3 Easy Healthy Afternoon Snacks

Tis the back-to-school season and watching all the kiddos head back to school, led to daydreaming about our favorite afternoon snacks. Because, while it was a rite of passage, no one is daydreaming about that squishy square pizza the cafeteria served. However, we did start wondering if there was a better way to eat some of our childhood favorites and maybe even boost the benefits of those mini meals that help us bridge the gap between lunch and dinner.

If you’re a parent, these recipes will help you embrace the fun of food while laying a healthy foundation for your children. And if you are simply someone that loves a good bite to eat, these easy to make recipes will prevent you from raiding the office snack drawer for stale chips.

Ingredients We Love:

  • Almond: Almonds make for a nutritious and filling snack on their own. Packed with nutrients like magnesium, vitamin E, calcium, and phosphorus, they are also a great prebiotic. One study showed that the consumption of almonds and/or almond skins for six weeks had a positive impact on the amount of Bifidobacteria and Lactobacillus in their gut.
  • Flaxseed: Like almonds, flaxseed are also prebiotics due to their high fiber content. They may also help lower total blood cholesterol and low-density lipoprotein (LDL, or "bad") cholesterol levels, which may help reduce the risk of heart disease.
  • Egg: Eggs can be an important source of nutrients including protein, vitamin B12, iron, and vitamin D. They are also an excellent source of methionine, an essential amino acid. Amino acids being the raw materials the body uses to manufacture human proteins, which are vital components of all human cells, including the gut lining.
  • Chickpeas: Chickpeas are high in dietary fiber, especially a soluble fiber called raffinose. Studies have found that eating more chickpeas can help make bowel movements easier and more regular. It is worth noting that chickpeas and legumes require proper preparation to prevent any digestive distress that they can cause if the correct steps are not taken.
  • Dark Chocolate: Dark chocolate is packed full of important minerals, including iron, magnesium, zinc, copper, and phosphorus. In your body, these minerals are used to support factors such as immunity (zinc), can help keep your bones and teeth healthy (phosphorus), and contribute to better sleep quality (magnesium). 
  • Oats: Oats are a gluten-free whole grain and a great source of important vitamins, minerals, fiber, and antioxidants. Studies show that oats and oatmeal have many health benefits. These include weight loss, lower blood sugar levels, and a reduced risk of heart disease.

 

Nutty Cheese Wafers – from Meals that Heal

Ingredients:

  • 1C blanched almond flour
  • 2 Tbsp.  ground flaxseed
  • ½ tsp kosher salt
  • ¼ tsp cayenne pepper
  • 6 ounces sharp cheddar cheese grated (about 1 ½ C)
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil 

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper
  2. Whisk together the almond flour, flaxseed, salt, and cayenne in a large bowl until well blended
  3. Add cheese to the mixture (toss or stir until combined)
  4. Whisk the egg and oil in a small bowl until combined
  5. Add to the flour mixture and stir until incorporated
  6. Knead the dough until thoroughly combined and roll it into a 9inch log (2 inches in diameter)
  7. Cut the dough into ¼ inch thick slices and arrange on prepared baking sheet (Freeze or refrigerate any unbaked dough)
  8. Bake until golden and set, 12-14 mins. Let them cool on the baking sheet for 20 mins. Store in an airtight container for up to 1 week

 

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip “Cookie Dough” Bites – from Meals that Heal

Ingredients:

  • 1(15 ounce) can no salt added chickpeas, rinsed, and drained
  • ½ C peanut or almond butter
  • 6 Tbsp. Light brown sugar
  • 3 Tbsp. Milk of choice
  • 1 Tbsp. Vanilla extract
  • ¾ tsp kosher salt
  • 1 ½ C Uncooked old fashioned rolled oats
  • 2/3 C High-quality dark chocolate chips (70-85% cacao)

Directions:

  1. Place the chickpeas, nut butter, brown sugar, milk, vanilla, and salt in a food processor. process until smooth stopping to scrape the sides of the bowl as needed (1-2mins)
  2. Add 1 cup of the oats and pulse until the oats are blended well into the dough (four or five times) 
  3. Transfer the dough to a large bowl, stir in chocolate chips and remaining ½ C of oats
  4. Cover and chill for at least 1 hour or until ready to serve and serve by the spoonful. 
  5. ALT: Roll the dough into 1 Tbsp balls. Place the balls on parchment paper-lined rimmed baking sheet or in an airtight container. 
  6. Cover and freeze until ready to serve. Let stand at room temperature for 10 mins before serving. 

 

Homemade Fruit Roll Ups – from The Fairy Gutmother

Ingredients

  • 3 cups of thawed, frozen fruit (mixed berries are a favorite of ours)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 170F and line baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Add fruit to your food processor and process until smooth.
  3. Pour onto your baking sheet and smooth until even. Does not have to go all the way to the edges but you want it fairly thin.
  4. Bake for 6-8 hours or until no longer sticky to the touch.
  5. Let cool completely before cutting into strips and rolling. 
  6. Store at room temperature.

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