September Snacks – Real Food 'Jello' and Granola Bars

It's that time of year - the time for busy! Whether you're headed back to school, you have kids who are, or if it's just time to hunker down after a lazy summer, this September I'll be sharing snacks that are easy to whip up and will keep you energized and healthy!

One of my favourite parts of my job is teaching at the Institute of Holistic Nutrition. There are so many incredible students learning to become top-quality nutritionists. One of those newly graduated nutritionists is Sandra Schellenberg. She's focusing her attention on family health, from Bean to Teen, and she's written a guest post for us today with 2 of her favourite after-school snacks. Hope you enjoy them as much as I have!

 

Sandra's Back to School Snacks

It seems like just yesterday we were splashing around in the lake at the cottage...Oh, wait a minute, we were! September is here and the hustle and bustle of school is back. The question is, what snacks will you be arming your child with to recharge and nourish their bodies and minds?  Here are two simple and nutrient dense recipes that offer a healthy twist on conventional snack favourites - Jello and Granola Bars.  

Fruit Jellies
dairy free . gluten free . nut free. vegan . kid approved . parent friendly . school friendly
Makes approximately 4 servings 

This is a quick and simple snack to send the kids off to school with that they will swoon over! If you’re like me, the thought of a child eating Jello makes you cringe. Processed sugar, artificial flavors, artificial colours that will send your child bouncing off the walls with the inability to focus on...well...anything! If that isn’t enough the sugar will suppress their immune systems for hours!  This is a delicious and nutrient dense snack that makes for a wonderful alternative to Jello but without all the bad stuff. Here we use Agar, a mineral rich and fiber dense sea algae, as the gelling agent, so it’s vegan as well. No processed sugar either, just 100% fruit juice and pieces of fresh fruit for sweetness. Best of all, the fiber in agar will slow the absorption of the sugar - so no sugar highs and crashes! You can use any combo of fruit juice and fruit. Here I used organic concord grape juice with freshly cut pieces of local peaches.  

Ingredients
1 cup 100% organic fruit juice
1 tablespoon agar flakes (or 1/2 teaspoon powder) *you can find agar at most health food stores
1 cup fresh organic fruit of choice

Put the juice and agar into a saucepan. Whisk together and bring very gently to a boil, then simmer for 10 ­ 15 min for flakes (approx. 5 min for powder). Stir frequently with a whisk or spoon to prevent the mixture from sticking. Remove from the heat and allow to cool slightly.

Place your choice of fruit in a jelly mold or container of choice and pour in the cooled juice/agar mixture. Allow to cool, then refrigerate for at least 30 minutes to set. 

-sourced from "Whole food 300 Recipes to Restore, Nourish, and Delight" by Jude Blereau

 

Go Go Granola Bars
dairy free . wheat free . nut free. vegan . kid approved . parent friendly
Makes approx. 16 bars

Before adding that value pack of granola bars to your shopping list try jotting down these ingredients instead and make your own! I know it’s hardly an original idea but when you make things yourself you are in control of the level of nutrients that will be present, so why not make every ingredient count? These bars are a delicious and nutritious snack that will satisfy any sweet tooth. Best of all, no high fructose corn syrup, icky hydrogenated fats or genetically modified ingredients to be found here! This recipe uses coconut nectar and dried fruits as the sweetener. Coconut nectar is sap that is tapped from coconut trees and contains live enzymes, 17 amino acids, a wide variety of minerals, vitamin C, a broad spectrum of B vitamins for energy and stress reduction, and it’s low glycemic meaning that your child won’t be getting that sugar high with the dreaded crash afterwards! The variety of healthy fats in this recipe will help nourish the brain and keep your little Einstein satisfied for longer. Sunflower seed butter offers a whole host of vitamins and minerals such as vitamin E (antioxidant), magnesium (reduces stress and the severity of asthma!) and phytosterols (support the immune system).

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Ingredients
1 cup brown rice crisps (I use Nature’s Path)
1 cup wheat free rolled oats
3/4 cup organic and unsulphured dried fruit of choice (I used a mix of sultanas and dried apples)
1/4 cup organic pumpkin seeds
1/4 cup raw buckwheat groats
1/4 cup hemp seeds
1/2 cup coconut nectar
2 tbsp coconut butter (stir well, it tends to separate)
1/4 cup organic sunflower seed butter (any nut butter will do)
2 tsp organic cinnamon
1/8 tsp both nutmeg and cloves (allspice would work well here too)

In a large bowl mix together the brown rice crisps, oats, dried fruit, pumpkin seeds, buckwheat groats and hemp seeds and all spices and set aside.

In a small pot add the coconut nectar and both butters and stir over medium-low heat until combined and smooth. Pour the nectar/butter mixture into the dry mixture and combine well.  Press firmly into a 8” x 8” pan and refrigerate for an hour or so. Take out of the fridge and loosen all corners and sides to help ease it out as a whole slab. Cut into squares, bars or whatever shape you wish. Store in an airtight container in a cool place.

 

I hope you and your family enjoy these snacks as much as my family and I do. If you have some simple and delicious recipes that you love please share, I’d love to hear from you. Or if you have a conventional snack or food that you love but know you shouldn’t, tell me, I just may have a healthy alternative for you!
Sandra Schellenberg CNP
Nourishing your Family from Bean to Teen
slsschellenberg [at] gmail.com