Sweet Sundays – Coming up with healthy back to school snacks seems to be getting trickier with each passing year. Celiac disease, food allergies, and intolerances have become widely recognized issues, leading schools to instigate peanut-free, nut-free, and even dairy-free zones and policies. Fortunately, with a little ingenuity, free-from recipes can be made to meet almost all of the special diet needs.
When I’m looking for kid-friendly snack ideas (that won’t violate a peanut ban!) I usually open up my copy of Cookies for Everyone!, a food allergy-friendly cookbook created by Enjoy Life Foods. Two of my favorites from this book are still the Granola Bar One Bites and the Sunny Nature Snack Bites (both recipes follow).
Though they still qualify as sweet treats, these two recipes are suitable for an after-school (or work!) snack, and nutritious enough that you can feel virtuous about feeding them to your family. But best of all, they are extremely versatile. The recipes in Cookies for Everyone! were tested to be dairy-free, gluten-free, nut-free, egg-free, and soy-free, making each of them so easy to customize if your free-from needs aren’t quite so restrictive …
For example, you can use or make your favorite granola and/or trail mix (I used Enjoy Life brand for both) in the Granola Bar One Bites, and choose soy butter, seed butter, peanut butter, nut butter (I used almond butter, yum!), or even pea butter for the Sunny Nature Snack Bites. Did that make sense? No matter … just enjoy these delicious recipes …
Granola Bar One-Bites
Recipe from Cookies for Everyone! by Leslie Hammond and Betsy Laakso; photo and two thumbs up by Alisa Fleming. Once again I felt the urge to use some more of the new crunchier Enjoy Life Granola, but this time I used the Very Berry Crunch. Since I didn’t have any nut-free trail mix on hand, I doubled up on the granola. These were baked treats with a bar consistency, broken up by the granola add-ins. I must confess that the granola added a bit too much chew for my liking, but overall they had a good flavor and texture. Next time I would go with a trail mix version instead.
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 2 tablespoons flax meal
- 2 tablespoons water
- 1 ripe banana, sliced
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup white or brown rice flour or sorghum flour (such as Bob’s Red Mill)
- 2 tablespoons tapioca flour (such as Bob’s Red Mill)
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 1/3 cups granola, any flavor (use Enjoy Life granola for gluten-free and food allergy-friendly)
- 1 cup trail mix, any flavor (use Enjoy Life Not Nuts! trail mix for gluten-free and food allergy-friendly)
- Preheat oven to 350º.
- With a mixer, cream together the first 7 ingredients (through vanilla). Mix in flours and cinnamon until smooth. Stir in granola and trail mix. If desired, place granola in a plastic bag and gently crush with a rolling pin into bite-size pieces. Spoon mixture into a greased 9-inch baking pan or greased mini muffin pan.
- Bake for 30 minutes if using the 9-inch baking pan or 20 minutes if using the mini muffin pan. Cool and cut into small bars or remove from muffin pan.
Yield: 2 dozen
Sunny Nature Snack Bites
- 1 large apple or firm pear
- 1/3 cup sunflower butter
- 1 cup granola, any flavor, crushed (use Enjoy Life granola for gluten-free and food allergy-friendly)
- Wash and core the apple. Cut the apple into 8 sections or wedges. Leave the peel on. Set apple wedges on a plate, peel side down.
- Spread a thin layer of sunflower butter on both sides of the apple wedge.
- Sprinkle with granola. Serve immediately.
Yield: 8 slices
Article and Photos by Alisa Fleming, founder of GoDairyFree.org and author of Go Dairy Free: The Guide and Cookbook for Milk Allergies, Lactose Intolerance, and Casein-Free Living. Alisa is also a freelance writer for several publications, with an emphasis on creating recipes for various types of special diets.