September Kids Snacks! It’s that time of year again…

By Jennifer Drummond, ND

And we’re back to September!  Even though it isn’t the beginning of a new year, September always feels like a fresh start. We’re in a state of change and renewal as we prepare to go back to school, back to work, back to our regular routines.

I see it in my practice yearly. Come the end of August, the calls from patients increase significantly as their internal clock (and external weather changes) tell us to pay attention to ourselves again.

One of the main concerns I have from parents is what kind of snacks can they give to their children to take to school? With so many allergies now, making snacks for school can become a bit stressful on parents.

Here are my top kid-tested snacks I have found that they really enjoy. I hope you find them useful as well!

1. Home granola bars. I began this as my search for peanut-free ideas when my kids hit school age. I found a good recipe and have modified it a bit based on what my kids like. But, I really just try to use whatever I have left in the baking supplies for this one. See recipe below.

2. Fruits and veggies. Yes, this is mandatory for my kids every day. I get my six-year-old to help select and cut up her own vegetables in the morning. We try to switch it up so it’s not the same thing every day and keep the image of a rainbow in mind to try to get different colours in her snacks. And sometimes, I just throw in the biggest carrot I can find and that works too.  She gets to pretend she’s a rabbit as she munches away. Great veggies to think of: cucumbers, carrots, peppers, jicama, celery).

3. Popcorn with nutritional yeast. Nutritional yeast has a cheesy taste to it and is packed full of B vitamins. It can be found in most health food stores.

4. Hummus with crackers/pita chips and cut up veggies. Hummus is pretty simple and is full of protein, good fat and fibre. I find kids are put off by the tahini taste in hummus, so I make one without tahini. From the basic recipe, you can go from there and add some beets (makes a nice pink hummus), sun-dried tomatoes, spinach…again involving the kids on this decision may get them to eat it more readily. See recipe below.

5. Seeds (sunflower, pumpkin) and dried fruit (sulfite free) trail mix. 

6. Applesauce.

7. Pita with seed butter and apple slices.

8. Cookies: oatmeal and banana. Recipe below.

Granola Bars
1 1/2 cups old fashioned rolled oats
1 cup crispy rice cereal
3 tbsp chia seeds or flaxseeds
1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
1 cup mixed dried fruit (raisins, chopped dates, mango, apricot, cherries, apricot)
1/2 cup chocolate chips (optional)
2/3 cup sunflower seeds
1/3 cup pumpkin seeds
1/3 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup and 1 tbsp coconut oil
2 tsp vanilla extract

Mix all of the dry ingredients (except salt) together in a bowl and set aside. Line a large baking pan (with sides, 8 by 8) with a generous amount of parchment paper. You want to be able to lift the granola bars out of the pan with the parchment paper once it has cooled enough to harden well. Heat up the coconut oil and once melted, add the honey or maple syrup and vanilla extract. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and pour into the baking pan lined with parchment paper. Press down as much as you can to flatten it evenly and make sure it will stick together. Let cool in the refrigerator for 6 hours (or overnight).  (adapted from yummymummyclub.ca)

Kid Friendly Hummus
1 can chickpeas (drained, BPA free)
¼ cup olive oil
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp cumin
pinch of salt

Blend all ingredients together.  Top with sesame seeds if you like.

Oatmeal Thumbprint Cookies (from ohsheglows.com)
2 cups rolled oats (use certified gluten-free if necessary)
1 cup mashed ripe banana (about 2 very large)
3 tablespoons chia seeds
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
8 teaspoons jam

1.   Preheat oven to 350°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
2.   In a food processor, add the oats and pulse until a coarse meal forms. Don’t process it into a flour, some big flakes are good.
3.   In a large bowl, stir together the processed oats, mashed banana, chia seeds, cinnamon, and salt until combined. The mixture will be very wet and dense.
4.   With a retractable ice cream scoop or a spoon, scoop the dough into 10 mounds. (The cookies do not need to be spaced far apart on the baking sheet as they don’t spread out.) Press your thumb into the centre of each cookie to create a well. Fill each well with 1 heaping teaspoon of jam.
5.   Bake cookies at 350°F for 11 to 13 minutes, until the cookies are slightly firm on the outside, but soft and doughy in the middle. Transfer cookies to a cooling rack for 10 minutes.