If you have little ones at home you know that snacks make up a huge part of their diet. If I had a nickle for every time one of them said to me “Mama, I want a little snack.” Well you get the idea. Snacking is normal and healthy for little people (and for big people too). The problem is that often the snacks that we offer aren’t as nutritious as the foods we eat at mealtime. It’s quicker and easier to grab some prepackaged crackers or fruit snacks especially when on the go. Once you become a label reader you may realize that you are missing out on some easy opportunities to fortify your child’s diet. But convenience is convenience, and busy parents need that too. Well, we can have both! This week I’m going to to offer some suggestions for nutrient dense snacks that you can make and package in bulk on the weekend and have on hand for the entire week.
Nuts and seeds are great options for quick, easy and nutritious snacks. As I’ve mentioned before, both nuts and seeds contain phytic acid which blocks the absorption of essential minerals, so before you go crazy with the nuts, make sure that you are neutralizing these anti-nutrients by soaking or sprouting. This is an extra step, but it really doesn’t take long. Simply soak raw nuts or seeds 12 hours or overnight in filtered water with 1 TBS of Celtic sea salt. Then put them on a baking sheet and “dehydrate” them at 150°. If your oven doesn’t go this low just set it to the lowest temperature. Mine only goes down to 170° and that has worked fine for me in the past. If you have a dehydrator even better! Put the nuts or seeds on the dehydrator sheets and set it to 150°. Dehydrate for 12 hours or overnight.
If you are able to find sprouted nuts or seeds at the store, you can skip this step, but once you get into the habit of soaking and dehydrating them it’s really no big deal. Honestly, it’s one minute to put them into the salt water and two minutes to drain them and spread them out onto the baking or dehydrator sheet. NOTE: If you are using raw cashews, soak them no more than 6 hours or the texture will be funky.
So once you get into the grove and reach a point where you have nuts and seeds on hand on a regular basis, the snack possibilities are endless. Here are a couple of our go-to seed snacks. We keeps seeds and nuts separate because of a nut allergy, but you can definitely mix and match them anyway you like.
POWERFUL PROTEIN BARS
These are our favorite snack lately. You can double this recipe if you want to make a larger batch.
- 2 cups soaked and dehydrated nuts or seeds (or a combo)
- 6 TBS unrefined coconut oil
- 10 dates
Combine all ingredients in a food processor and process until it’s the consistency of a very lumpy peanut butter. Press the mixture into an 8X8 dish or into individual mini muffin cups. Move to the refrigerator and refrigerate until solid. Cut them into bars or pop them out of the muffin tins and package in snack size baggies or small containers so that you have them on hand for lunches and on-the-go.
CRUNCHY TRAIL MIX
After you’ve prepared your nuts and/or seeds simply combine them with unsweetened, dried fruits, coconut and a few chocolate chips if it’s a special treat. Put individual servings into snack size baggies or small containers so that you have them on hand for lunches and on-the-go.
The mantra for this week…”If everything you give them is equally healthy, then it doesn’t matter what they eat.”
Eat Well, Be Well,