Whose got their hands in the cookie jar? I believe that little cute hand in the above photo belongs to Eli, but I’ll admit that in my house, we’ve all been known to have our hands in the cookie jar, as we’re a family of snackers! Between the hours of 3:00 and 5:00 we all need a little something to nosh on, and something a bit sweet or salty tends to do the trick! Most afternoons the kids and I are running from one activity to another, so I prefer to hand them a homemade, healthy, grab-and-go snack, like one of these below bars, instead of something processed like goldfish or store-bought granola bars.
I know all of my mom friends are always looking for new snack ideas for themselves and their kiddos, so I’ve pulled together a round-up of my family’s favorite “somewhat healthy” on-the-go snacks for you all! I say “somewhat healthy” because these bars and bites are definitely healthier than your standard cookie or store-bought granola bar, as they don’t have a bunch of additives, are made with whole-grain ingredients and have no refined sugars, but they’re still a sweet snack. All of these bars are gluten-free, or can be made gluten-free, so that’s a bonus for those of you with gluten intolerances.
My cookie/snack jar is always filled up with one of these below goodies, and the kid’s and I can’t keep our hands out of the cookie jar, literally! So be forewarned, that if you make up one of these snacks, you might have a hard time keeping your hands out of the cookie jar…
I’m calling these the best healthy cookies because honestly, they’re pretty healthy, and they’re JUST AWESOME. You won’t be able to stop at one cookie, trust me, and you won’t have to feel too guilty about it either, as these cookies are full of healthy fats and antioxidants. These cookies are pretty much a nut based cookie, as well as vegan, grain-free and dairy free. You can also eat the batter raw, as there are no eggs! Steve, Mattie and Eli (Steve especially) are obsessed with them, and we all seem to be putting our hands in the cookie jar and pulling out and devouring a few too many cookies. I would rather my family eat these type of cookies than the processed ones they seem to crave like Oreos and Chips Ahoy. Also, you don’t have to fee guilty about eating dark chocolate. Dark chocolate is a plant based brain food. It contains iron, magnesium, zinc and fiber. It also has nutrients to beat depression & anxiety, and contains flavanols that fight inflammation, increase energy and focus, and improve mood and memory. Yay for dark chocolate.
Ok, I’ll be the first to admit that these are not the prettiest bars I’ve ever photographed, but they’re super tasty and healthy to boot, as there’s no refined sugar or white flour in these bars. These bars are easy to make and are filled with the goodness of quinoa, quinoa flour, oats, chia seeds, goji berries, local raw honey and so much more. These bars are jam-packed with protein, fiber and antioxidants! You can even make these gluten-free by using gluten-free oats. I usually make a batch of these on Sunday to enjoy throughout the week. It’s the perfect mid morning snack for school.
Just try and keep your hands out of the cookie jar with these bad boys. These little cookie bites, even though they’re on the healthier side, are super addicting. I shouldn’t really be calling them a cookie, as they’re a take on the classic Cliff Kid’s ZBAR, so they’re more of an energy bar in cookie form. These cookie bites are vegan, gluten-free (if you use GF oats), have no refined sugar, are flourless, eggless and dairy free, and they still taste great! That’s a winner recipe in my book! Their texture is soft and a bit chewy, sort of like a ZBAR. The kids and their friends LOVE these bad boys!
You’re going to be totally surprised at what’s in these cookie bites. First off, they’re paleo, butter and oil-free, grain-free (so yippee for those of you that are gluten intolerant or have celiac disease) dairy free, and the 2 main ingredients are dates and walnuts! Say what? The walnuts add such a buttery flavor to these cookies, I mean these cookies seriously taste like there’s butter in them, but like I said earlier, these cookies are butter-free. Walnuts are also a healthy fat that you can feel good about eating and their a good source of Omega 3. The cookies get their sweetness from the dates, but the cookies aren’t overly sweet, or don’t taste like a date-filled cookie. You know what, these cookies are just plain yummy, and have a great nutty and crunchy texture. They’re one of Marin mama’s FAVORITE snacks, and a favorite snack of my natural chef classmates!
These bars are basically a copycat version of one of Zoe’s and my favorite Kind bars, (their peanut butter and dark chocolate bar) but we created a nut-free version of that bar. They’re made with 6 simple healthy ingredients, oats, dark chocolate, Medjool dates, nut butter and honey. Oats are wonderful because they’re full of protein and fiber. Dark chocolate is full of antioxidants, and let’s admit, dark chocolate tastes great! Medjool dates are loaded with protein, dietary fiber and contain more potassium than other known mineral to man, bonus! The binding ingredient for these bars are peanut butter and honey! I use natural organic peanut butter which is full of healthy fats, and I also use local honey which helps a bit with seasonal allergies. Plain and simple, these bars are healthy, super tasty, extremely addictive and super easy to make.
Here’s a granola bar that’s a bit more like your traditional granola bar in taste and texture, but it’s not loaded with a bunch of additives or preservatives, like the store-bought variety. This granola bark is pretty healthy for a granola bar, as it has the goodness of oats, flax-seed, (your kids won’t even notice it) almonds, coconut oil and unsweetened coconut. It also of course has some sweeteners, like brown sugar and maple syrup. Come on, you gotta have the sweet in there! This bark is crunchy, sweet, (but not too sweet) full of goodness and very addicting! It’s totally fun to make as well! You’re basically making and baking one big granola bar that you get to break up into pieces after! How cool is that?
You can break the bark up into big pieces and send the kids off to school with a piece or two for snack, or break it up into smaller pieces and make it more like a granola to have for breakfast paired with some milk, or topped on a yogurt parfait. Yogurt parfaits are also another great after school healthy snack!
This granola beats out the supermarket granola, because it’s so fresh and super crunchy! I will warn you that this bark goes fast. Make up a batch of this and within a few days, you will be left with just crumbs!
I’m going to leave you all with one last family favorite snack, homemade popcorn with coconut oil. This snack is not in bar form, but it’s a snack that you can take with you anywhere, just get a cute little wax bag or small container, fill it with some popcorn, and you’re good to go! I pack up the kids a bag of this popcorn weekly for snack at school. We also sneak it into the movies, as it beats the pants off of any theatre popcorn, and is cheaper to boot. If we have it at home, we love pairing it with some bittersweet dark chocolate or M&M’s. Salty and sweet is the best combo!
Popcorn and watermelon are one of Eli’s favorite snacks! I usually make a batch of popcorn on a Sunday and prep the fruit as well, so I have snacks ready to go all week!
I have tons of other snack times on the blog, so if you’re looking for other ideas, check out my after-school snack section.
I would love to hear if you’ve made or adapted any of these snacks, so if you have made them or are planning to, let me know!
Ok, get snacking peeps!