November 10th, 2010

Snack Week Recipes: Granola Bars, Peanut Butter Sandwich Crackers & More

peanut butter cracker sandwich

The call of (snack) duty!

Last week was my turn to provide a morning snack, Monday through Friday, for the 15 students in the Hungry Boy’s class. My goal was to give the kiddos a tasty, well-balanced plate that would:

* be rich in protein
* provide a serving of fruit and/or vegetables
* give a dose of healthy fat and whole grain carbs to keep up their energy

I’m very happy with what I served. How could I not be when it included these Crunchy Cinnamon Granola Bars:

honey cinnamon granola bars

And the super cute Mini Peanut Butter Sammys on Oatmeal Flax Crackers pictured above.

I also threw in some store-bought stuff like string cheese because, well, even I can’t manage to work, make dinner and make 5 days worth of treats for 15 kids! It’s all about balance, right?

Here’s the full menu:

Monday: Zucchini muffins, pears, cheddar cheese
Tuesday: Crunchy Honey Cinnamon Granola Bars (recipe below) and Apple Banana fruit squeezers (we also like the Trader Joe’s Apple Carrot squeezers)
Wednesday: Hummus, pita chips, carrots and celery sticks
Thursday: Mini Peanut Butter Sammys on Oatmeal Flax Crackers and grapes (which are on the 2010 Dirty Dozen list of the 12 most pesticide ridden foods; consider sticking to organic grapes if possible)
Friday: Homemade trail mix (my combo below), fresh banana, string cheese

Not sure how much time you’ve spent with 4-year-olds lately, but they are not a revealing bunch. At least not when it comes to what happened at school. (“I don’t remember!” “Mama, not now.”) From the little I was able to glean, it seems the snacks were a hit. Though, I must admit, there might have been one or two kids disappointed not to get cheddar bunnies or teddy grahams! I know for sure that the teachers were down with the snacks. I’ve even gotten a requests for recipes.

Bookmark these recipe even if your kiddo’s school doesn’t rotate snack duty. Hummus, muffins, granola bars and peanut butter sammys all store well through the week. You can easily make a bunch over the weekend for quick weekday, on-the-go or lunchbox snacks.

And, in the meantime: What are your favorite homemade snack-time treats? What are your kiddo’s fave snacks?

Crunchy Cinnamon Granola Bars
makes about 15 small bars
(can be shared with kids 12+ mos)*

2 c rolled oats
1 c slivered almonds
1/2 c uncooked quinoa, rinsed and patted dry
3/4 c wheat germ
1/4 c ground flax seeds
1/2 c raw pepitas (ie, pumpkin seeds) or sunflower seeds
3/4 c honey
1/4 c light brown sugar
3 Tbsp butter
3 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp salt
1 Tbsp cinnamon

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 9 x 9″ baking pan or line with parchment.

2. Spread oats, almonds, quinoa, wheat germ, flax and seeds on a baking sheet. Place in the oven and toast for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

3. In the meantime, cook honey, brown sugar, butter, vanilla and salt in a saucepan over medium heat until brown sugar has completely dissolved.

4. Once the oat mixture is nicely toasted, remove it from the oven and reduce the heat to 300 degrees. Immediately combine the oat and liquid mixtures and add the cinnamon. Stir to combine. Spoon the mixture into the prepared baking dish and press down, making sure that it’s evenly distributed. Bake for 25 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool completely before cutting into squares. They will get crunchy overnight. You can store these in an airtight container for up to a week.

*Note: There is a lot of disagreement about when it’s safest to introduce tree nuts. A new (2008) study by the American Academy of Pediatrics suggests that nuts can be introduced to children without a personal or family history of allergies as early as 6 months. Others continue to recommend that parents wait until 24 or even 36 months. Speak to your pediatrician about what’s best for your child.

Also make sure that your finger-food eating child can manage hard, crunchy foods before sharing these granola bars with them.

Trail Mix
How much you make and what you include will determine the number of servings and with whom you can share this. If you keep the pieces small and use ingredients like dehydrated fruit, you can share at least some of your gorp with beginner finger food eaters.

My trail mix is always different. This time I included:
baked apple chips
sunflower seeds
walnuts
mini-chocolate chips
dried cranberries

1. Mix everything up and serve. Bring the kids in on this one. They can either use their hands to toss all of the ingredients together in a bowl or zip everything in a large baggie and let your kiddo shake, shake, shake things up.

8 Responses

  1. DailyChef says:

    Love these recipes! It’s always fun to make tasty and (mostly) healthy snacks.

  2. Love the look of those granola bars. It’s our turn for snacks this week. Actually, they call it being VIP, but that’s just a fancy term for it is our turn to be the parent volunteer! I’ve been thinking granola bars lately too…

  3. One Hungry Mama says:

    VIP. I love it! In a way, it is like being a VIP for me, but not so sure the moms who aren’t into cooking agree!

  4. The oatmeal flax cracker of those yummy mini peanut butter cookies took it over the edge for me. I *need* to try that recipe. The granola bars would be next on my list, of course. :-) Good and delicious, all of it.

  5. These are fabulous! Thanks! This sure beats my usual string cheese and crackers routine.

  6. Dinetonite says:

    Great post; I look forward to following your blog. Sounds great, thanks for sharing

  7. Kristy says:

    I’ve been using these ideas and thought I would mention it – they are just fantastic, and easy, and healthy. We do seem to have trouble over trail or snack mixes b/c my children quickly eat the chocolate bits. There is often crying for more. I guess I’ll have to do chocolate-free mixes. :( Who can blame them?

  8. Katie says:

    Can’t wait to try these granola bars! My 2 year olds favorite snacks when we’re out are bananas; mix of walnuts, pumpkin seeds and raisins; dried fruit (but limited – very sweet!); and carrot-bran muffins from “The Vegetarian Mother’s Cookbook” by Cathe Olson. I also want to note that as a preschool teacher in my life-before-baby, I SO MUCH appreciated when parents bring in healthy snacks. I feel that school can be like home – you can (try to) control the food that comes in. If we don’t give them goldfish crackers, they won’t eat goldfish crackers. I know kids love them, but they love candy bars too and we don’t give them *those* for snacks! I have rarely seen a 3-4 year old turn down whole wheat bread with unsweetened peanut butter, or plain yogurt mixed with pineapple (two snacks we used at my school).

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