Kids coming home from school often look for sweet treats or grain-based snacks such as crackers or granola bars. But there are clever ways to recreate these kid-friendly foods with equally delicious ingredients.
We’ve put together some easy recipes (and instructions) for refined sugar-free, lower Glycemic Index after-school treats packed with healthy vitamins, minerals, proteins and fats. These snacks are both yummy and ‘fun’ to eat – while providing nutrients to keep kids satisfied until suppertime.
N.B: Alternative sweeteners like agave and honey can be found in most health food shops.
Vegan Salted Caramel ‘Love Bars’
- Line an 8×8 pan with parchment paper and set aside.
- Place 260g dates in a bowl of water and set aside.
- Combine 175g unsoaked dates, 150g pecans, and ½ teaspoon salt in a food processor and run until the mixture is broken down and crumbled. It should stick together when you pinch it with your fingers. If it doesn’t, add 1 tablespoon of water and pulse again.
- Press the nut mixture evenly into the bottom of the prepared pan and set in the fridge while you make the caramel.
- To make the caramel: drain the soaked dates and combine with 125g peanut butter, 2 tbsp maple syrup, 2 tbsp melted coconut oil, ½ teaspoon salt, and 1 tbsp water in the food processor and blend until smooth and thick.
- Spread the caramel evenly on top of the pressed nut mixture. Place in the fridge for 1 hour to firm up. Slice into 16 squares and enjoy!
No-Bake Apple Pie Bites
- Blend 75g almonds in a food processor for about 1 minute or until nuts are well-ground.
- Add 75g oats, 100g dates, 2 tsp cinnamon, 100g dried apple slices, 1 tsp lemon juice and a pinch of salt to the ground almonds, and blend until mixture comes together like a dough.
- Roll out balls using about 2 tbsp of the mixture in your hands – easy as apple pie!
- Energy bites stay fresh for a week, stored in an airtight container in the fridge.
- Preheat fan oven to 175°C.
- In a mixing bowl whisk 3 eggs together with 450g mashed ripe bananas, 1 tbsp melted coconut oil and 2 tbsp honey, agave, or maple syrup.
- In a blender, pulse 130g macadamia nuts (walnuts or pecans also work well!) until roughly ground
- Add ground nuts, 100g almond meal, 1 tsp baking powder and 1 tsp cinnamon to the wet mixture and combine.
- Stir in 60g roughly chopped macadamia nuts or walnuts
- Pour into a greased and lined loaf tin, and bake for 40-45 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean and the top is lightly golden.
Berry-Coconut Ice Pops
- In a blender, combine 1 can of unsweetened coconut milk with 300g fresh berries and 1 tbsp maple syrup or honey.
- Blend until nearly smooth, with some berry pieces left
- Pour mixture into an ice-pop mold with handles, or add your own popsicle sticks
- Place in the freezer until the pops are frozen solid
- For easy removal, run the molds under warm water until the pops slide out easily
Perfect for a summer afternoon, or an after-dinner treat!
Easy Blueberry Muffins
- Preheat the oven to 180 C.
- Mix 300g natural full-fat yoghurt, 5 medium eggs, 2 tsp vanilla and 50g melted butter well.
- Line a muffin tin with paper cups or even better, use a silicone mold (you don’t need paper cups then – just grease it well). Recipe should make 12 muffins.
- Add 350g ground almonds, 2 tsp. baking powder and 3-4 tbsp coconut sugar, erythritol or other granulated sweetener to the egg mixture.
- Fold in about 100g blueberries
- Pour batter evenly into muffin tin, adding a few extra berries on top.
- Bake for about 25 minutes, or until the tops are browned and a knife inserted in the centre comes out clean.
Leftover muffins also make a great breakfast on the go!
Sugarless Chocolate Chip Cookies
- Preheat the oven to 180 C.
- Combine 2 tbsp softened unsalted butter, 3 tbsp granulated sweetener (such as coconut sugar or erythritol) and 1 tsp vanilla extract in a large bowl and mix well with a fork.
- Add 1 egg and 2 tbsp double cream or coconut cream, blend thoroughly
- Add 100g almond flour or 75g coconut flour and stir well. Let the dough sit for a few minutes so the flour can absorb the moisture
- Stir 50g dark chocolate chunks or chips (or sugar-free chocolate chips if available) into the dough until evenly spread
- Form balls with your hand or spoon the mixture on a baking sheet lined with baking paper and press down into the desired shape – thick or thin, small or large, it’s up to you!
- Bake for about 13 minutes or until the edges are nicely browned. They are soft when straight out of the oven but will firm up as they cool down.
Coco-Nutty Freezer Bars
- Pulse 300g nuts and 75g shredded coconut in a blender or food processor until finely chopped.
- In a bowl, mix nuts and coconut with 100g coconut oil, 2 tbsp honey, maple syrup or rice syrup, and 1 tsp vanilla extract. Combine well.
- Spread mixture onto a lined slice tray. Cover with a layer of baking paper and press down firmly to spread evenly, approximately 1 cm thick.
- Freeze for 2 hours or until firm. Cut into shapes (use a cookie cutter for stars, animals, or other fun shapes) or slice into bars – and enjoy.