Friday, September 9, 2016

Kids' Snacks That My Kids Might Actually Eat (and That I Might Actually Make)

My kids are somewhat picky eaters, which means that packing healthy snacks to send to school with them is not easy. My daughter is happy with grapes or strawberries some of the time, but the best my son will do is eat two nibbles of carrot sticks or apple slices. So I find myself resorting to pre-packaged snacks like goldfish crackers or Teddy Grahams or breakfast bars. Not horrible snacks, but not really what I want to send with them every day of the week.

So what do I do when I have a food problem? I search Pinterest, of course. The difficulty here is that a lot of the kids' snack suggestions look like this:

which, yeah, I'm not gonna make that. Or they look like this:

which, cute and doable, but would not arrive at school still looking like that. Or they look like this:

which, yeah, no for so very many reasons.

But I did find some snack recipes and ideas which are tasty, reasonably healthy (or at least not actively unhealthy), and easy enough to make that I actually WOULD make them. And none of them require refrigeration. Test out some of these ideas on YOUR picky snackers!

Mini Muffin Tin Pancakes (from Blogging Mom of 4)

Spray mini muffin tins with non-stick cooking spray. Mix up pancake mix as directed on package (or use ready-made mix) and fill muffin cups 1/4 to 1/3 full. Top each muffin with chocolate chips, nuts, fruit, cut-up sausage, a blob of jelly or syrup - whatever your kids like. Bake at 350 for 10-12 minutes.

PB&J Sushi (from Eating On a Dime)

Cut off the crusts of a piece of fairly soft bread, then roll flat with a rolling pin. Spread with a thin layer of peanut butter and another of jelly. Carefully roll the bread up to form a log, then slice into pieces.

Peanut Butter Cereal Bites (from

Combine one cup each honey and creamy peanut butter in a microwaveable bowl and microwave on high for one minute. Stir to combine. Stir in 3-4 cups Honey Nut Cheerios (or similar cereal). Scoop large spoonfuls onto waxed paper and allow to cool.

Corn Dog Mini Muffins (from Kraft)

Spray a mini muffin pan with non-stick spray. Prepare a box of corn muffin mix as directed on package and fill muffin pan about 1/3 full. Press a small cube of cheese (optional) and a thick slice of hotdog into each muffin. Bake at 375 for 10-12 minutes, until golden brown. Allow to cool for 5 minutes before removing from pan.

Cinnamon Apple Chips (from Carrie's Experimental Kitchen)

Spray a cookie sheet with non-stick spray. Put a few teaspoons each of cinnamon and sugar in a large bowl. Slice some apples about 1/8-inch thick (unpeeled is fine, but peel 'em if your kids prefer) and toss them in the bowl to coat, then lay them out on the cookie sheet. Do NOT overlap the slices. Bake at 200 degrees for 2-3 hours until dry but still soft. Allow to cool. Keep in an airtight container (will keep for 4 days).

Homemade Granola Bars (from the Kitchen Magpie)

In a medium saucepan, combine 3/4 cup butter, 2/3 cup brown sugar, and 3/4 cup honey. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring constantly. Lower heat and simmer for about 2 minutes, until sugar is dissolved and mixture is slightly thickened. Stir in 3 teaspoons vanilla. Stir together 4 cups quick oats and 3-1/2 cups Rice Krispies in a large mixing bowl; pour sugar mixture over and fold with rubber spatula until well mixed. Line a 9x13" pan with non-stick foil (fold ends and sides over edge of pan) and pour mixture in, pressing down with spatula. Sprinkle top with mini M&Ms or chocolate bits (or freeze-dried strawberries, or raisins, or whatever your kids will eat) and press firmly. Allow bars to completely cool at room temperature. When cool, lift from pan using foil and cut into rectangles with a sharp knife. Store in an airtight container.

Kettle Corn (modified from Nourished: the Blog)

Pop a package of microwave popcorn and pour into a large bowl. In a small microwave-safe bowl, combine 1 teaspoon butter, 1 tablespoon honey, 1/4 teaspoon vanilla, and a dash of salt (omit if using unsalted popcorn) and heat in microwave for 20-30 seconds, until butter is melted and honey begins to bubble. Pour over popcorn and toss to coat. Add salt to taste, if desired.

Mini Biscuit Pizzas (from Pillsbury)

Separate a can of refrigerated biscuits into individual biscuits, then separate each into 4 layers and lay out on a greased cookie sheet. Spread each round with a thin layer of pizza sauce and a handful of shredded cheese. Add whatever additional toppings you like (pepperoni, crumbled hamburger or sausage, sweet peppers, chopped onions, mushrooms, black olives, etc.). Bake at 400 for 7-9 minutes, until biscuits are golden brown.

Homemade Fruit Rollups (modified from Raining Hot Coupons)

Puree 3-4 cups of fruit (strawberries, watermelon, peaches, etc. - combinations are good, too). Stir in 1/2 cup of sugar (or to taste - sweeter fruits will need less). Line a cookie sheet with plastic wrap and spread the pureed fruit out to fill the sheet. Bake at 170 degree for 6-8 hours, until center is no longer tacky. Lift out of cookie sheet using plastic wrap and flip onto a sheet of parchment paper. Pull off plastic wrap and cut into strips (including parchment paper) using pizza cutter or sharp knife, and roll up.

Faux Cookie Dough (from Stuff Parents Need)

In a food processor, combine the following: 1 15-oz can chickpeas (drained and rinsed), 6 tbsp brown sugar, 1/4 cup peanut butter, 3 tablespoons old fashioned (not quick) oats, 1 tablespoon milk, 2 teaspoons vanilla, a dash of salt, and a pinch of baking soda. Blend until smooth, stopping occasionally to scrape sides. Place in a bowl and fold in 1/3 cup chocolate chips. Serve with graham crackers or apple slices, or just as is.

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