Summer Snacks…

As you may have guessed from the lack of blog entries over the past few weeks, things have been a little hectic around here with summer activities.   The other day as I was grabbing a snack for my boys as we headed out the door to baseball I stopped for just a moment and took note of the difference in our snack choices this year over year’s past.  Before I transitioned the way I fed my family our kitchen cupboards were lined with rows of bright, cartoon-filled boxes & bags filled with fun shaped food my kids loved to eat!  While I knew those snacks weren’t the best choices for my kids I didn’t think they could be that bad.  In fact, some of the snack packs actually looked quite healthy.  Boy, was I wrong…

After doing some research I found that most of the packaged snacks I was feeding my kids on a daily basis were loaded with trans fats, BHT (which has been banned in most countries including Japan, England & Australia just to name a few), food dyes, and of course sugar…LOTS and LOTS of sugar!  Remember, it is recommended that children (ages 4-8) consume no more than 12 grams of sugar/day and teens should limit sugar to 21-33 grams/day.  It’s amazing how much sugar my kids were consuming on a daily basis, much of which came from those convenient snacks I relied on to tide them over until meal times.

As if the excess sugar wasn’t enough, when I looked deeper into the ingredients list and found that most of the foods contained trans fat I was mortified.  Some of you might remember this post where I talked about the importance of Omega-3′s to help keep kids’ brains functioning at full capacity.  I’ve since learned that when children consume foods that contain trans fat it goes and parks itself in spots reserved for Omega-3′s.  Maria wrote about this topic here saying “When this happens, our neurotransmitters responsible for focus, mood, and memory have a hard time finding and recognizing their receptors due to the inflammation of the membranes on the brain cells caused by the consumption of trans fats.”

Now that we’ve shifted the way we eat in our home, those convenience snacks no longer line the shelves of our cupboards.  Instead I have jars of snacks I keep stocked with goodies along with a lot of fruits and veggies so I always have healthy snacks available when needed.  Because the snacks are made with all kinds of healthy goodness the kids stay full longer and don’t spend the day begging for snacks…a nice change of pace around here.

I thought I’d spend some time over the next few weeks posting summer snack ideas.  This week our snack jars are filled with the following:  chocolate no bake protein bites, granola bites,  roasted nuts, granola, almond flour chocolate chip cookies (recipes below):

(From left to right):

Almond Flour Chocolate Chip Cookies:

Recipe adapted from www.comfybelly.com

2 1/2 cups of blanched almond flour
1/4 teaspoon of salt
1/4 teaspoon of baking soda
8 tablespoons of butter (if you want the cookies a little chewier add 1-2 TBS additional butter)
1 tablespoon of vanilla
1/2 cup of honey (I use sugar-free honey from Nature’s Hollow)
1 cup of chocolate chips (I use sugar-free chocolate chips)

1.  Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.
2.  Combine the dry ingredients in a bowl and blend well.
3.  Add the wet ingredients and blend well again.
4.  Prepare baking sheets with parchment paper, and drop a spoon full of cookie dough on the parchment paper, spacing the cookies about 2 inches apart.
5.  Bake for about 15 minutes, or until they start to brown on the edges.

Granola bites (adapted from a Weelicious recipe):

1/2 Cup Peanut Butter (I use Trader Joe’s Valencia Peanut Butter with Roasted Flaxseeds)
1/2 Cup sugar-free honey
1 Cup Whey Crisps
1 1/2 Granola (I make my own…see recipe below)
1/4 Cup dried fruit such as; cranberries, cherries, blueberries and/or raisins (I use dried fruit VERY sparingly in my house, but they are a nice addition to this recipe)

1. Place the peanut butter and honey in a small saucepan over low heat and warm until it becomes smooth and combined.
2. Place the remaining ingredients in a bowl and stir to combine.
3. Pour the warm peanut butter mixture into the bowl with the granola mixture and stir to combine.
4. Roll into 1 inch balls (I used a mini ice cream scooper to scoop out each portion, but you could also use a tablespoon) .
5. Serve or store in an air tight container

Maria’s No-Bake Chocolate Protein Bites:

3/4 cup Truvia
1/2 cup cocoa
1/2 cup coconut oil or butter
1/2 cup vanilla or chocolate almond milk (optional)
1/2 cup natural Peanut Butter
1 tsp vanilla
3 cups chocolate whey crisps
1.  Combine the first 4 ingredients in a saucepan and bring to a rolling boil for 1 1/2 minutes
2.  Add the other three ingredients, stir well.
3.  Drop by tablespoon on wax paper.
4.  Let cool completely.

Granola (this is great by itself with a splash of unsweetened vanilla almond milk or sprinkled on smoothies, etc…):

2/3 cup honey (I use sugar-free honey)
1 Tbsp. molasses
1/3 cup oil (I use coconut oil…you can find this in the whole foods section at the store)
5 cups oats (old-fashioned rolled oats…I use Bob’s Red Mill)
1 cup ground up flax seed (I buy fresh flax seed and grind in my blender just before using)
1 tsp. cinnamon
1.  Mix honey, molasses, and oil in a saucepan. Heat until melted and mixed.
2.  Combine oats, wheat germ, and cinnamon in a 9×13 pan
3.  Pour honey mixture over dry mixture and mix well.
4.  Bake at 375 degrees for 10 minutes. Stir and cook for about 5 more minutes.
5.  Let cool before eating.

Roasted nuts:

mixed nuts of choice (I like almonds and walnuts)
water
sea salt

1. Soak nuts in a large bowl with water and a few pinches of sea salt overnight.
2.  Drain nuts and place on a baking sheet.
3.  Bake at 200 degrees for 18-24 hours (or use a food dehydrator)

**  Please note:  If peanut allergies are an issue you might consider swapping out the almond flour for coconut flour  and sunbutter in place of the peanut butter in some of the recipes I post.

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14 Responses to Summer Snacks…

  1. Julia says:

    Oh how yummy! I need to make a healthy snack collection for my little household of two! I love those small sealed jars. I’d like to have some snack options that keep for awhile since it’s so easy to run out of fresh fruit and veggies.

  2. Sarah says:

    Do you ever worry about the healthiness of sugar substitutes like Truvia? I’ve read a lot of conflicting information, which makes me feel like the jury’s still out…

    • Jamie says:

      I don’t have a lot of concerns over Truvia because we use it so sparingly. My boys much prefer the taste of plant based erythritol over Truvia so I tend to use that more than anything to sweeten their food. If I used Truvia on a daily basis or in A LOT of recipes I might have some reservations, but for now I’m ok with it.

  3. Jill says:

    I’ve been eagerly awaiting your “summer snack issue”! School’s been out in AZ since mid-May and it’s so easy to rely on junk, especially when all the neighborhood kids are here swimming all day and we need quick & easy. Thanks again for some great ideas!

  4. Sandy says:

    For a great holistic snack try Gudernoobs made by WooHoo Foods. Only 30 calories each. They are all natural fruit/nut chews that come in 4 varieties and they have omega-3s!

  5. Thanks for posting these recipes, Jamie! I can’t wait to try some of these. :)

  6. Thanks for posting these recipes, Jamie! I can’t wait to try some of these.

  7. Cindy says:

    These look delicious and very healthy. I was wondering, what do you think is the cost for each of the recipes? As I was making a grocery list, I noticed that the whey crisp in particular is very expensive. It started looking like it was going to be about $10 or more each to make the granola bars and chocolate protein bites. Maybe there is more in the package of whey crisps than I am thinking? Also, what kind of sweetener is used in the sugar free chocolate chips? I really worry about all of the artificial sweeteners but I think that I’m ready to try some stevia and truvia. Are you referring to Stevia when you say that your boys prefer the taste of plant based erythirtol or is it something else? Could you share a link? Thank you!

  8. These look great! Thanks for putting all these recipes together…I’m going to tackle them this weekend.

    I have a question about the nuts – do you buy raw and roast them yourself? I make a trail mix for my kids with nuts, dark chocolate and raisins, and they’ll skip over the raw nuts I give them. But I don’t know if I could stand my oven going for 24 hours in this heat! (We’re in NC.) Would you do store-bought unsalted, roasted nuts as an alternative? Or something else?

    Thanks Jamie!!

  9. Nicole says:

    Do you think I could substitute chick pea flour for the almond flour in the choc. chip recipe (its what I have around:) thanks. love your blog

  10. Jamie Woodward says:

    HI Jamie! I think i’ve finally collected MOST of my ingredients to try these out…question about the granola bites…step one says place peanut butter & rice syrup…but i’m not seeing rice syrup listed in the ingredients…I need more info :)

  11. Lisa says:

    Hi Jamie,

    How much wheat germ do you use in the granola recipe? The quantity is not listed. Thanks.

  12. Wowo.. i have to try this . Thanks for the recipi

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