Monday, 7 May 2012

Kids snacking ideas

If your kids are anything like mine with an insatiable appetite, you probably feel like you never leave the kitchen!  I am always trying to think up new ideas for snacks - a balance between my desire for a healthy solution and a taste the boys will love!
Equally if you have kids that don't eat a lot and have little interest in food, no doubt you too would be searching for something that will bring their little taste buds out of hibernation!

I know not everyone enjoys cooking and lack of time sometimes also stops us making snacks at home, and for that reason I have put a list together below for store bought snacks that meet the following criteria:
1.  Minimal fillers, additives, 'numbers'.
2.  Low fat, sugar and salt
3.  Minimally processed

But in saying that, I will just point out that the recipes I have chosen below are easy to prepare, and can be frozen so a double batch can be made, meaning less time in the kitchen!

If you consider your child to be a fussy eater (and I think most kids go through it as some stage), write a list of the foods they do like the taste of and find a recipe from there.  For example, if your child likes carrots, make carrot cup cakes.  If they like apples, make apple and cinnamon muffins, apple crumble or apple slice.  If they like sultanas, make oat bikkies with sultanas.   If they like peas, make little savoury pikelets with peas and grated cheese.
My brother would laugh reading this but given he was a pretty fussy eater growing up, when I started cooking I would put what he called 'snipers' in the food.  Little ingredients of goodness in meals he liked - soy grits in hamburger patties, wholemeal flour in banana bread etc!  Now I put chia seeds in the boys smoothies and LSA in their pancakes!  They don't know any different.  My point is, always think about how you can maximise the nutrition of the menu without compromising flavour for them.

I'm a big believer in raw foods too (the cooking process does kill some of the nutrients so a mix of raw and cooked is ideal) so get the kids used to having a little fruit and veggie platter for afternoon tea or as part of their lunch.  I've heard it said before that give a child a whole apple, pear or stick of celery and they wont touch it or eat much of it, but cut it up on a little platter and it feels more manageable.   They eat with their eyes first.  Its something nice to share between friends too so if the kids have some friends over, cut up some carrot sticks, celery sticks, apple, pear, cheese slices, grapes, strawberries, and if no one has allergies, some nuts too!  Oh and in the summer, frozen grapes, orange wedges, peas, and blueberries are great fun snacks.

So, tell me if these aren't easy......

Apple scroll


1c wholemeal self raising flour
1c unbleached white self raising flour
30g butter
3/4c milk (or buttermilk)
1tsp ground cinnamon
3 tbs raw or brown sugar
3 apples, peeled, cored and thinly sliced
1/2c walnuts, roughly chopped
1/2c sultanas


  1. Preheat oven to 220 degrees celcius.  Line baking tray with baking paper.
  2. In a large bowl, combine flours, cinnamon and 1 tbs of the sugar.  Rub butter through flours with fingertips thoroughly.  
  3. Add milk and stir until just combined.
  4. Place dough on lightly floured board and knead lightly until smooth.
  5. Roll into an rectangle shape approx 30cmx30cm.
  6. Spread evenly with apple, walnuts, sultanas and sprinkle with remaining sugar, leaving a thin strip at the top long side bare.
  7. Roll up long side, brush bare strip lightly with milk and press lightly to seal.
  8. Cut into 12 slices.  Arrange scroll side up on tray and glaze with milk.
  9. Place in oven and bake for 15-20 mins, until golden brown.  Serve warm or cool and store in airtight container.
  • If using thermomix, add flours, cinnamon, sugar and butter and mix for 8-10 seconds on speed 9.  Add milk and mix for 5-10 seconds on speed 4 until combined.  Continue at method 4 above.

Banana Loaf


3 small ripe bananas
3/4 c sugar
1 egg
1 c wholemeal self raising flour
1/2c rolled oats


  1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees celcius.  Grease a loaf tin and line the base with baking paper.
  2. Mash bananas in a medium bowl.  Stir through sugar, then egg and flour until thoroughly combined. note - due to different wholemeal flours absorbing differently, if this mix seems too thick, add up to 1/4c milk.
  3. Pour into prepared tin and top evenly with oats.
  4. Bake for 30 minutes or until cooked when tested.  Serve warm or cool and store in airtight container.
  • If freezing, cool, slice, place each slice between baking paper then freeze in an airtight container.
  • If using thermomix, place bananas in bowl and mix for 5 seconds on speed 5.  Add sugar, egg and flour and mix for 5-10 seconds on speed 4, using milk if necessary. Continue at method 3 above.
  • To make this gluten free, substitute flour with self raising gluten free flour or combination of flours with 1 tsp gluten free baking powder.  Omit oats and sprinkle with crushed nuts of your choice, puffed or rolled quinoa.

 Here are some shop bought options for the kids (and the big kids!):

1.  Rice/corn cakes.  These come thin or thick.  The thin ones would be easier for younger kids to eat.  Buy the plain flavour to eliminate the long list of numbers then just add flavours yourself.  Ie - a thin spread of honey, peanut butter, vegemite and cheese, ricotta with a drizzle of honey and sultanas or banana slices, tomato slices.
2.  Out of all the biscuits available, I have found the Arnotts Shredded Wheatmeal the better one nutritionally (note I say 'better'.  They are not something I would recommend basing a childs diet on but if you are going to buy a biscuit, those would be my pick).  The fibre, salt, sugar and fat levels are all either lower or comparable and they only contain 8 ingredients with no numbers!
3.  Yogurt tubes and pouches are a great snack idea if you are out and about.  They are portion controlled and although the nutrition levels vary by brand, they are a better option than grabbing a pack of chips or fun size pack of biscuits.  I often buy the boys a pouch if I am in a shopping center that has a supermarket as I don't have to worry about keeping them cold in transit.
4.  Cheese sticks are also a good snack.  Just make sure the ones you chose are actual cheese!  Have you noticed that Kraft Slices don't actually mention cheese?!  Bega Stringers and tasty cheese sticks are real cheese options that come to mind.
5.  Dried fruit in the little boxes are a good portion controlled snack although be mindful that they are a concentrated energy source as the fruit reduces significantly in size when dried so eating 10 dried apricots, for example, wouldn't be hard to do but you wouldn't sit down to a plate of 10 fresh apricots!  Also make sure you stick to sultanas, dried apricots and apples as the other dried fruit options, such as pineapple, are loaded with sugar. 

On the black list! 
* Roll ups - At 30% sugar (fruit isnt even the first ingredient on the list!) you would be better off giving the kids a Freddo!  And they are so sticky that eating them often would not be doing those little teeth any favours.
* Cheese spread and bikkie packs - These have a scary amount of saturated fat (about the same as a small packet of potato crisps) and there is no sign of calcium levels on the pack so not sure where the 'dairy goodness' is coming from!  You would be better off cutting up some cheese and putting them on plain rice crackers.
* Fruit pieces covered in 'yogurt' - The first two ingredients on these packs are sugar and fat!  Don't be fooled by the claim of 'yogurt'.  These snacks are about as close to yogurt as I am to the Royal Family!!

Hope this helps those of you who asked me the question (and even those who didn't!!)


  1. The apple scrolls sound delicious. Do you have a recipe for gluten free options for these? Or it is as simple as substituting GF flour?

    1. Thank you! Hmm, gluten free is a difficult one for the scrolls because usually to make a good GF scone, quite a wet mix is best which obviously doesnt lend itself very well to rolling into a scroll. Without testing it (although I think I might!) I would think you could try one of two things.
      1. mix up a gluten free bread mix and use that instead or
      2. substitute the flours for GF (try a mix of rice, chickpea/besan, arrowroot),grease muffin tins and layer the scone mix with filling in the muffin tin. You would probably need a bit more milk/buttermilk to make a slightly wetter dough.
      I'll update this when I give it a go!

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