When I started substitute teaching at my daughter’s preschool this year, snack time became serious business. In the past, while working at home I could just go into the kitchen and grab whatever I wanted. Often it was a small second helping of whatever I had eaten for breakfast or lunch, or another balanced protein-packed snack.
At school, I can’t do that, and the temptation of goldfish became a real issue. Which by the way, is not a great snack for kids at school. Neither are saltines, Cheez-Its, Fruity Pebbles or even Cheddar Bunnies. Those are desserts at best. Kids need a balanced snack with very little or no sugar so their brains can actually function and learn and so that they can behave well in class. And crackers and cereals are basically just sugar, it breaks down to glucose just like a lollipop.
Here are some great snack combinations ideas:
-Apple slices with nut butter
-Celery sticks with nut butter and raisins (or even chocolate chips to make it a treat!)
-Toasted coconut slices
-Beef jerky and avocado slices
-Pepperoni slices and healthy potato chips like these
-Cheese and healthy crackers like these
Please also note, in a perfect world, fruit should be consumed by itself first thing in the morning or in the mid afternoon. It is best digested alone when there is nothing else to breakdown in the digestive tract. But if the option is either Cheez-Its or strawberries and something else, the better snack option is a fruit combo.
So back to the snacks I bring to school. I need something packed full of protein to give me energy and sustain me till lunch time, but I also REALLY need something crunchy. I realize now that I am very much like my daughter, in that I am auditory sensitive and get overwhelmed easily and must work hard and be extremely conscious to keep myself regulated. Crunchy snacks and foods are very calming to me, and I’ve found that eating healthy crunchy snacks is one way to regulate and balance my nervous system. It’s hard to explain, but it’s something about the jaw movement and pressure that sends just the right amount of feedback to your brain to help you calm down.
Homemade trail mix is the perfect snack for me. It’s got plenty of protein, lots of crunch, a little saltiness, and a little sweetness. You will love this truly healthy trail mix recipe. The nuts are soaked and toasted, giving them the perfect taste and crunch-all while being easy to digest, with just the right amount of sweetness to balance out the saltiness.
First, soak the organic, raw nuts to break down the phytic acid and make them easier to digest, then dehydrate them (see soaking and dehydration times for each time of nut and seed here) to make them crunchy again without losing nutrients. Last step is to roast them for just a few minutes in the oven to really bring out their flavor and crunch. Really keep an eye on them in the oven. You don’t want to burn them, then you are gonna be really pissed that you wasted all that time and money! Click here for my favorite dessert recipe for soaked nuts.
I do a mix of different nuts and seeds, in the above picture I did, pecans, almonds, brasil nuts and pumpkin seeds. Then I also added dairy-free chocolate chips and raisins.
And now for the best tip: Freeze them! After I soak, dehydrate and roast the nuts and let them cool, I portion them out and package them up in individual freezer bags to go into the freezer, stacked like bricks to save space and look nice, of course. 😉
Then I grab one when I am packing up lunches for the day or running out the door. I often keep a bag in my purse, too, so that if I am starving while running errands or doing my afternoon chauffeur routine for my child, I am way less tempted by the Chick fil A drive-thru for a lemonade and french fries.
If you are looking for more freezer friendly recipes, click here for all my free recipes on the blog or click here to buy From Your Freezer To Your Family eCookbook bundle. On sale till May 31st, then it is off the market forever, so be sure to get it before it’s gone!