Healthy snacks for children is something that has come up a few times lately on a forum I frequent. It seems to be an area that some parents and caregivers struggle with, trying to fill up little bellies with decent food, whilst staying within a given budget.
My kids eat A LOT. And often, it seems.
They are boys, not that that should make much difference, I'm sure there are boys that eat like birds but my two eat more like dinosaurs. Same manners sometimes, too.
So what do my kids snack on?
Here's a fairly comprehensive list:
fruit of all kinds
fruit leather, homemade
rice crackers with butter or cheese
leftover roast chicken
leftover cooked sausages
homemade cookies (one at a time)
homemade fruit sorbet
organic corn chips
leftover soaked brown rice, with butter and salt
sourdough toast with avocado
My theory with snacks for my boys, is to try and make the snack like a mini meal.
I always include some protein and try and make the snack satisfying and filling so they won't be back in an hour for more. So I pick a few things off the above list, depending what I have around at a given time, and away we go.
Happy little snackers.
The next question people tend to ask is how do you make whatever-it-is?
So I'll start with the fruit leather.
Have you ever had a fruit roll-up from the store?
I have, it was something I indulged in when I was a teenager spending my own money, not something my mother would EVER have purchased and fed to her kids. Wise woman, I can appreciate that now.
You don't need me to tell you are full of sugar and you-don't-want-to-know what else.
But, they are a convenient food, or, a convenience food I 'spose. Right.
So make your own!
Cook up a some fruit, I haven't come across a combo that hasn't worked yet.
Skins and all.
Well, not banana, orange or kiwifruit peel, of course. Ripe fruit is best.
Feel free to add some veggies to the mix. I'm still experimenting with this, so far I've added carrots and tried a bit of spinach.
Don't add sugar, fruit shouldn't need it, even with a bit of veg mixed in.
Cook it down till it's fairly thick, you don't want it too runny.
Throw it in a blender, blend it till it's as smooth as you can get it.
Then, either spread it on your dehydrator trays, or on covered oven trays. You can use baking paper or silicone baking mats to cover your trays.
Below is the cooked fruit spread on the trays that go in my dehydrator and my, er, helper...
And some finished roll ups.
Dry it out on LOW heat until it's dry, not sticky, but still flexible.
Tear into pieces, roll them up, and store in a jar.
If you want to cook the fruit in your thermomix, which it is PERFECT for as it needs no water added and blends it absolutely sooooooth....
here is link to thermomix fruit roll-ups on the thermomix forum, a delicious place to hang out.
Another quick tip: scavenge/scrounge any fruit you can off neighbourhood trees, cut up and freeze any fruit you have that's getting too ripe to eat, save the leftover bits of fruit from the kids....a half eaten apple, chopped up fruit that comes home still in the lunch box but now looking inedible.....all of that.
Chop it up and freeze it in a box. Add to it whenever you have more 'bits'.
Then cook this up with whatever other fruit you like for your next lot of fruit leather.
Waste not, want not, right?