat gelatin because of where it comes from and how it is made. I can completely under this and at times if I think too hard about it myself I find it kind of an odd thing to eat as well. There are non animal based gelatin options out there and I have tried using pectin for this recipe which actually works quite nicely. However, sometimes my body has a hard time with starches so I try to limit them in my diet. Plus the plant based gelatin’s do not offer the protein I need like the animal based gelatin’s offer.
My son has also become a huge fan of gelatin. He was actually one of the main reason why I decided I needed to make my own gelatin at home. I was amazed at the amount and type of ingredients on the back of the prepackaged powder gelatin along with the premade refrigerated gelatin’s. Gelatin is such a simple food and yet these prepackaged gelatin’s were full of added fillers, colors, sugar, flavors, preservatives, etc. If I was going to feed myself and my son gelatin I wanted it to be low in sugar and have no artificial colors or flavors.
Powdered gelatin can be purchased in almost any grocery store. It is fairly inexpensive and easy to use. You can also purchase powdered gelatin online in larger quantities which will give you a substantial price break. Powdered gelatin has a long shelf life so buying it in bulk is a cost effective idea in the long run. I purchase the unflavored powdered gelatin so that I can flavor it myself.
For the flavoring of the gelatin I use 100% herbal fruit flavored “tea” bags. I use the word “tea” because it is a tea bag and it is called herbal tea but there are no tea leaves in the bag. I have made gelatin with traditional tea bags that use tea leaves or a mixture tea bag (fruit and leaves) but the flavor was kind of strange and not appealing to me. I also tried using different variations of flavoring extracts to flavor the gelatin. However I quickly found problems with using flavor extracts. The alcohol based extracts didn’t allow the gelatin to set properly. As for the non-alcohol extracts I had to use a lot of it to get the flavor right and since they are mainly glycerin based, it left the gelatin very “waxy”. Almost all extracts have added ingredients to keep the product a preserved flowing liquid, so using fruit “tea” bags is really the best way to get the fruit flavor without all the extra additives. You can also use fruit juice in place of the cold water.
Gelatin – Sugar, Artificial Color and Flavor Free
2 packets of unflavored powdered gelatin (14 grams total)
1 cup of cold water
2 cups of boiling water
2 fruit flavored herbal “tea” bags
1/4 teaspoon pure stevia extract (add more or less depending on how sweet you like your gelatin)
In a medium sized bowl add both packets of powdered gelatin to 1 cup of cold water. Let the gelatin dissolve in the water for about 2 minutes. Heat 2 cups of water to a boil and add 2 fruit flavored “tea” bags to the water. I use 100% herbal teas like blueberry, raspberry, lemon, cherry, peach and strawberry.
After the 2 minute mark, add the hot flavored water to the cold gelatin water mixture. Stir and let sit to combine for about 4 more minutes. Once the gelatin mixture is cooled down, you can leave in the bowl, cover and put in the refrigerator to set up. Or you can pour into tiny snack sized covered plastic cups for portioned eating. Depending on the container you use, the gelatin will set up and be ready to eat in a couple hours.