Summertime is all about outdoor fun. Whether kiddo is in camp, at the playground with a sitter or by pool with you, healthy on-the-go snacks are essential.
These three treats—Hand-Held Spinach Pies, Zucchini Muffins and Almond Raisin Flax Butter—stave off the fierce hunger of an active child without spoiling lunch or dinner. And, even if they do fill kiddo up, you won’t feel so bad. Packed with protein and veggies, these are better-for-you snacks.
And did I mention that these recipes are make-ahead?
Two are easy to freeze and defrost, so you can really make them ahead. The other—the almond butter—will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for up to three months! (Some say that you can freeze homemade nut butters with no problem; I’ve never tried it. Have you?)
I love that you can make these with pizza dough (pizzeria-bought if necessary) and don’t need to cook the spinach. Instead, you tangle caramelized onion with lemon-wilted spinach and combine the two with tangy feta and kid-friendly mozzarella. Yes, it’s as good as combination as you think. These tasty pockets freeze beautifully, so make a double batch and pack ‘em up.
I make two versions of these mini-muffins: sweet potato with a cream cheese center in the winter and zucchini in the summer when the flecked green squash is in abundance. While the recipe cannot be considered low-sugar, the muffins are packed with veggie and the serving size is small. One or two mini-muffins will satisfy young children, especially when served with a piece of fruit or handful of nuts. Spiked with cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves, these morsels pack big flavor making them a favorite in my house.
Almond Raisin Flax Butter
Making your own nut butters is easy to do. It requires nothing more than about 10 minutes of patience while the nuts slowly go from chunks to powder to creamy spread. If you’ve got that, and a jar in which you can store the butter, you’re in business.
I regularly make plain nut butter to make sure that our PB&J’s aren’t packed with unnecessary sugar. Every once and a while, though, I throw in raisins and cinnamon for a super tasty snack that gets doled out in smaller portions. Adding flax also gives your nut butter an omega-3 boost.
Spread this tasty nut butter between plain rice cakes for snack sammys that you can tote on any summer excursion.
- ¼ cup whole flax seeds
- 2 cups roasted almonds
- ¼ cup raisins
- Edible almond oil, another nut oil or canola oil, to taste (optional)
- Cinnamon, to taste
- Honey, to taste (optional)
1. Add flax seeds to a food processor and grind into a powder. Remove from processor and set aside. You do not need to be fastidious about cleaning out the food processor at this point.
2. Add almonds to the food processor and grind until they are coarsely ground. Add raisins and continue grinding until the raisins are broken down and the mixture sticks together. At this point, you may want to use a spatula to scrape down the sides and loosen the mixture sticking to the bottom of the processor bowl. Then, keep grinding until the mixture turns into a nut-butter consistency. This may take up to 10 minutes or more. The longer you grind, the more the oils release. If your butter needs help, drizzle in a little oil. (This is not necessary when making plain nut butter, but can help with the stickiness of the raisins.)
3. Once your nut butter reaches desired consistency, add cinnamon. Pulse just enough to combine and give it a taste. Adjust cinnamon and, if you want it sweeter, add honey to taste. Pulse, again, just to combine. Transfer nut butter to an airtight container and store in the fridge for up to three months.