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    Healthy Snacks for Little Hands

    September 18, 2006 by Brandy Vencel

    As this pregnancy has gone on, I have found myself feeding the children more and more cereal. It all started quite innocently, for smells turned my tummy and cereal was something easily served cold. But then, they decided they liked it. And I decided it was convenient.

    Last week, I started to feel guilty. It’s not that there is anything particularly wrong with serving children cereal, it’s just that I had this great habit of serving extremely healthy snacks back when E. was an only child, and I feel like A. is getting the raw end of the deal. {By raw, I mean processed food.}

    Anyhow, I remembered last week that I had two recipes that provide a pan full of snacks that are healthier than most snacks. I mean, it is obviously very healthy to cut up a piece of fruit or two, but that is not easy to grab and go if headed to the park. These are healthier grab-and-go snacks.

    I will offer up the healthiest of the two first. This was given to me by an old aquaintance. Don’t let the name cause confusion. A four-year-old will easily eat these if the amount of sweetening agent is doubled or tripled.


    Baby Teething Bars
    1 beaten egg yolk
    2 Tb. real maple syrup OR raw honey {okay…I use 4-6 Tb. in real life}
    1 tsp. vanilla
    1 1/2 Tb. olive oil
    1/4 cup milk
    1 Tb. uncooked rolled oats {not quick-cooking}
    1 cup flour {I use whole wheat pastry flour, but anything works here}
    1 Tb. soy flour {optional}
    1 Tb. wheat germ {optional}
    1 Tb. nonfat dry milk {optional}
    Also consider tossing in shredded carrots, zucchini, bananas, apples, or pears.

    Blend wet ingredients, then add dry ingredients. Dough should be fairly stiff, but it really differs depending on what is tossed in {for example, pears are juicier than carrots, and this changes the texture}, so add flour and oatmeal if needed until the dough sticks together better. Roll out the dough into a small (ungreased) cookie sheet {I think mine is about 12″x8″ or so}) and bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes. Allow to cool a bit, and then use a pizza slicer to cut into squares or strips the perfect size for little hands. These do not have preservatives, so unless you have many children, it is a good idea to store them in the refrigerator. The added chill also soothes toddlers who are teething.

    And here is the next recipe. I think I may have originally found it on AllRecipes, though I’m not positive. This one also has a lot of options to toss in at the end, meaning that the end result can be different every time. Our favorite combination thus far was a combination of slivered almonds, dried cranberries, and raisins. And before one completely throws out the ideas of using seeds, please keep in mind that seeds offer some great health benefits. I remember reading once that a tablespoon of sesame seeds has all the calcium a woman needs for a full day!


    Homemade Chewy Granola Bars
    4.5 cups rolled oats
    1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
    1 tsp. baking soda
    1 tsp. vanilla
    2/3 cup unsalted butter, softened
    1/2 cup raw honey
    1/3 cup packed brown sugar {this is the healthiest part, right?}
    2 cups total add-ins…consider: mini semisweet chocolate chips, sunflower seeds, raisins, chopped dried fruit, mini m&ms, chopped or slivered nuts, sesame seeds, etc.

    Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Lightly grease one 9″x13″ pan. In large mixing bowl, combine oats, flour, baking soda, vanilla, butter, honey and brown sugar. Stir in the 2 cups of add-ins. Lightly press this mixture into the prepared pan. Bake at 325 for 18-22 minutes or until golden brown. Let cool 10 minutes, then cut into bars with a pizza slicer. Let the bars cool completely in the pan before removing or serving.

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  • Reply Kimbrah September 26, 2006 at 5:19 am

    You might be able to find it at Lassen’s. We have a chain of stores here that sells it. Spectrum uses refined palm oil and they make shortening and margerine. There are no hydrogenated oils in it. It is a bit more pricey, but worth it for us because of the food allergies and intolerances.

  • Reply Brandy September 19, 2006 at 3:38 pm

    Glad I could help! I must say that one of the things that is convenient about cooking from scratch is the ability to substitute in order to accomodate allergies or other health issues.

    What is Spectrum shortening? That is new to me…

  • Reply Kimbrah September 19, 2006 at 5:28 am

    Thanks! I have been looking for a granola bar recipe as all the store bought granola bars have wheat, eggs and/or milk in them and I need quick snacks to take on the go for me and the kids. I think I am going to try substituting the same amount of barley flour for the wheat flour and try Spectrum shortening for the butter (or maybe even Nucoa margerine). Great idea to post this. I’ll let you know how mine turns out!

  • Reply Brandy September 19, 2006 at 2:32 am

    I forgot to mention that the granola bars are also good to toss into a husband’s lunch sack! Throw in enough nuts and they are packed with protein and very filling…

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