MAKE AHEAD RECIPES FOR HEALTHY SNACKING

Sometimes it can be hard to come up with new snack ideas and making sure you and your family are snacking on healthier options certainly takes some time and thought. Today I have a few of our favorite snack time treats that are both healthyish and easy to prep and prepare ahead of time to make snack time simple and stress free.

I’m a big believer in prepping and preparing as much as I can in advance. This helps save time, stress, and I feel like its saves us from lots of unnecessary messes. Doing like tasks together is a huge time saver and this is especially true of cooking and baking. Instead of making 3 huge messes a day 7 days a week, spend one full day doing as much of the “messy” work that you can so that throughout the week you can pull prepared foods right out of the fridge and be on your way. Here are some of our favorite make ahead snacks.

HOMEMADE GRANOLA

This is a favorite. It’s delicious alone, but also yummy with Greek yogurt and I like it with some almond milk to eat as cereal. It’s so easy to throw together and bake on a Sunday afternoon. I store it in a mason jar and its easy to pull out and eat on the spot!

INGREDIENTS

  • 4 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 1 ½ cup raw nuts – we like pecans
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt (if you’re using standard table salt, use ¾ teaspoon)
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ cup melted coconut oil or olive oil
  • ½ cup maple syrup or honey
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ⅔ cup dried fruit – we like cranberries or golden raisins
  • Optional additional mix-ins: ½ cup chocolate chips or coconut flakes

DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a large, rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine the oats, nuts, salt and cinnamon. Stir to blend.
  3. Pour in the oil, maple syrup or honey and vanilla.
  4. Mix well, until everything is lightly coated. Pour the granola onto your pan
  5. Spread evenly on your pan
  6. Bake until lightly golden, about 22 minutes, stirring halfway and spread evenly again.
  7. Let the granola cool completely, undisturbed about 45 minutes Top with the dried fruit Break the granola into pieces with your hands if you want to retain big chunks, or stir it around with a spoon if you don’t want extra-clumpy granola.
  8. Store the granola in an airtight container at room temperature for 1 to 2 weeks, or in a sealed freezer bag in the freezer for up to 3 months. Bring to room temp before eating.

OATMEAL PROTEIN BITES

This one is not only great for kids to munch on, but adults will love them too. Plus it’s a great quick throw together recipe that the kids will love to help with! I remember seeing this recipe on a TV show many years ago and I literally ran to my kitchen and made them right away before the episode was even over, haha. It’s one I reach for often because it’s so easy to make and I mean….peanut butter, CHOCOLATE.. oatmeal… do I have to say any more? It’s the perfect ingredient match! Recently I decided to adjust them a little bit because I finally tried Vital Protein Collagen Peptides. I’ve heard about it for awhile now and have seen so many smoothie recipes, coffee recipes , protein bars etc and I thought, why not try it out and put some in my oatmeal balls? Because in my opinion the protein in the nut butter and flax seed is more than enough protein for my boys, I decided to make a separate batch for them without the collagen. I saved the collagen ones for me and my husband.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 cup of oats
  • 2 scoops collegen peptides [optional]
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup flax seed [you can use 1/4 – 1/2 cup extra oats if you leave out the flax]
  • 1/2 cup nut butter – we use creamy peanut butter
  • 1 tsp of vanilla
  • 1/3 cup of honey

DIRECTIONS

This is the easiest process. Literally throw it all in a bowl, mix well then roll into small bite size balls. Pop in the refrigerator to chill. These will keep for about 1 week in the fridge. That’s it!

You can totally use different nut butters if you prefer almond, cashew…it all works. Also I’ve seen recipes with coconut flakes, cinnamon and sugar, white chocolate chips, cranberry, raisin. It really is a great base recipe to experiment with and try different variations depending on your tastes. The best part, it’s a healthy snack option for you and your littles filled with simple ingredients!

HOMEMADE VANILLA PUDDING

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 Tablespoons cornstarch – you could try flour instead
  • 3 cups half and half (you can also use whole milk or light cream)
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 4 egg yolks, beaten slightly
  • 1 Teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 Tablespoon butter
  • 1/4 Teaspoon salt

DIRECTIONS

  1. In a double boiler cook sugar, whole milk, corn starch, and salt
  2. When the mixture thickens, add some of it to the egg yolks and mix well
  3. Pour egg mixture into the double boiler mixture
  4. Cook until thick. Take the pudding off the stove and add in butter and vanilla
  5. Place pudding in medium sized bowl and cool until pudding is lukewarm
  6. Cover and refrigerate until chilled.
  7. Store in fridge — will last several days in a sealed container.

Adding strawberries or blueberries is a really delicious addition.

We like this as a snack or even a sweet treat after supper in the evenings.

HOMEMADE APPLESAUCE FRUIT LEATHER

You can use homemade applesauce or store bought for this. To make, just lay parchment paper on a large baking sheet. Pour your applesauce onto the parchment and spread evenly. Put in the oven at 170 degrees for 4-6 hours to dehydrate the applesauce. Cut your fruit leather into strips about 1.5 inch wide with kitchen scissors while it’s still attached to the parchment and place in an airtight container in the fridge. A bonus the kids think it’s fun to pull off the paper! You can make this with other fruit purees, too. Strawberry, raspberry, mango.. Lots of possibilities.

WASH AND SLICE CARROTS/OTHER VEGGIES FOR A SIMPLE SNACK

I like doing this ahead as part of my prep work on a Sunday or Monday — I just wash my veggies and give them a quick slicing and dicing and store in an airtight container in the fridge.

SLICED BLOCK CHEESE AND CRACKERS

Another prep ahead option, slice your block cheese into cubes or squares for a quick cheese and cracker snack. We love muenster and cheddar cheese in our house. Add fresh grapes or apples to make it even better!

HARD BOILED EGGS

I usually make a bunch on a Sunday afternoon so that I can pull them out for a quick snack or use for salads and tuna salad. My favorite way is in the insta pot. 5 min cook time, 5 min. pressure release (but if I’m honest more like 6-7 minutes because I forget them often, haha), 5 minutes in an ice bath…perfect every time!

OTHER SNACKS THAT DON’T REQUIRE PREP

We love having apple sliced with peanut butter, an added treat.. slice the apples in discs and spread butter on top and top with mini chocolate chips

Rice cakes with nut butter and sliced bananas is another fave.

Homemade Popcorn is another family favorite as well. The boys love listening to the popcorn pop on the stovetop. Top with seasoning and a little melted butter…delish!

I hope I’ve given you some new snack ideas and these ideas inspire you prep a little ahead this week so that snacking is simple for you and your family!

Blessings,

Bree

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