Snack foods can be a mama's life saver.
Either because that mama is 7 months pregnant and every 30 minutes it's like she hasn't eaten in 13 years...
OR because, that mama is out at the park, taking a jog, running errands, or driving to a farther destination with a hungry child.
Hungry child=No fun.
A lot of times mom's always ask me what healthy food items I pack in my diaper bag when I am out for a day on the go. It's easy to throw in a bag of chips, packaged granola bars, cheese crackers, or fruit rollups, but obviously those aren't always the best options.
A lot of times when it comes to making choices for eating and children, parents love options that are fast, quick, and easy, and a lot of times we forget about those snacks being healthy and nutritious.
And no...I'm not talking about cheez-its made with whole grain.
Sorry hubby, that's not considered a health food.
Luckily with a little (yes just a little) planning, you can have hearty, natural, and healthy snacks ready for on the go runs whenever you need them!
Let's begin shall we!
1. No Bake Cookie Balls
I love love love raw cookie balls, or protein balls. It's basically a blend of nuts/nut butters, dates, coconut, cocoa powder, seeds, sweetener, oats, etc. Basically the combinations are endless and I consider them to be almost like a dessert.
When I make them I usually grind most of the ingredients really fine, (like the nuts), so Baby Boo can enjoy them with her little baby teeth! It's a treat any child will love! Imagine...Here baby, have a chocolate cookie ball!
Basic No Bake Cookie Balls
1/2 c. cashews
1/2 c. walnuts
1/2 c. scant raw cocoa powder
1/2 c. almond butter
1 c. unsweetened shredded coconut
1/2 c. oats
1/4 c. cocoa nibs
1/2 c. dried apricots (Organic)
1/4 tsp. vanilla
1/4 c. honey (scant)
1/4 c. maple syrup (scant)
1. Using a food processor, blend nuts until fine and crumbly. Add the rest of the ingredients until well combined and the mixture is fine and can be formed into balls. Roll into 1 inch balls and store in the fridge or freezer and grab one when hungry!
Other cookie ball recipes:
Citrus Cookie Dough Balls (Optional on the citrus part)
S'mores Balls (Top recipe on the blog!)
Store Bough Options: Larabars
2. Mini Sandwiches
If I have time in the morning I'll make a quick nut butter and jelly sandwich and cut it up for Boo to have as a snack later when we are out and about. Don't limit yourself to PB&J though, try hummus and cheese or hummus mixed with thinly cut veggies like cucumbers or tomatoes.
3. Raw Veggies
Every mom in the world might be laughing at me right now thinking that a piece of broccoli would qualify as a 'snack' to their toddler.
I understand it's different, but start your kids young on loving raw veggies (with fun dips), and pretty soon they won't mind munching a carrot in the stroller. You can also try cucumber slices, baby tomatoes chopped, celery with nut butters and etc...If you are able to, you can also pack a side cup of dip like hummus!
When it comes to fruits the options are never ending.
Banana, apples, plums, pineapple, watermelon, berries, oranges, etc. Pack them pre-chopped, (and the skin off if necessary), in a to-go bag or container with an ice pack to keep them cool and refreshing!
5. Pre-made Baked Goods (Healthy/Natural/Homemade)
Pictured above: Chocolate Protein Breakfast Cake Bars
Usually once a week I bake some sort of muffin/cookie/sweet bread etc. I usually put half in the freezer for a quick treat in the future, and save the rest for snack time and on-the-go. The baked goods I pack are usually whole grain and made with natural ingredients and sweeteners.
Other options for healthy on-the-go baked goods:
6. Store Bought Items:
As much as I love food and treats made at home, I'm also a realist and I know that sometimes I'm not By Golly Miss Molly whose been baking away in my kitchen all week. After all, I've got story books to read, tea parties to have, and forts to build!
My advice for purchased goods is this: shop natural, whole, and sometimes organic when it comes to buying snacks. Make sure you can read and understand the ingredients and know what each one is.
Remember, organic Oreos are still...Oreos. :)
Pictured above: Peanut Butter Green Bars.
Despite that the picture above looks like marijuana granola bars, they are these insanely delicious PB bars that are sold at our local farmers market. (My husband even loves them!) Every time I go by I stock up and buy a bunch because they go fast! I show these because I think it's great to take advantage of local markets and companies that sell natural and whole foods/snacks. They come in handy for those days where you don't have time to cook/cut/and prepare, and you just want something ready to go.
Another snack we love are these applesauce packets. Baby Boo LOOOVES them! Sometimes you can buy them with veggies in them too, which is great! These can be a little pricey, so if I buy them I usually get them at Costco. Despite the price, I always buy them because they are such a yummy quick snack grab!
As for crackers and things, I aim for products that are whole wheat and minimally processed. Here are a few of our salty favorites:
Crackers (Simple ingredients)
Dried fruits are another favorite in our household. The freeze dried ones have a crispy/crunchy taste, which some kids love!
Other options include, but aren't limited too:
Banana chips (Roasted)
Last but not least, drinks.
I usually always have a water bottle, but sometimes Baby Boo loves other options. Who am I kidding, if I pulled out a cup of chocolate milk she'd be in heaven!
Here are out favorite drink options:
Flavored Coconut Water
So remember, whether your headed to Target to spend $100 or a fun day at the beach, there are always healthy options to have ready and on-the-go when you need them.
And when in doubt, chocolate is ALWAYS an acceptable snack :)!