Monday, March 14, 2016
My top 5 No-Bake Snacks for Kids
So you may have noticed that I like to bake. A lot! But in reality we're not eating baked goods all the time. I always make big batches and stash at least half in the freezer for another time. Things like muffins and biscuits and slices are brilliant to have on hand to pop into lunchboxes or to grab out when we have a playdate.
But there are also plenty of times when to be honest, I just don't feel like baking. Or we're too busy or it's too hot ... you get the idea. I also want to mix things up a bit so we're not eating the same things all the time and if the kids have had a muffin in their lunchbox they are certainly not getting cake for afternoon tea.
It's a good idea to have a range of no-bake options that you can whip up quickly as soon as the hungry horde descends after school.
This is a no-brainer! A smoothie can be a meal in a glass if you pack it full of nutrient dense (and delicious) ingredients. I personally have been down the green smoothie road and can say with certainty that they don't agree with me. I just don't feel good drinking them even when they taste good. But there are other ways to get in some goodness. This is my go-to smoothie formula for the kids:
1 cup milk (we use rice, almond or coconut)
1/2 frozen banana or handful berries
1 ts chia seeds
1 ts mixed ground seeds (sunflower, pepita and linseed)
cinnamon, vanilla or cacao
Place all ingredients into a high powered blender and process until smooth (TMX 1 minute / SP 9).
So these require a little more planning but once they are made they can be stored in the freezer and will keep for ages. There are loads of bliss ball recipes out there but as most of them are packed full of dried fruit they are very high in sugar. Two of my family favourites are my Almond and Chia Bliss Balls which are fruit-free and my Chocolate Bliss Balls which are nut and coconut free but do contain some dates. You can really let your imagination run wild here though - you can swap the nuts, the sweetener, the fruit to whatever you happen to have on hand. Just taste as you go and when the mixture sticks together they are ready to roll!
An oldie but a goodie. Is there anything better than popcorn? I'm talking the homemade stuff here not anything with synthetic 'butter flavour' that is artificially coloured yellow. There are 2 easy ways to make popcorn. First you can heat up some oil in a large pot (coconut oil or ghee are brilliant), toss in the kernels, cover and wait for them to stop popping. Or you can buy an air-popper really cheaply from places like Kmart. We have had an air popper for years and it gets used at least once a week. Simply throw in the kernels, turn it on and voila, popcorn!
We always have lots of butter and a sprinkle of sea salt on our popcorn and the kids love it. We recently switched to Honest 2 Goodness brand organic popping corn and have been amazed by how fresh and tasty it is compared with the stuff you can buy from the supermarket. And it is GMO free unlike most of the corn products you buy at the shops.
Here's an extra tip, if you start noticing that you are left with heaps of unpopped kernels in the bottom of the bowl it means that they have dried out and are stale. The kernels only pop because the water inside them turns to steam and they basically explode from the inside. No moisture inside means they can't pop. So always store your popping corn in an airtight container to keep it fresh!
Apple slices with peanut butter
Ok this one sounds like a cop-out but the kids love it! It's as easy as slicing up an apple and spreading some peanut butter on each piece. That's it. Adding the peanut butter means they are getting some good fat and protein and it keeps them fuller far longer than just an apple on it's own.
Can't have peanuts? Use cashew or almond butter or even tahini instead. Make sure you choose a good quality nut butter than is 100% nuts with no oils, salt, sugar or preservatives.
Crackers, veggie sticks and cheese
I do make homemade crackers on occasion but they can be fiddly and time consuming to roll out and slice and I'm not doing that every day (or even every week). When I buy crackers there are 2 types I choose, either brown rice crackers like the Eat Rite brand or an organic rice cake (Pure Harvest brand is good). Throw some crackers on a plate with whatever veg your kids like to eat raw - think carrot sticks, cucumber, cherry tomatoes and some cheese and that's afternoon tea sorted. My fussy Mr 5 LOVES soft cheese like brie or camembert so if there happens to be some on special I might surprise him with some. Easy as.
So that's it, my top 5 no-bake snacks for kids. Do you have a favourite afternoon tea for your kids? Do you bake for afternoon tea or only for special occasions?