As any parent knows, snacks are key. If you don’t have a good snack on hand when your kiddo’s tummy starts rumbling, you’re out of luck. If you’re out and about, prepare for a meltdown; if you’re at home, you might end up plying them with processed convenience foods, just because they’re right there and ready for eating. I don’t know about your little ones, but when mine tells me she’s hungry, she means NOW.
That’s why I try to have a couple of healthy homemade snacks on hand for those occasions when there is simply no time to cut an apple into slices, for goodness’ sake. People are starving here! Convenience foods do come in handy — where would we be without those little boxes of raisins or packs of graham crackers for urgent moments? But, I like to know that the food I’m giving my little one is wholesome and nutritious, and the best way to know is to make it myself.
Nutritious and delicious homemade snacks don’t have to involve a lot of time and effort, especially if you plan ahead. Here are a few ideas to get you started.
- Hummus and carrot sticks
- Easy cheese crackers
- Homemade popsicles with your choice of yogurt and fruit (I know it sounds crazy now, but hot weather is on its way!)
- Oatmeal snack cakes
- Fruit leather (nope, you don’t need a dehydrator to make your own!)
Try a few of those out and see what your little one is into. Then you can make a few snacks for the week and just reach into the pantry or fridge when the tummies start rumbling. If you’re like me, you might actually start snacking healthier too. That’s something we can all get on board with!
In experimenting with these homemade snacks, I came up with my new favorite, infinitely adaptable snack recipe. Crunchy roasted chickpeas are not only delicious to eat by the handful and a hit with the kids, they also happen to be packed with protein and nutrients, and they’re super-easy to make. Plus, you can add whatever flavoring strikes your fancy. A little smoked paprika perhaps? Or pepper and parmesan? The possibilities are endless.
Here is a basic recipe for crunchy roasted chickpeas with salt and pepper. Add whatever flavorings you’d like when you toss the chickpeas with the olive oil. These will keep well in an airtight container for a couple of days.
Crunchy Roasted Chickpeas
Adapted from this recipe from The Pulp Kitchen
1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed well*
1 Tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper (or other spices) to taste
Preheat the oven to 425°. Lay the chickpeas out in a single layer on folded paper towels and blot them dry. Remove any obvious skins. Toss the chickpeas with the olive oil, salt and pepper (or other spices of your choice) in a large bowl and spread in a single layer on a foil-lined baking sheet.
Roast for 15 minutes, and then stir with a spatula. Continue roasting for an additional 15 to 20 minutes, or until golden and crunchy (the longer you roast them, the crunchier they’ll get).
Remove from the oven and cool slightly. Serve warm or room-temperature. May be kept in an airtight container for up to two days.
* You can also use dried chickpeas and cook them yourself. I happened to have a batch of cooked chickpeas in my freezer, so I thawed them and used them instead of canned ones.
[author] [author_image timthumb=’on’]http://www.livemom.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/10/lauren.jpg[/author_image] [author_info] Lauren Walz is a freelance writer and editor and mama to a two-year-old girl. While she’s quick to brag about being a fifth-generation Texan, Lauren moved to Northern California in 2004 after graduating from UT Law and lived in the Silicon Valley area until last spring, when she and her family were drawn back to Austin. Lauren is busy getting re-acquainted with her old stomping grounds and is astonished by how the food and wine scene has changed in Austin in the past 8 years. Lauren also blogs about cooking and parenthood on gourmetveggiemama.com.[/author_info] [/author]