Saturday, October 30, 2010

Sideline Snacks

I recently ran into an old friend - our kids went all through school together. She told me she always hated it when she had the week after me for "snack mom" duties. Her son would tell her "Plain old oranges again mom? Abbey's mom makes all kinds of good stuff!"

So I've put together some of my favorite sideline snacks. Healthy, of course, as you don't want to load kids up on sugar and junk after they've just been getting all that great exercise!
These are things that are great when it's your turn to bring the team snack, and some are perfect to keep in the car for those days when you race from school to lessons to practice.

My favorite is my homemade energy bars. Nothing but dried fruit, nuts, cinnamon and extract. I've made them with all different types of dried fruit and it works great every time! I think my favorite is dried plum, dried mango and dried blueberries. I usually use half walnuts and half sliced or slivered almonds but I've also used pecans and pistachios. Even though Abbey lives half the country away, I just made a few different batches of these and mailed them off to her so she can slip healthy snacks into her busy sports schedule! (I added a bit of unsweetened cocoa powder and instant espresso powder to one of her batches - great for the coffee cravers!) My health nut son keeps these in his car so he has something good to grab between school and work.

The Honey Nut Munch is great to keep in an airtight container. Add a scoop to a zip lock bag for quick out the door snacking in the morning.

You can also see my recent TV segment on healthy snacking at!

Healhy on the Go Snacks

Try mixing dried fruit and nuts in small containers or zip lock bags to make your own healthy snack mixes. Try these combinations or create your own:

Fruit and Nut Mix

Dried cherries

Chopped dried mango

Honey nut peanuts

Smokey Nut and Cracker Mix

Cheddar Goldfish

Parmesan Goldfish

Smoked Almonds


Sideline snacks!

When it’s your day to be “snack mom”, these treats can be pre packed in zip lock bags or individual cups.

Fruit Sushi

Spread flour tortillas with a small amount of no sugar added preserves and top with a fruit leather. Spread a 1/4-inch layer of whipped cream cheese over the top then sprinkle with chopped fresh fruit (berries, bananas and kiwi work best.) Carefully roll up and cover tightly with plastic wrap; refrigerate until ready to serve. Cut into 1-inch thick slices.

(Sushi may be cut in advance if you’re not using bananas.)

Fruit and Nut Energy Bars

Prep: 10 minutes Cook: 30 minutes

2 cups mixed dried fruit

1 cup sliced or slivered almonds

1 cup walnuts

2 tsp. almond extract

1 tsp. cinnamon

Preheat oven to 200°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place all ingredients in a food processor. Pulse on and off until fruit and nuts are finely chopped and mixture sticks together (there should be very tiny pieces of nuts visable). Press into a 3/4-inch thick rectangle. Cut into bar shapes or smaller squares and separate on baking sheet. Bake for 1 hour for larger bars and 45 minutes for smaller squares. Let cool completely before storing in an airtight container.

Honey Nut Munch

Prep: 10 minutes Cook: 45 minutes

1/2 cup butter

1/4 cup honey

1/4 cup brown sugar

2 tsp. cinnamon

1 tsp. almond extract

8 cups rice or corn chex cereal

2 cups sliced almonds

Preheat oven to 250°F. Melt butter in a small saucepan; stir in honey, brown sugar, cinnamon and almond extract. Place cereal and nuts in a large bowl; pour butter mixture over and toss well to coat. Spread inm a single layer on 2 baking sheets and bake for 45 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes. Let cool completely, then store in an airtight container. Makes 10 cups. Recipe may be doubled.

Gluten Free Instant Breakfast Bars

Prep: 15 minutes Cook: 15 minutes

1 (10.5-oz.) package miniature marshmallows

1/2 cup Smart Balance buttery spread

1 dry packet rich milk chocolate flavor Carnation Instant Breakfast

1 tsp. vanilla

1/2 cup peanut butter or almond butter

1 (10.6-oz.) box gluten free corn flakes

Melt marshmallows and margarine in a large pot over medium low heat, stirring constantly. Stir in instant breakfast, vanilla and peanut butter, mixing until well combined. Remove from heat and stir in corn flakes. Press into a 9 X 13-inch pan that has been coated with nonstick cooking spray. Let stand for at least 15 minutes to cool. Makes 15 bars.

Fruit Kebabs and Yogurt

Thread berries and grapes onto skewers. Pop into clear plastic cups with about 1/4 cup fruity yogurt in the bottom.

String Cheese

Lots of varieties to choose from! Twists, cartoon characters, etc.

Gogurt Yogurt Tubes

Freeze ahead of time and carry in cooler. Even if they thaw, they’ll still be cold.

100% Juices and Water Bottles

Steer clear of the “juice beverages”. Water bottles come in fun smaller sizes and shapes too!