Everyone needs to plan a child’s snack from time to time. However, the more healthy the snack is, the more complicated it tends to be. And while switching to a more traditional way of preparing food and really focusing on the health of my family’s guts has been a huge deal to me recently (check out this post), I have also had to focus on finding the best ways to feed health to my family WHILE getting the rest of my life done.
One of the biggest areas where I wanted to get some shortcuts/easy recipes going was my kids snacks. If you are going to go the traditional cooking route (and I strongly suggest that you do) there will be more prep behind just about everything. But to really make healthy/traditional snacks for kids, you have to develop some routines and systems that have made it manageable and I will be sharing all of those in the future. The main one I want to focus on today “prep day” system.
It is pretty much self-explanatory…I have one day a week that I devote to prepping food for the week. So ANYTHING that can be prepped ahead is done on that day. So as long as I buckle down and do all the prep on that day, these recipes are very manageable and the rest of the week is a breeze!
- Popsicles: The fist tip I want to give with this is DON’T BUY MOLDS! We have a couple of popsicle molds and they are very cute and definitely get used, but our favorite (and generally the most effective) way to make popsicles are in ice trays. Get a couple $1-2 ice trays from Wal-Mart or Dollar General, fill with whatever filling you decided on, and then stick a toothpick into the top and freeze! You can Google “healthy popsicles” and get a wonderful list of possibilities but my favorites are Chocolate Kefir popsicle (homemade or store bought kefir) or to just fill up the trays with whatever smoothie I’m drinking that day.
- Chocolate-dipped bananas – When we were putting my son through an elimination diet to see what was causing his skin issues I stumbled across this recipe. Instead of using chocolate chips, I combine coconut oil, cocoa powder, and stevia (inspired by Trim Healthy Mama’s Skinny Chocolate). I store them in the freezer and they eat them kind of like they would a popsicle! But they are even easier to make!
- My smoothie – Every day, while the kids are having a snack, I make myself a smoothie. Often, instead of giving them water to go with their snack, I will just give them a sippy cup filled with my smoothie. Of course this can be a basic fruit/nut butter/liquid/ice combo or whatever your favorite recipe is. I will be sharing more on what I eat in a future post.
- Sweet potato banana bites – This recipe is beyond easy and my children call it “cake” and can’t get enough of it! The main changes I have made to the linked recipe is that I double-quadruple it on “prep day” so it will last the rest of the week. Instead of making it into “bites” I just pour it into a pan and cut it into bars after cooking. I also add some stevia and nutmeg and it ends up tasting a lot like a dessert but is very healthy and full of veggies/fruit/protein!
- Sourdough crackers – Check out this post to see how to easily keep a sourdough starter in your home and why it is a good idea. But once you have your starter going, this is one of those recipes that (outside of hands-off souring time) takes about 15 minutes and doesn’t require any certain timing with your starter or worrying about a rise. I usually double this recipe as well and, although the recipe says to bake in small batches, I just roll out one full recipe onto some parchment paper, cut it with a pizza cutter, and transfer to a baking sheet.
- Sourdough pumpkin bread – As you can tell from the recipe name, you will need a sourdough starter for this as well. But this recipe has soooo many options! If I’m serving it as a snack I make it in muffin tins and just give them a whole muffin with their smoothie. If I plan on giving it to them for a breakfast I make it into a bread loaf, smear on some almond butter, and serve with a side of fruit. If I want them to have a dessert treat I add some dried fruit or dark chocolate chips before baking and drizzle a little raw honey on top before serving! Note: I use Sucanat in this recipe which I buy in bulk off of Amazon but it can also be purchased at health food stores.
- Dehydrated fruit – We have purchased a dehydrator and it has been an invaluable asset in our traditional food prep! But if you do not have one and it isn’t in the budget then buying dehydrated fruits in bulk from a store like Costco or Sam’s Club is a great alternative. When you buy them organic, they make the ultimate easy/healthy snack!
Well, there you have it! My favorite, healthy, go-to snacks for my kiddos!
Now tell me…what are your go-tos? Any shortcut/easy recipes you have discovered? I would love to learn from your experience as well!