guest post by Danielle Greason
What’s your trusted go-to snack when your tummy’s grumbling, you only have one hand free and 2 minutes flat to satisfy the unswerving demands of your toddling babe?
For me it used to be honey sandwiches.
Okay, so they were pretty awesome honey sandwiches… made with a scrummy whole grain or spelt bread and the best quality honey I could afford. But… when I began to suspect that my 18 month old might in fact have bread running through her veins, I thought it might be prudent of me to start getting a little more creative in the kitchen!
Exploring and experimenting with some classic raw food recipes lead to the conclusion that I could in fact start to add in some solid nutrition to our constant daily snacking, with only a little more effort required than spreading a slice of bread.
These would be my new secret weapons on mission “get family healthy”:
1. A pantry full of quality nuts, seeds, dried fruits, coconut flakes and a good quality coconut oil.
2. A freezer chocked full of ripe frozen bananas and berries.
3. A food processor always out and at the ready.
I was truly astonished at the textures, flavors and yumminess that could easily be created with just these 3 preparation steps in place.
Here I’ll share with you a few of the favorites that have stood the test of time and taste buds in our home, proving to be a winner with every member of the family.
Homemade Banana Ice Cream
If you’ve never tried this before you’re going to be truly amazed and delighted!
Buy a whole stack of bananas, wait til they get really ripe, then peel them and put them in a big container in the freezer. Any time you’re ready for a sweet healthy treat, throw 3 or 4 bananas into your food processor and whiz them up. Make sure you stop to stir in any big chunks but be careful not to over-blend. The resulting texture is literally just like a store bought soft-serve ice cream.
Add in a little coconut oil for a wonderful creamy texture.
Serve straight into bowls, and make it beautiful for you and your little people by adding some crushed nuts (walnuts are brilliant) or berries on top. To top it off with some added indulgence, mix up a happy-making sauce of:
- Virgin coconut oil
- Raw cacao powder
- Some raw honey or agave nectar
The coconut oil will set into a crisp, crackly chocolate layer when it touches the cold ice cream. Take a break and enjoy!
Raw Energy Balls
There are endless recipe variations available and you certainly don’t need to
use specific quantities of ingredients. You just need an understanding of the
basic concept for creating health energy balls, and then you’re free to play and experiment.
Grind up about a cup of raw almonds in your food processor, and if you have
some other nuts on hand (cashews, walnuts or brazil) add in a half a cup of those too.
Include a handful of seeds such as sunflower or pumpkin seeds, and for added
crunch and quantity, coconut flakes will do the trick (stick to organic here if
Combine your dry nut and seed mixture with about one cup of dates that you’ve allowed to soak in water for softening. Blend in the food processor until you have a sticky dough consistency. For a superfood boost and a dash of colour, include some soaked goji berries at this stage as well.
Taste test for sweetness and feel free to add some raw honey or agave nectar to the mix.
Now here’s the fun part… roll it into snack-size little balls of goodness, coating
each ball in some coconut flakes or coconut flour. Keep your toddler content
with a small bowl of the mixture while your busy getting your hands dirty.
Make up a big batch of these on the weekend when you do have two hands
available for a moment. Store them in the freezer and when you’re ready for
an outing, pop a few in a container to take along with the usual piece of fruit.
They’re the ultimate cookie replacement!
Chia Pudding for Breakfast, Lunch or Dinner
Chia seeds are little powerhouses of nutrition full of calcium, potassium,
antioxidants, iron and essential fatty acids. They’re also a complete source of
protein, providing all the essential amino acids in an easily digestible form.
It’s surprisingly easy to get more of them onto your daily menu. Not only that, they are the perfect base for delicious creamy puddings that you could serve up for breakfast or lunch, and even a super easy dinner after a hectic day.
Once again, no need for recipes and quantities, just knowing that this option is
there and available is all you need to get going.
There’s just three easy steps to making a Chia Pudding:
1. Soak the chia seeds in filtered water for a few hours, or leave some in a
bowl on the bench before you go to bed. As a rough guide, add about 4 tablespoons of chia to 1 cup of water. This will form the chia seed ‘gel’.
2. Blend up the chia seed gel in your food processor (or a high-powered
blender) with the fruits and flavourings of your choice. Banana,
blueberries or raspberries work wonderfully.
3. Add some sweetener of your choice to taste: a few soaked dates, some
raw honey or agave nectar will do the trick.
For added creaminess, try this: instead of water, soak your chia seeds in
almond milk (you can buy it from the health food store or make your own).
Alternatively, throw in a half cup of well-soaked raw cashews.
For an on-the-go toddler snack, make up a big batch of chia pudding and pour it into a whole stack of mini snack size containers. Store these in the freezer. As you’re heading out the door, pop one in your bag with a spoon, and with a bit of a stir it’ll be a satisfying little treat ready to go at the critical moment when you’re at the shops or down at the park.
So there you have it, whole food snacks at the touch of a whizzing button!
The real key to success here is becoming a modern day ‘gatherer’.
Instead of wandering the fields, babe in carrier, basket in hand, you’re wandering your health food store aisles and online stores searching for the best deals and bulk discounts on quality seeds, nuts, oils and fruits. Getting your hands on great nutrition at a good price means you’ll always feel happy and confident to experiment and play with your ingredients.
I’m sure many of you reading this are already using these recipe ideas and making them your own. Please share with the rest of us health-seeking mamas your favorite variations and tips. Just one idea has the power to totally transform the health, simplicity and ease experienced in another family’s life, and you never know just whom that family might be.
Danielle Greason is a nature-loving mama who loves to hang out with the Raw Moms, Raw Divas and Green Smoothie Queens as blog editor at The Raw Divas. She lives in Costa Rica with her husband and two toddlers, where the greens are wild and the mangoes are ripe!
Want more Danielle? Read her previous contribution to the BBH Blog, Homebirth, Green Smoothies and Banana Cream Pie