Clean Snacking Made Easy
When my family made the tough decision to go dairy/gluten/corn free to support our youngest daughter’s dietary issues, it was brutal at first. No pizza unless it has gluten free crust and no cheese? Ugh. No ice cream when all your friends are having it at a party? Bleh. No smores made over the fire? Darn it. We made due with lots of fruits with dips, and Molly was a super sport about it. But, then came the beginning of school and the awful, nagging fear (my own, not Molly’s) about what the heck to pack in her lunch without making her feel like the oddest kid in the school? She already was insecure about what she was eating and still deathly afraid of getting sick again, especially in front of her peers (worst thing in the world for a 9 year old). So, what to do, what do to? You can only eat so many bananas and carrot sticks.
Lucky for us these days, there are a plethora of websites out there that specialize in just what I was looking for. It’s like so many of us are going through the exact same thing, with a few variations here and there. Our poor kids. Our poor bodies. Our poor kitchens. So, as much as I HATE that we are living in a world where half of our food can barely be called food anymore, I LOVE that some awesomely brave moms out there have shared their own stories and opened up their virtual kitchens to give people like me a little insight into what I can cook for my kiddo so she will be happy when she opens up her lunch box at school and not horrified.
I first checked out www.100daysofrealfood.com, by local Charlotte gal, Lisa Leake. She has great recipes with all real food ingredients. Glorious website. I just had to tweak a few of them to make them fit our diet. The next awesome site was www.detoxinista.com. Very paleo. Not, that we are paleo, but the paleo diet really has a million recipes we can use, so it made my life much easier. And, I didn’t have to tweak anything at all. Tons of breakfasts, dinners, snacks, and great, clean dessert recipes. You do have to have some ‘odd’ items you may never have heard of sometimes, like arrowroot powder (already had it – this ain’t my first rodeo) but not so odd that it makes the food odd. Just a little more labor intensive. And another great site I found is www.elanaspantry.com. Again, very paleo but doable and required me to do less thinking so I dove right in. She also has a couple of great cookbooks for those older gals like me who like the feel of paper in our hands!
Little by little, I was able to construct some great, healthy, clean lunches for my girls, including some super tasty snack foods like granola and coconut bars, grain free pumpkin and dark chocolate muffins (which are flipping delicious! Every kid who comes to my house requests these) and (when we dabble a little in whole wheat) made from scratch pop tarts. De-lish.
All these I sent to school with Molly, and all these she ate, much to her mother’s absolute delight!
So, since school is practically right around the corner, I’m adding in my absolutely favorite healthy snack, chewy granola bars. Sometimes they don’t even make into my kids’ lunch because my hubby and I eat them all. Really. Not joking.
Glorious Granola Bars (adapted from www.100daysofrealfood.com)
- 2 cups oats
- 1 cup oat flour (this can be made by blending a cup of oats until it becomes flour)
- 1/4 cup pumpkin seeds
- 1/4 cup sunflower seeds
- 1/4 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1/2 cup maple syrup (or honey)
- Dashes of nutmeg, cinnamon and cloves
- 1 tsp salt
Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
Mix all ingredients together. If you have a countertop mixer, it comes in super handy with this recipe as the dough is really sticky. While dough is being formed, line a 9×13” or 9×9” pan with parchment paper.
When everything is well-mixed, place the dough in your pan on top of the parchment and, using another piece of parchment paper, mash the mixture around as flat as you can and as evenly as possible. Bake at 325 for about 20 minutes or until edges are browned. Remove from oven and let the granola cool completely. Once cool, lift from the pan using edges of parchment paper and place on a cutting board. Using a sharp knife, cut the granola into squares and store in the fridge for up to a week. Use the leftover ‘crumblies’ in your dairy free yogurt for breakfast! Enjoy!
Kristen Feighery is a self-taught folk artist, originally from southeastern Kentucky. She spends her days painting anything not nailed down (and some things that are), chauffeuring one daughter to sporting events, having tea parties with the other, and writing a blog. She's also married to a rather large Irishman and has a pub in her house. Really.