The feel of crisp, almost-fall air in the morning will forever remind me of one thing: back to school. Fresh haircuts, cool new shoes, a new pack of pencils, and maybe even a new book bag– these are some yearly rituals that kids look forward to (for the most part!)
Despite the excitement that comes along with going back to school, there are a few things that can cause a bit of tension between parents and their kids: earlier bedtimes, homework, and the most dreaded infamous lunch bag. Finding lunches and snack ideas that are both tasty AND healthy can be a huge challenge!
That’s where we come in - here are some delicious snack ideas that won’t take hours of planning, can be made in large batches and frozen for months, and most importantly - they taste delicious.
Lightly grease a large rectangular baking dish (approx. 8.5″ x 12.5″) and line with a piece of parchment paper so the bars are easier to lift out.
In a large bowl, mash the banana until smooth. Stir in the vanilla.
Place the rolled oats into a food processor (or blender on the lowest speed) and pulse until the oats are coarsely chopped (but still with lots of texture). Stir oats into the banana mixture. Chop the cherries and stir these and the rest of the ingredients into the banana-oat mixture until thoroughly combined.
Spoon mixture into prepared dish. Press down until compacted and smooth out with hands until even (you may want to dampen your hands with water to avoid sticking)
Bake for 23-27 minutes until firm and lightly golden along the edge. Place dish on a cooling rack for 10 minutes, then carefully slide a knife to loosen the ends and lift out. Place granola slab on a cooling rack for 10 minutes.
Keep in the freezer for up to 2 months and allow them to thaw in the fridge overnight before packing them in a lunch box!
Coconut Brownie Bite
Makes 20-24 brownie bites
1½ cups raw seeds of choice (sunflower, pumpkin, etc)
¼ cup cocoa powder
½ cup unsweetened shredded coconut
1 tsp vanilla extract
¼ tsp Himalayan salt
1 cup dates, pitted (about 10 Medjool dates)
1 tbsp water
Unsweetened cocoa powder, for coating (optional)
In a large food processor, grind the walnuts into a fine meal. Add the rest of the ingredients, and process until a sticky, uniform dough is formed.
Scoop the batter with a tablespoon onto a plate or baking sheet lined with parchment paper, to prevent sticking.
Roll the balls between your hands, and roll them in cocoa powder, if desired.
Store the balls in the fridge for 1 week or freezer for up to 2 months, and serve them chilled for the firmest texture.
Healthy Apple Cinnamon Muffins
Makes 12 muffins
2 cups oats
1 tsp organic baking powder
¼ tsp Himalayan salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1 cup milk of choice
1 egg (preferably free-range!)
½ cup mashed banana (about 1½ medium banana)
1 large apple, peeled, cored, and diced
1. Preheat your oven to 375˚ F degrees.
2. In a large bowl, combine the oats, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon. Add the milk, egg, and mashed banana and mix until combined. Stir in the apple.
3. Grease a muffin tin and fill each cup with the oatmeal mixture to just about the top. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until the cups are set.
4. Store in the fridge or these can also be frozen. Enjoy!
Looking for other ways to make healthy snacks more appealing? Here are a few quick and easy ideas:
Placing fruits or veggies on skewers (skewers make eating anything more fun!).
Making cut-out shapes of fruit or sandwiches
Replacing juice with fruit-infused water, or give them a water bottle with sugar-free electrolyte packets
Switch up dips and sauces—make a homemade vinaigrette, hummus, or tzatziki!
Do you have any tried, tested, and true tips on making school lunches fun? Drop them in the comments below!