September 17, 2013
Check out this week’s installment of my school lunch video series. It’s the best one yet since we’re talking about awesome, easy lunch box snacks (snacks!) that are healthy, too.
We’ve talked a lot about how to put together a healthy lunch box. But, at the end of the day, none of my tips and recipes mean a thing if kiddo won’t eat what you pack. A favorite way to get my kids excited about what’s in their lunch bags is to include a healthy snack with mega kid appeal. Something snazzy, something that makes them feel like I’m treating them.
These are three of my best healthy lunch box snacks that get my kids jazzed about lunch time. It’s true that sometimes they eat the snack and leave the rest. It’s inevitable. But with snacks like these, I don’t feel so bad. They’re healthy and hearty, foods I can feel good about them eating. Especially my go-to granola bars.
Watch for all three ideas and be sure to bookmark this recipe for my go-to chewy granola bars. We love these and I know that you will, too. They are endlessly adaptable. Add whatever spices, dried fruit, nuts and seeds that you want. You can also substitute seed butter for nut butter. I’ve even added tahini before! And, of course, mini chocolate chips always make these extra special.
Whatever combo you go for, make a double batch. These freeze beautifully which means that you can have them on hand whenever you like. Just pack a square in kiddo’s lunch box straight from the freezer and it’ll be thawed by lunch time.
Go-To Chewy Granola Bars
(Can be shared with kids 12+ mos)*
Makes one 8″-square pan, about 9 large granola bars or 18 granola bar bites
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Pinch of salt
3/4 cup rolled oats (you can substitute gluten free oats)
1/2 cup dried cranberries or raisins
1/2 cup roasted almonds
1/4 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
1 egg white
1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Line an 8×8″ baking pan with parchment paper; set aside. Combine butter, sugar, peanut butter, cinnamon and salt in a small saucepan set over medium-low heat. Heat, stirring constantly, until the ingredients are well combined and the sugar is dissolved. Set aside to cool.
2. Combine oats, cranberries or raisins, almonds and coconut in a medium bowl; set aside.
3. Once the butter mixture has cooled, whisk in the egg white. Then, pour the wet ingredients into the dry. Stir to combine well.
4. Evenly spread the granola bar mixture in the prepared pan. Bake in preheated oven for 30 minutes. Allow granola bars to cool for at least 15 minutes before lifting them out of the pan with the parchment paper. Cut into squares and serve or place in an airtight container. Store on the countertop for up to 3 days or warp individual bars in plastic wrap and store in the freezer for up to 3 months.
*Note: While there is nothing in these that is unsafe for younger eaters (that’s right, introduced carefully, even beginner eaters can enjoy peanut butter and almonds!), I recommend them beginning at 12 months due to the sugar content. No matter how old your eaters, be sure to serve age appropriate portions. Just a little bit of this snack packs a punch with little ones.