Marshmallows are just sugar and empty calories, so how could they be healthy for you? They could be somewhat healthier if you put marshmallow fluff on a sandwich with some fruit on it, but that’s the fruit. But, what about homemade marshmallows? There’s a good chance you’ve never even thought about making marshmallows yourself.
In this article, we will explore the marshmallow. From its nutritional value to any possible marshmallow health benefits, you will discover everything you ever might have wondered about this campfire staple.
Marshmallow Health Benefits
Let’s start with the big question, shall we? Are marshmallows healthy? Summed up by one word, no. Marshmallows are not healthy for you. There are very few ingredients in marshmallows, and the largest ingredient is sugar. One cup of marshmallows, or 50 grams contains 14% of your daily value of carbohydrates. To break that number down a little further, they have 41 grams of total carbohydrates—29 grams of which are sugar. That’s a lot of sugar.
Beyond the sugar, a quite unhealthy ingredient, there isn’t really anything else there. Not much in the way of vitamins/minerals, other than some very small amounts of iron, sodium, and copper. The good news, however, is that beyond the sugar, there isn’t anything else bad in a marshmallow either. There is nothing in them that is really carcinogenic, and no serious amounts of chemicals that do horrible things to your body’s digestive system.
However, if you’re a vegetarian or vegan, I have some more bad news: marshmallows contain animal protein. Gelatin, a primary ingredient in marshmallows, is derived from animal collagen.
With all of this being said, you can crunch some of the numbers yourself to see how they can fit into your current diet.
Nutrition Facts of Marshmallows
The following chart is representative of one cup of mini-marshmallows, approximately 50 grams in weight.
|Nutrient, Vitamin, Etc.||% of Daily Value|
|Total Carbohydrates 41 g||14%|
|Sugars 29 g|
|Protein 0.9 g||2%|
|Iron 0.1 mg||1%|
|Sodium 40.0 mg||25|
Source: SELF Nutrition Data
You may have noticed from the above chart, that there are no listings for vitamins, like vitamins C or B. That’s because they are not present. As previously mentioned, there is virtually no nutritional value in a marshmallow. But like many things in life, they do taste pretty good and are a great snack while camping. The key is to set limits; don’t eat a couple of cups of marshmallows a day or even a month. Although, if you take a look at the recipe below, that might be a little hard.
Easy Homemade Marshmallow Recipe
Marshmallows are great to bring with you to the cottage or camping, but did you know that you can make marshmallows right in your very own home? Not only that, it isn’t incredibly complicated either. The recipe below gives you a chance to make your own yummy marshmallows, should you desire them as an infrequent treat.
- 1 cup of water
- 1 tablespoon of marshmallow root (this is optional, but it will give you marshmallows are more “authentic” taste)
- 4 tablespoons of gelatin powder
- 1 cup of honey
- 1 teaspoon of vanilla
* As an optional step, combine one cup of warm water with the one tablespoon of marshmallow root, and let sit for at least five minutes. Stir the concoction well, and then strain it. Make sure that the liquid makes a whole cup.
Pour a half cup of water or the optional marshmallow root mix into a metal bowl or mixer bowl, and add the gelatin. Whisk it slightly and let the mixture sit.
Pour the other half cup of water and the one cup of honey into a small saucepan and bring it to a boil. Stir this constantly for eight minutes.
Slowly start pouring the honey and water mixture into the bowl with the gelatin mix (which should have hardened). Turn on the blender or hand mixer, and keep it on medium as the honey mixture is added. When the honey mix is added, turn the mixer to high and continue to blend for 10 to 15 minutes or until it forms a stiff, creamy consistency of marshmallow cream.
Grease a baking dish with coconut oil, or line the dish with parchment paper. When marshmallows are whipped, pour it into the lined or greased dish, and smooth evenly.
Let it sit at least four hours (for best results, leave it overnight). Flip onto a cutting board and cut. Store in an airtight container.
As you are making these, you can add some things to help make them more good for you. Probiotics, for example, can be added to make the marshmallows help your digestive system a little bit. If you want to change things up a little bit, you can substitute the vanilla extract for other flavors, like cocoa or mint.
The Last Word on Marshmallows
So, other than the homemade marshmallow recipe, this article may have gone pretty close to what you expected. Marshmallows are not good for you. There is little in the way of marshmallow nutrition and overall, they are filled with sugar and not much else. But, that doesn’t mean you can’t have them at all. Things like marshmallows should be eaten as an occasional treat; so toast one by the campfire, or put a few small marshmallows in your hot chocolate on a snowy day. Just don’t do it every day.
“How Much Sugar Is in Marshmallows?” SF Gate; http://healthyeating.sfgate.com/much-sugar-marshmallows-4813.html
“Candies, Marshmallows Nutrition Facts & Calories,” SELF NutritionData; http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/sweets/5425/2
“Healthy Marshmallow Recipe,” Wellness Mama, March 31, 2017; https://wellnessmama.com/6423/marshmallow-recipe/