Kids love snacks. Parents love convenience. This usually means store bought cookies, bars and muffins fill kids lunch boxes once we return to the ritual of packing school lunches! Unfortunately, most of the snacks now available in the aisles of the grocery store are full of sugar, preservatives, artificial ingredients and very little nutritional value.
How do we give our kids healthy options while still enjoying the convenience of pre-made snacks for school? We get baking!
Healthy School Snack Secrets
I know, you are busy, it takes too long and you probably don’t have all the ingredients. It can seem too daunting a task when you first get started, but baking for just a couple hours every 3 weeks can provide enough healthy options for 3 kids to take two snacks to school everyday. Make it family time and get the kids to help you bake. They will learn the importance of nutritious ingredients and you will be teaching them that healthier choices can taste great!
Invest in some freezer safe containers that you can store your baked goods in for 3 weeks. Separate the rows with wax paper so the muffins and cookies don’t freeze together and store in your freezer where the kids can reach. Each school morning have them pick 2 snacks to put in their reusable containers. Convenient and healthy!
Modify Favorite Recipes
Baking spinach, beet, cauliflower, hemp seed all grain veggie bars will likely not have many fans in your house, but adding just a bit of spinach to a brownie recipe that also includes whole wheat flour and chocolate chips, just might become a snack favorite. Take recipes they love like oatmeal cookies and substitute or cut back on the unhealthy ingredients and add in more whole grains, fruits and vegetables.
Replace This with That
Instead of all purpose flour, use mostly or all whole wheat flour. Replace half of the butter with apple sauce. Use agave syrup instead of refined sugars. Subtract ¼ cup of the flour and use ground flax, oat bran, wheat germ, or bran instead. Add shredded apples, carrots and zucchini or mashed bananas to everything. Puree cooked carrots, zucchini or apples in place of shredded if ingredients must be hidden.
Top With Chocolate Chips
Mini muffins topped with just a few chocolate chips can make carrots and zucchini almost disappear! Brightly coloured M&M’s added to spinach brownies make them fun and more of a treat than a healthy snack!
Fruit is a Snack
Apple slices with a little cinnamon, banana with soy nut butter and berries with granola are all healthy no bake snacks. Add fruit to everything you bake for moister cakes and fibre packed whole grain bars.
Get kids to re think snacks! Purge the packages and provide homemade and whole fruits!
Recipes to Get You Started:
Whole Wheat Carrot, Zucchini, Apple Muffins
Apple Cheddar Bars
Apple Oatmeal Flax Cookies