KIDS ARE BACK at school, which means parents are back to packing lunches and stocking up on snacks.
When it comes to choosing snacks, pre-packaged fare can get expensive and add a significant amount to a family’s grocery bill. So, instead try some nutritious and tasty nosh they won’t trade with their friends or throw out.
One of my kids’ favorite homemade nibbles were fruit rolls. These are simple to make and have only two ingredients — the fruit of your choice and honey. The only downside is they take about six hours in the oven but if you make a couple of trays, you’ll have fruit rolls for the entire week.
Another easy snack to put together is a do-it-yourself version of a “Cheez-It” type of cracker. All you have to do is slice the cheese, poke a hole in the center, add it to a baking sheet and pop it in the oven.
This homemade version is healthier than the store-bought version and because it has no flour, it’s also gluten-free.
For a fun after-school treat (or an easy breakfast), try stuffed banana crepes.
Once the crepes are cooked, you can fill them with whatever you want. My kids loved it when I spread Nutella (hazelnut spread) on the crepes and added honey roasted sliced almonds. Fresh fruit, like chopped strawberries and kiwi, work well with this recipe, too, and they’re delicious with a little jam.
The crepes should be packed and assembled when they’re ready to eat. If you are sending them with your child to school, pack the crepes with a packet of almond butter and a small container of chopped fruit so they can fill their own.
Making your own school snacks might seem like one more thing to add to your to-do list, but the nutritional payout and savings will be well worth the effort.
Stuffed Banana Crepes
1 ripe banana, mashed
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
2 tablespoons real butter
3 tablespoons hazelnut spread or almond butter
3 tablespoons honey roasted sliced almonds
1/2 cup sliced strawberries or other fruit, if desired
1 tablespoon powdered sugar, for garnish, if desired
Add banana and egg to a bowl and beat together with an electric mixer until smooth.
Spray a medium or large-sized non-stick skillet with cooking spray and set heat to medium. Add about 1/4 to 1/2 cup of batter to the skillet and cover.
Cook for 2 to 3 minutes on each side or until they are set and lightly browned. Remove from skillet and repeat with remaining batter.
Spread hazelnut spread or almond butter on each and top with strawberries and almonds.
Fold the right and left sides toward the middle and roll up like a burrito.
Garnish with powdered sugar before serving, if desired.
Easy Cheese Crisps
6-ounce package Colby Jack Cheese slices
2 teaspoons Kosher salt
Line a 13x9 baking sheet with parchment paper.
Cut each slice of cheese into quarters and set each piece on the parchment paper. Repeat with remaining cheese.
Use a straw to poke a hole in the center of each piece, then top with Kosher salt.
Set in an oven preheated to 275 degrees and bake for 25 minutes.
Homemade Fruit Rolls
4 1/2 cups berries
1/2 cup honey
2 tablespoons lemon juice
Remove any stems and leaves from berries. Place berries in a colander and rinse to clean. Transfer berries to a food processor and add the honey and lemon juice. Process until smooth. Get rid of any seeds by pouring the fruit through a fine-mesh strainer.
Line a 13x9 baking sheet with parchment paper and spread the fruit and honey mixture on the parchment paper in an even layer.
Set in an oven preheated to 200 degrees and bake for 3 hours. After three hours, rotate the tray and bake for an additional 3 hours or until the fruit is dried and pliable. Remove from oven and allow to cool. Use a pizza cutter to cut the fruit into strip size of your choice and roll up.