What images (or tastes) does the word ‘snack’ conjure up for you? Chips and guacamole? Strong cheese? Apple slices and peanut butter? Whether you are pregnant, breastfeeding, or mom to little ones, snacks are probably a big part of your day. But how to keep things both yummy and healthy? There are so many ‘no’ rules. I recently took my little ones to the dentist and was told to avoid raisins! And I thought we were doing so well! (Apparently dried fruit sticks to teeth in ways that makes them hard to clean, even with good brushing and flossing.)
I do want to share a couple of the favorite frozen ‘treats’ in my home right now.
Directions: Using a spoon (or sandwich bag with a hole cut in the corner if you want to get fancy), put little dollops of yogurt onto a baking sheet. Place the sheet into your freezer and a few hours later either transfer to a bag or container to keep in the freezer or enjoy the cold niblets immediately!
Note about yogurt: There are so many brands and types of yogurt to choose from, and they are not created equal! The most important thing to look for on the container is the National Yogurt Association‘s seal for ‘Live & Active Cultures.’ I found this dietician blogger’s post that has some more good information about what to look for in a yogurt. You can also try making your own yogurt, which I’m told is easy once you make a habit of it. It’s on my to-do list.
Frozen fruit & veggie flowers (or hearts, or fish, or whatever shape ice cube tray you have!)
I thought we were doing pretty good with a balanced diet but my kids are going through some ‘avoid suspicious foods’ phases lately and so being able to slip a few of the shunned foods by in this form is thrilling!
Directions: Using a blender, combine any fruits and veggies that you have lying around. Feel free to add some water as needed, or milk, almond/rice/coconut milk, yogurt. Taste it as you go for taste. Add some honey or agave if you like. Then pour into ice cube tray and freeze. You can make them into popsicles as well but we like the smaller sized treats.
I’m still learning how to be more flexible with my cooking and so I like to start off with a recipe and jump off from there. Here’s a website that got me started. Our first batch was pineapple, spinach and a little banana, and despite my daughter usually refusing anything green, she now requests “cold green flowers”!
Want some more ideas?
There are some great ideas online – blogs, Pinterest – but I recently had an opportunity to get some ideas from moms in person. After giving a ‘Healthy Summer: Eat, Play, Sleep’ presentation at a NoCo Tots playgroup, I asked the moms there to share some of their favorite snacks and here is what they said [with commentary from me]:
- Homemade ‘No Bake’ Granola Bars
- Dried Fruit Leather [we love this too but we’ll try not to eat as much of it after the dental advice was received]
- Applesauce [look for ‘no sugar added’]
- Fruit [keep the EWG’s ‘Dirty Dozen, Clean 15’ http://www.ewg.org/foodnews/ on your fridge or in your purse so you can know what is best to buy organic]
- Fruit Smoothies
- Baked Chickpeas
- Popcorn [I was recently advised to look for organic since most corn is grown with a lot of chemicals these days]
- Raw Cacao Macaroons [recipe below from Winni, thank you!]
Raw Cacao Macaroons (Makes 16-20)
- 3 cups dried, unsweetened shredded coconut
- 1 1/2 cups cocoa powder
- 1/2 cup maple syrup
- 1/3 cup coconut oil
- 1 T vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
‘In a large bowl, combine all the ingredients and stir well to combine, or use a mixer with paddle attachment. If I remember correctly, the original recipe called for a whole cup of maple syrup, but I prefer it bittersweet. I’ve heard that Agave works too.
Using a small ice cream scoop, or a big spoon, spoon rounds of the dough onto dehydrator screens (or a plate/cutting board to freeze). Dehydrate for 12 hours at 115 degrees F…until crisp on the outside and chewy on the inside (results may vary depending on your dehydrator). I had a friend who put them in the freezer because she didn’t have a dehydrator; she said they were awesome!’