Now that school has started, you might just be one of the many parents scratching your chin or staring blankly into the fridge trying to figure out how to get your kids to eat healthy, gluten-free snacks instead of reaching for that convenient box of cookies or granola barsboth loaded with more sugar than a candy bar. Back-to-school gluten-free snacking doesn’t have to be a boring bag of dried, sticky raisins or expensive sushi. The solution for kid-friendly snacks is to create natural flavor with spices and fresh herbs instead of relying on white sugar and salt.
Go ahead, reach for the spice rack or snip a few fresh herbs from your herb garden before you tuck those leaves away for the winter. You can easily serve naturally gluten-free foods such as lean proteins, whole grains and fresh produce for your children’s snacks and mealsthen all you have to do is add a dash of antioxidant-rich spices and herbs. Believe me, once you introduce fresh, new foods, their taste buds will be yearning for more and their cravings for sugar will diminish. Be patientthis does take time but I assure you it worksas it does with all of my clients. Here are a few of my favorite, kid-friendly, gluten-free snacks that I make for my clients. I’ve used a variety of fresh herbs and spices to add maximum flavor in each bite. Tell your kiddos to watch out because the other kids at school will be begging to swap snacks!
- For a reduced sugar and gluten-free granola, combine honey, canola oil, flax seeds and salted peanuts with a dash of cinnamon, ginger and cocoa powder. Spread on a baking sheet and bake until golden. Toss with dried cranberries.
- In a food processor, pulse edamame, navy beans, spinach, avocado, red onions and cilantro with balsamic vinegar and olive oil. Serve with crudites or gluten-free crackers.
- For spicy roasted edamame, toss edamame with olive oil, garlic powder, black pepper, cumin, paprika and sea salt to taste. Roast until just golden.
- Here is a spin on a classic kids will reach for: pea deviled eggs. Combine plain Greek yogurt, sea salt, pepper, paprika, green peas, fresh thyme with hard-boiled eggs.
- Dark chocolate covered kale chips: toss kale leaves with olive oil, roast until crisp, drizzle with melted chocolate and sprinkle with sea salt and chili powder.
- Nut n’ Seed Bars with Almond Butter Sauce: combine oats, sesame, sunflower seeds, sea salt and chili powder with melted butter, honey and brown sugar. Transfer into a prepared baking sheet, bake until set, cool and slice. Drizzle with almond butter sauce.
- Do your kids love to dip gluten-free crackers or baby carrots in hummus? Try this no-bean, cauliflower hummus: steam cauliflower florets, and pulse in a food processor along with finely chopped onion, garlic, cilantro, lemon juice, cashews, salt and pepper until smooth.
- If little ones like sweet, nutty and chocolate-y snacks, my dark chocolate maple almond bark is the way to go. Combine melted cacao nibs and vegan chocolate chips with almond milk, sea salt and a dash of your favorite spicecinnamon, ground cloves, nutmeg, chili powder, etc.; pour over almonds laid out on a baking sheet and bake until set. Sprinkle with maple sugar.
- Swap apple or carrot sticks for jicama: slice one large jicama into “french fry” like sticks, toss in balsamic vinegar and cayenne pepper, and serve with a dipping sauce of blended mint leaves, flax seeds, avocado, almond butter, rice milk, sea salt and cinnamon.
Is your mouth watering yet? Have little ones help in the kitchen to make snacks and test different spices and herbs to find their favorite, whether it’s cinnamon and chili powder in chocolate chip cookies or sage and rosemary in a roasted chicken dishthe more you and the kids experiment, the better and more creative your school snacks will be.
For more easy gluten-free snack ideas and tips on how to stay gluten-free while traveling, check out TheHealthyApple.com for quick and easy recipes. Visit Amie on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest for even more tasty gluten-free tips and ideas for your back-to-school eats.
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