Photo by Sharon D. Pruitt

I am always trying to find healthy snack options for my kids. I love to eat nuts for my between meal munchies. A small handful or an almond or peanut bar really helps to stop the hunger because of the protein and good fat. But my son is allergic to nuts and doesn’t have this healthy option. I don’t keep a lot of packaged foods in the pantry. We have microwaved popcorn, light fruit cups, a variety of crackers for dipping in humus. I have bought Kashi bars but find that the kids devour them at a pace that cannot be healthy so now only purchase them occasionally. I know… I am the meanest mom in the world.

When the kids get home, my stomach clenches as the shouts for food enter the door before I even see their smiling faces. What will I offer them today? Ugh. Actually, it is not very different as to how I feel when I pack them their lunches every morning. It is hard to be healthy and original.

Snack ideas:

Fruit Options: I always have a bowl of fruit on the table. It is amazing how many oranges we go through when they are just sitting there. Some other fruit ideas are cheese and grapes, smoothies or parfaits packed with yogurt and fruit and toppings, cut up fruit to make kebabs with yogurt dip and cereal toppings and cut up fruit to make fruit faces or mosaics using graham crackers (great recipe here) as the platform.

Veggies: My kids often will not go for veggies right after school, but when the before dinner hunger strikes I set out cut veggies and dip and let them nosh. It is always surprising how quickly they disappear. I feel great knowing that they are getting their 5 a day in before we even sit down for dinner.

Nachos: I know. Doesn’t sound right does it… Pre-cut wheat tortillas into triangles and toast them up with some olive oil and salt. Bake. Add some cheese, beans, tomatoes, avocado and corn. You have a very satisfying snack. This one is great before a practice or game supplying carbs, protein and fat. A snack with staying power.

Pita Pizza: Add some low-fat cheese, tomato sauce and veggies to whole wheat pitas, english muffins or mini-bagels and heat until melted.

Matisse and Jack’s Bake-at-Home Snacks: Now I admit to only trying the Chocolate Chip Power Snacks (and truthfully, my son can’t eat them as they are processed using the same equipment as nuts). But the idea is great and there must be some homemade nut allergy safe options out there. The bars are packed with whole grains including oats, oat flour, flax seeds and soy. There are chocolate chips, soy protein and wheat gluten added. All you need to do is add applesauce, two tablespoons of oil and some water. The packaging has add-on options such as yogurt, buttermilk or peanut butter.

These treats are chock full of health—protein, omega-3s, calcium, iron and fiber. A small square really packs in the flavor and nutritional qualities of an energy bar. I would serve these for breakfast with a glass of milk.

These bars do not have the consistency of a typical power bar but they are real food with real nutrition. I thought that they tasted great and my daughter (and surprisingly husband) loved them even though I could detect the flax seeds in a bite or two.

I will let you know how the other varieties (granola bites, cocoa squares and cranberry power snacks) are after trying them.

Contest!

Subscribe to my blog and enter a comment about your own snack ideas to win a box of Matisse and Jack’s Chocolate Chip Power Snacks. The winner will be announced next week.

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