“On-the-Go Snacks: A Healthy Fast Food Alternative”
If your kids are like mine, they’re ready to start snacking as soon as the school bell rings each afternoon. With sports, clubs, and all the other after-school activities, we’re always in a time crunch to get from one place to the other. While it would be convenient to drive through a drive-thru or stop at a gas station, I don’t want to fuel my kids from the same place I fuel my vehicle! I’m sure you don’t either, so I’ve put together 5 healthy and nutritious snacks that can be made to carry with you in the car or to serve at home while the kids are winding down after school.
The Thomas Trail Mix
We love trail mix because there are a ton of combinations and we can use almost anything from our pantry to make-up a tasty and energizing mix. I like to put all of the items on a serving platter or in small bowls and let my girls make their own bags, this way they are more excited to eat it! This is more affordable and more fun than purchasing prepackaged trail mix. Below are some of the items we like to include in our trail mix bags.
• Dried Apricots
• Macadamia Nuts
• Dried Cranberries
• Sunflower Seeds
• Pumpkin Seeds
• Organic Dark Chocolate Chips
Nuts, seeds, and dried fruits are a convenient, healthy snack food that takes the edge off hunger without the added carbohydrates and sugar of most other snack options. Most nuts and seeds are rich in fiber, phytonutrients and antioxidants such as vitamin E and selenium, as well as sterols and omega-3. Not to mention all of the great vitamins in dried fruit!
After my girls had made their trail mix, I let them put an adhesive name tag on their trail mix to make it more personalized.
Go, Go, Granola Bars
Kids are very much “grab and go” creatures. They love to grab a snack and keep going; doing whatever activity they are doing in that moment. Granola bars are a perfect snack for those moments! However, have you ever looked at the ingredients in commercial granola bars that claim to be healthy? Yikes! They are loaded with many scary chemicals and additives for our children. While there are many natural and organic granola bars out there with limited ingredients, those tend to be pricey. Making your own granola bars using the recipe below will not only help you on your budget, but give you peace of mind that your kids are putting good nutrients in their growing bodies!
• 2 cups rolled oats
• 2 tbsp raw sunflower seeds
• 2 tbsp pumpkin seeds
• ½ cup dried cranberries
• ¼ cup flax seed meal
• ½ cup sliced almonds
• ¼ tsp salt
• ½ cup almond butter
• ¾ cup agave nectar
• 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
• 3 tbsp xylitol powder
• Organic Dark Chocolate Chips (Optional)
1. Gather your ingredients. Preheat oven to 350. Grease a ceramic or glass 9X13 inch baking dish.
2. Mix oats, sunflower and pumpkin seeds, cranberries, flax seed meal, and almonds together in a bowl. Spread mixture on a sheet pan and toast in the preheated oven for 8 minutes. Return mixture to your bowl.
3. In a medium saucepan, combine salt, almond butter, agave, olive oil, and xylitol. Bring to a boil over medium heat and immediately remove from heat. Pour over oat mixture and combine until all ingredients are evenly coated. If you chose to add chocolate chips, add those at this time.
4. Pour mixture into a baking dish and press down into the pan. Bake for 20 minutes.
5. Let cool for up to 2 hours, cut, and serve.
Once sliced, you can put them into individual ziplock bags. Just recently I started using a Food Saver to package each granola bar. This makes it easy to toss these into a basket or bag to take along in the car.
Cauliflower is packed with Vitamin C which fights off those “bugs” that our kids are so prone to once school starts back. It’s also full of phytonutrients, fiber, and great for digestion! This cauliflower popcorn can be made into bite-sized pieces and put into popcorn bags or bowls so your kids can have a fun snack to munch on while they watch a movie or do homework.
1. Start with 2 heads of cauliflower and chop into bite-sized pieces.
2. We separated the cauliflower into 4 different pans so that we could make 4 different flavors of popcorn.
3. Drizzle each set with Olive Oil and then sprinkle with the flavor of your choice. Here we used sea salt, parmesan, cinnamon, and Cayenne pepper.
4. Bake at 425 for 20 minutes, or until tops begin to get brown.
5. Toss into bowls or popcorn bags and enjoy!
Organic Apples with Cinnamon Sunbutter
So many kids are plagued with nut allergies and are unable to enjoy the rich, creaminess of certain nut butters. This sunflower butter is nut-free and delicious! It’s so easy and cheap to make, plus it’s also filled with Vitamin E (an anti-inflammatory antioxidant) and magnesium, which keeps kids “regular.” So grab your food processor and some items from your pantry and let’s get started!
• 1 cup raw, shelled sunflower seeds
• 2 tbsp olive oil
• 1 tsp honey
• ½ tsp cinnamon
• Salt to taste
1. Gather your ingredients.
2. Grind sunflower seeds in a food processor until they become a powder.
3. Add remaining ingredients and pulse until it is a paste.
4. If you like your sunbutter more spreadable, keep adding oil until it’s the consistency that you like.
I love how fun these apples look when they are sliced on a tray and the sunbutter is in the middle to be used as a dip or a spread. Kids can eat the apples plain or with the sunbutter.
Seeds and nuts are great for kids during sporting events. I’ve noticed more kids enjoying sunflower seeds and pumpkin seeds during baseball, soccer, and other games. It’s a great quick source of energy!
Brooke’s Black Bean Brownies (Gluten-Free)
I am always looking for something to make with my girls that is fun and tasty, but also healthy! Try these next time with your kids or even as a grown-up dessert. My girls LOVED them, and I’m sure your family will too! Shhh…these gluten-free brownies are made from black beans. Did you know that black beans have more antioxidants than blueberries? Not to mention all the protein they have! And speaking of protein, I like to replace flour in my recipes with the amazing Shaklee Protein, it works every time, and I love knowing my girls are getting the 9 amino acids they need for their healthy, growing bodies!
1 can black beans, drained
1/2 c. cocoa
4 Tbsp. extra-virgin coconut oil
1/2 c. xylitol
2 level tsp. stevia powder
1 tsp. organic vanilla extract
3 large free range eggs
1/2 c. Shaklee’s Instant Protein Mix
1/4 tsp. sea salt
1/4 c. water
Blend all ingredients together. (Add chocolate chips if desired for more chewy chocolate flavor) Grease brownie pan with coconut oil and pour ingredients into pan and bake for 35-40 min. at 350 degrees.
I used cookie cutters to cut the brownies into fun shapes. Kids can help with cutting these, so that they feel like they’re involved in the cooking process.