Saturday, November 10, 2012

Favorite Snacks

When it comes up that I don't buy chips, pretzels, goldfish crackers, fruit snacks, and other typical kid snacks, I've had a lot of moms have ask me what in the world we have around for kids to snack on. I tell them that we don't really have open-pantry snacking going on and that we really only have one snack a day - a healthy little snack right after school (used to do a small morning snack as well when I had preschoolers). People who come to dinner at our house are often amazed to see how much dinner my kids eat and to see that they eat things many kids might turn up their noses at. I'm pretty sure they eat dinner so readily because their tummies aren't already somewhat full from snacking.

But we do eat snacks and we've developed some healthy and tasty favorites. So for this week's recipe post (I'm trying to do one every Saturday), I thought I'd share our family's current favorite snacks. These are all easy and fairly healthy things that my kids and all their friends who come over after school seem to really enjoy.

Loosli Family Trail Mix

My favorite snack for the past year or so has been this trail mix. I made it up myself after not being able to find a store-bought trail mix I liked (I don't really like peanuts or milk chocolate so that made lots of trail mixes less-than-enticing to me). I looked at all the trail mix options I could find to come up with ideas, did some adjustments on what I saw, and came up with this trail mix that has become not only a favorite for me and my family but also a staple at all our Power of Moms Retreats - we serve it alongside fresh fruits and veggies during our breaks at Retreats and it's always a big hit. It's much lower in fat and calories than many trail mixes but has a lot of protein and even omega 3 from the pumpkin seeds. You can buy the individual ingredients packaged at most grocery stores but it's cheapest and easiest if you can buy them at good bulk food place.


Ingredients:
1 cup raw unsalted sunflower seeds
1 cup raw unsalted pumpkin seeds
1 cup raw unsalted almonds
(adjust to your taste - some people like to use the salted variety for one of the kinds of nuts/seeds)
1 cup craisins (can use strawberry or cherry flavored craisins)
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Mix together. Eat handful by handful. Don't eat it all at once!

Fruits and Veggies

We've always got apples, pears, and grapes around (whatever's on sale at the store) as well as baby carrots and frozen peas (my kids like to eat handfuls of frozen peas, right out of the freezer, as a little snack). I cut up apples, pears or cucumbers, set out grapes, etc. a lot of days as the after-school snack and kids know they can grab some carrots or grapes out of the fridge for a quick snack if they're feeling hungry. I also like to get a "special fun fruit" most weeks when I go to the store - something different and exciting for the kids to try - they loved it when I brought a dragon fruit home from the store one time and mini bananas, kiwis, various melons and the occasional pineapple have all been big hits.

Here's Isaac with some dragon fruit - the kids thought it was sort of like kiwi and marveled at it's beautiful pink exterior that's so different from the interior.

Crackers and Cheese with Apples

These are by far our favorite crackers - they're SO tasty and SO much better for you than most crackers. We like to eat them for an after school snack topped with some sharp cheddar cheese alongside some nice crispy Fuji or Gala apple wedges. We probably do this for after school snack at least a couple times a week.

Smoothies

We do smoothies a lot - especially in the summer. Every smoothie I make is a little different since I just use what's on hand.

Ingredients:
1-2 frozen bananas (peel them and put then in your freezer when they start to get brown)
whatever other fruits I've got in the fridge (grapes past their prime, overripe pears, bruised apples, etc work great in smoothies - chop up larger fruits into quarters or eighths before trying to blend them)
frozen berries or other frozen fruit along with the fresh fruit or just frozen fruit if that's all I've got
several handfuls of spinach
2-3 heaping tablespoons of vanilla yogurt (Nancy's is my favorite brand lately - hate how most yogurts in the store are full of sugar or corn syrup and fake flavors and aren't really any better for you than low-fat ice cream would be...)
a little water or juice (1/2 - 1 cup of liquid is usually needed to get everything to blend right)

Mix in blender until smooth.

Cookies

We eat quite a lot of cookies. We have some fairly healthy and very tasty favorite recipes and while maybe it would be healthier to stick with fruits and veggies all the time, I admit it, I love cookies and my kids have taken on that love. I think homemade cookies are a perfectly great after-school snack and after-dinner treat a time or two every week.

Here are my favorite three cookie recipes:
Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies
Banana Chocolate Chip Cookies
Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies
(all work great w/o the chocolate chips but I like a little chocolate in my life)

What are some of your family's easy healthy snack favorites? I can always use new ideas!

6 comments:

Heidi said...

Fruit leather, banana muffins, toast and jam, frozen bananas, frozen grapes, melted cheese, and the same types of snacks you eat - sounds great!

Ingrid said...

We mix peanut butter with honey, and use it as a dip for apple slices. Another idea I recently tried is to add some pure maple syrup and cinnamon to almond butter for an apple-dip as well. We also love popcorn. Another favorite is refried beans with some salsa stirred in, heated up, and used as a dip for tortilla chips. This can also be a dinner! :-) Thanks for your great ideas!

Spencer Family said...

We love many of the same things! We also enjoy bell pepper strips (not green though), english cucumbers, ants on a log, hummus, and string cheese.

Eyrealm said...

Gotta try that trail mix!

Susie Delozier said...

Saren: I recently discovered that the "baby" carrots are soaked in a harsh chemical to keep them fresher longer. That is why if they have been in the package for a litttle while, they can seem a little slimy. I acutally think it's clorox they use but can't remember exactly right now. So now I just buy the regular carrots and keep some handy in the frig at all times.

Cheryl said...

We love hummus with corn chips or pita bread. My kids also LOVE chips and sals or guacamole (don't have that one often as its pricey) or cowboy caviar.

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