Healthy Gummy Bear Recipe? Really?! Yes!

One of my passions is switching out unhealthy recipes for healthy ones. Eating a real food diet does not have to be boring or feel like deprivation (I would never last!)

Do you love Starbuck’s PSLs? Great, natural pumpkin spice latte recipe that’s healthy and tastes like the real thing!

Love traditional breakfast foods on weekend mornings? Me too! Here’s a delicious grain free waffle recipe that kids of all ages just love.

Now that my kids are entering the real world and learning about pixie sticks and cotton candy (gasp!), they have stumbled upon the adorable Haribo Gummy Bear package in the checkout line. I remember munching on these as a kid myself. But, when I recently looked at the package’s ingredients, I knew there had to be a better way!

Haribo Gummy Bear Ingredients in U.S.

Glucose syrup (from wheat or corn), sugar, gelatin, dextrose (from wheat or corn), citric acid, corn starch, artificial and natural flavors, palm kernel oil, carnauba wax, white beeswax, yellow beeswax, yellow 5, red 40, and blue 1

But if you break it down, it’s really about:

  • some form of sugar (not all are bad)
  • some type of fruit flavoring (could use the real thing)
  • and gelatin.

I’ve talked about the many benefits of gelatin before. So, in the scheme of things, these gummy bears could actually be a healthy “treat” when compared with others.

Haribo Gummy Bear Ingredients in Germany

Interesting to note: in Germany, where Haribo is headquartered, they don’t use food dyes for color. Instead they use plant and herbal extracts. (Europeans always get the food right!) Here’s a list of their ingredients:

Glucose syrup; sugar; gelatin; dextrose; fruit juice from concentrate: apple, strawberry, raspberry, orange, lemon, pineapple; citric acid, lemon, pineapple; citric acid; fruit and plant concentrates: nettle, apple, spinach, kiwi, orange, elderberry, lemon, mango, passionfruit, blackcurrant, aronia, grape; flavorings; glazing agents: white and yellow beeswax; carnauba wax; elderberry extract; fruit extract from carob; invert sugar syrup

So, my recipe takes the more German approach: fruit concentrates (juice), gelatin, and sugar (in the form of honey.)

Note: This is a slightly “higher maintenance” recipe than most of the ones you’ll find on this site. I had a fun time making these with my kids, but I certainly wouldn’t be making these on a regular basis. Too much work! 🙂 But, for a road trip, Halloween, a birthday party, or just a fun activity to do with the family, this gummy bear recipe is great.

Healthy Gummy Bear Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup organic juice for each color
    • For the red gummy bear: pomegranate or cherry juice (100% juice not diluted with sugar and water)
    • For the orange gummy bear: I used peach/carrot juice combo. You can also use apricot nectar juice. I also added in 4-5 drops of Orange essential oil before adding to molds. This gives them a great flavor!
    • For the yellow gummy bear: I used a combo of orange and pineapple juices. You can add Lemon essential oil before adding to mold for an authentic lemon-y flavor.
  • For the clear gummy bear: I used a mix of pineapple juice and lemonade.
  • 1/3 cup Vital Proteins beef gelatin
  • 2 TB lemon juice
  • 1/2 raw cup honey
  • Gummy bear molds with droppers (where to buy)

Directions:

  1. Put your cold juice into a sauce pan.
  2. Add your 1/3 cup of gelatin.
  3. Let it sit for a minute or two so the gelatin can “bloom”. (This will help prevent a clumpy or gritty finished product!)
  4. Turn on the heat to low to medium till the gelatin dissolves.
  5. Turn off heat and let sit for a few minutes to cool down.
  6. Add your lemon juice and raw honey. Stir well.
  7. Use a syringe and suck up your juice concoction and push out into your gummy bear mold.
  8. Let sit for 5 minutes so it sets and then put in fridge for one hour. Remove bears and enjoy!

Final notes:

This gummy bear recipe will make at least 100 bears of each color and last in the fridge for at least one week. You can also leave out in room temperature for a few days (just don’t let them get above, say, 85° F or you’ll have a big bear meltdown.)

How about you?

Do you like gummy bears? Would you ever make a treat like this for your kids? Share with us in the comments below.