When it comes to healthy snacks for your little tots and even right up to teenagers it is so tough to figure out what exactly is “healthy”. We are constantly battling with the marketing giants who target us with their apparently healthy products. Be cautious with foods labelled ‘fat free’ ‘sugar free’ ‘low sugar’ ‘low fat’. Check labels as these claims are made to encourage you to purchase the food, but they still may be full of calories. Honestly the best way to avoid choosing the wrong one is to make your own. I know this isn’t always the most convenient solution but it is certainly the best way to ensure you know exactly what they are eating. Be creative with your fruit and vegetables, cutting them into fun shapes to make them more interesting. Veggie sticks like carrots, cucumber, peppers, celery and sugarsnap peas are all fantastic snacks on the go and paired with home-made hummus or cottage cheese add a great source of protein. If you are trying to change your children’s snacking habits, be patient with it, it doesn’t happen overnight! Here are some more ideas to try out with them.
Frozen blueberry yogurt bites– blueberries dipped in yogurt, lay out on parchment paper and freeze for 3 hour
Chocolate dipped strawberries– melt good quality chocolate (dark chocolate preferably) dip strawberries into the melted chocolate, place on a tray with parchment paper and allow to cool in the fridge for 1-2 hours.
Apple slices with peanut butter (choose good quality brand)
Chocolate coconut almond butter–
1 1/4 Cups Whole Almonds
2 Tbsp Cocoa Powder
2-3 Tbsp Coconut Oil (Can also use unsweetened coconut flakes)
1/4 tsp Sea Salt
Add ingredients to food processor and blitz for 1-2mins until smooth. Great with apple slices.
Banana peanut butter rolls-simply open out a wholemeal tortilla wrap, spread liberally with peanut butter (sugar free brand), peel a banana and lay it down the middle then roll up the wrap around the banana, folding in the ends to keep it in place.
100g of Porridge oats
45g of desiccated coconut
75g almonds (chopped)
25g pumpkin seeds
50ml coconut oil
2-3 tbsp agave syrup
Preheat the oven to 160 degrees. Mix all ingredients in a bowl. Lay out mixture evenly on a tray with parchment paper. Bake in the oven to 10-12 minutes. Shuffle and bake for a further 5-6 minutes until oats are brown. Allow to cool and store in a mason jar. Serve with Greek yogurt and berries, ideal for breakfast or great snack at any time of the day.
Cheesy broccoli bites
Steam 2 broccoli just until fork-tender. Add broccoli, 2 large eggs, pinch of salt, ½ cup of bread crumbs, and ½ cup of Parmesan to a food processor; blend just until finely chopped. Using 1 tablespoon at a time, form into balls. Heat a little oil in a pan. Drop balls of broccoli mixture into hot oil, flattening with a spatula. Cook both sides until crispy.
3 cups (400g) frozen peas
1¼ cups (210g) self raising flour
1 spring onion – chopped
⅓ cup (55 g) crumbled feta cheese
2 tbsp chopped parsley
Boil the peas for 4 minutes and drain. Add the flour, eggs, spring onion and half of the peas to a food processor and pulse until combined. Fold through the remaining peas, feta cheese and parsley. Fry spoonfuls of the mixture in a little oil for 2 minutes on each side until golden.
Sweet potato chips
2 medium sweet potatoes
1 egg white
sea salt to taste
herbs or spices to taste (I use smoked paprika but most spices or herbs will work well)
Wash and cut into strips or wedges with even thickness (you choose on how thick you want, just make sure the thickness is the same to ensure even cooking). Soak in a bowl of cold water for 30 minutes to allow all starch to be removed. Drain and pat completely dry. Preheat oven to 180 degrees. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. In a large bowl, add egg white and beat until slightly foamy. Add potatoes, salt and choice of herbs/spices to taste. Toss to coat. Spread potato slices onto baking sheet and make sure they do not overlap and are not crowded or touching.
Bake for 15 minutes. Take out and flip the fries over and return to oven for another 15 minutes or until cooked through. The thinner the fry, the shorter the time, so keep an eye on them! Reduce heat to 160 degrees and let the fries dry for another 15-20 minutes. Remove from oven and enjoy!
Drain the chickpeas and rinse. Combine the chickpeas, lemon juice, garlic, cumin, salt, tahini, and water in a food processor, and blend to a creamy purée.
Add more lemon juice, garlic, cumin or salt to taste. Turn out into a dinner plate, and make smooth with the back of a spoon. Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and scatter with the reserved chickpeas.
Sprinkle with paprika and serve with pita bread, warmed in a moderate oven for three minutes, and cut into quarters.
200g cooked peas
1 garlic clove crushed
1 tbsp tahini
Squeeze of lemon
1 tbsp of cooked cannellini beans
2 tbsp of olive oil
Strips of pitta bread to serve, Raw veggie sticks to serve
Blitz all the ingredients together using a hand blender or food processor. Add 1-2 tbsp water, then blitz again. Transfer a portion to a pot and add to a lunchbox with pitta bread strips and veg sticks. Keep the rest chilled for up to 3 days.
4 cups of riced cauliflower
3 cups of mozzarella cheese (1 cup for topping)
3 tsp oregano
4 cloves of garlic, minced
Salt & pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 220°C. Prepare a large baking tray with parchment paper. Make sure your cauliflower is roughly chopped in florets. Add the florets to your food processor and pulse until cauliflower resembles rice.
Place the cauliflower in a microwave container and cover with the lid. Microwave for 10 minutes. Place the microwaved cauliflower in a large bowl and add 4 eggs, 2 cups of mozzarella, oregano, garlic, salt & pepper. Mix everything together.
Place mixture onto the prepared baking sheets and shape into a rectangular shape.
Bake the crust (no topping yet) for about 25 minutes or until nice and golden. Don’t be afraid the crust is not soggy at all. Once golden, sprinkle with the remaining mozzarella cheese and put back in the oven for another 5 minutes or until cheese has melted. Serve Hot.
HOMEMADE NAKD BAR – Makes about 12 servings
2 Cups of Dates
1.5 Cups of Cashew Nuts
2 Tbsp Cocoa
2 Tsp Vanilla Extract (Or Mint, or Orange)
Put ingredients in food processor. Pulse. Try not to eat too much of the mixture while you line a suitable container with cling film and press the mixture in. After 30 minutes in the fridge you can take it out and cut it into whatever shape takes your fancy. Wrap them individually and keep for a couple of months in the freezer, or store in a container in the fridge, should stay good for about 2-3 weeks.
Banana & Blueberry Fritters
2 ripe bananas
¼ cup flour
¼ cup blueberries
Sprinkle of cinnamon (optional)
Coconut oil for frying
Mash bananas and then stir in the flour and cinnamon. Add the blueberries and stir through. Heat a non stick frying pan on high and add a little coconut oil. Spoon batter into frying pan. (I like to make small fritters so use a tablespoon). Fry fritters until brown on both sides. Remove fritters and allow to cool a little before serving.
Breakfast Granola Cups (Makes 12 cups)
1 tsp almond extract
125g rolled oats
1 tsp cinnamon
Pinch of salt
Suggested toppings: yoghurt, blueberries and raspberries.
Mash two bananas in a small bowl and add the honey and almond extract. Mix well and set aside. Mix the rolled oats, cinnamon and a pinch of salt in a large bowl, then add the banana mixture to it. Mix well. Transfer to muffin tin tray, pressing down on the mixture to shape into cups. Bake for 10-15 minutes at 175°c. Allow to cool and serve with yogurt and berries.
Check out these handy visual portion sizes for toddlers from the organic cookery: organiccookeryschool.org