So, obviously these aren’t ground breaking recipes, here. I’m just sending out a reminder to moms that you can have healthy, cheap snacks ready for your kids in minutes without opening up a single processed food package. Keep a variety of fruits and vegetables handy so you can always come up with something creative last minute. Use what you have! If you have time to make some easy-mac, you have time for these!
1. Baked Sweet Potato Fries (8 months & up)
Slice sweet potatoes into french fry pieces. Coat with olive oil & a small amount of salt (only if your child is over a year). Spread them out on a cookie sheet and bake at 425 degrees for 20-30 min, “stirring” the fries every 10 min. You can also skip the salt & sprinkle some cinnamon and honey (no honey till 1 yr) on them instead! Perfect for a teething baby to gnaw on, or an older child to snack on!
2. Hummus & Veggie Plate (18 mos & up)
Cut up 1 or 2 of your child’s favorite vegetable. Put a dollop of hummus on the plate and let them dip as much as they want!
3. Fruit & Honey (honey after 1 yr)
This is one of my favorite snacks. Adding some raw honey to a piece of fruit is a sure way to curb a sweet tooth. My favorites are strawberries, blueberries, grapefruit, and oranges.
4. Celery Sticks with Cream Cheese and Turkey (2 & up)
Fill celery with cream cheese & top with a slice of shaved turkey breast!
5. Avocado Toast (2 & up)
Slice & mash ripe avocado on top of a healthy slice of toast.
6. Baked Cinnamon Apple Chips ( 2 & up)
Slice an apple into thin slices. Slightly grease a cookie sheet with unsalted butter or coconut oil. Spread out apples & sprinkle with cinnamon. Bake in oven at 400 degrees for 10-15 minutes.
7. Baked Kale Chips (18 mos & up)
You can make these in so many different flavors. Sometimes I use soy sauce or grated parmesan, but normally I just stick with my basic recipe: Peel kale from the stem and rip into bite size pieces. Spread onto pan, coat them with olive oil, a LITTLE bit of salt, and bake in a 400 degree oven for 10-12 minutes until kale is crunchy. Careful with the salt, a little bit goes a long way with these. Even the pickiest kid will love them!
8. Peanut Butter & Banana Toast (2 & up)
Spread some real, no sugar added peanut butter on a healthy slice of toast & top it with sliced banana. If you want it to be a little sweeter, drizzle some raw honey on top!
9. Frozen Grapes (18 months & up)
Skewer some grapes, and freeze them! Can also be frozen and eaten without skewer for younger kids. Great alternative to sugary popsicles. You can also make a fruit shish-kabob with grapes, kiwi, mango, pineapple, etc. Fun!
10. Parmesan Cheese Crisps (18 mos & up)
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Put a tablespoon of shredded parmesan cheese (fresh, not the one in the green can!) on the sheet and lightly pat down so it’s in a disc shape. Leave 2 inches in between each one. Bake at 400 degrees for 5 minutes. Let cool, then peel off & you have parmesan chips!
I highly encourage you to make snacks for your kids instead of opening up packages. Those foods are loaded with sodium, sugar, corn syrup, and other additives that will leave your kids feeling unsatisfied & still hungry. They will thank you one day!
So, I’ve been getting a lot of angsty tweets from moms saying things like, “Sorry, I can’t afford organic food, I’m not rich!”, and “Not all of us can find these healthy ingredients in our local stores.” Okay, okay. Enough whining peeps. The truth is, you CAN afford to feed your family healthy, clean food on a small budget. I know several families who do. There is NO excuse to not give your kids healthy things 90% of the time. I’m going to show you how.
1. You don’t need to buy EVERYTHING organic
Some foods are dirtier than others. HERE is a list of the “dirty dozen” aka 12 foods you should buy organic. Foods with hard outer shells are less likely to be pesticide dense. This is a simple way for you to be able to pick and choose how you spend your money on organic goods.
2. Grow your own vegetable garden
This sounds difficult, but it really isn’t. I have my own vegetable garden that is no bigger than 3×12 feet. I grow cucumbers, tomatoes, peppers, strawberries, and eggplant as well as herbs in planter pots. This is a GREAT way to save money. You can have an abundance of normally expensive organic produce for FREE in your own yard. It’s also a fun activity to do with your kids. I googled how to plant a garden and did it myself. It’s that easy. Bam, no excuses.
This is an actual photo of my vegetable garden at home.
3. Buy in bulk when there’s a good deal, and preserve the leftovers
When my tomato plants spit out a zillion tomatoes, I make salsa and can it, as well as strawberry jam with my abundant strawberry harvest. You can can anything: Pickles, green beans, tomatoes, onions, etc. You can dehydrate the tomatoes in the oven as well and use them for so many dishes. Freezing your berries is also great for smoothies. Once again, there is endless info on how to do this stuff on google.
4. Buy frozen organic produce
Freezing something does not lessen the nutritional value. So, check the frozen foods aisle for organic frozen vegetables and fruit instead of buying something fresh if you’re going to be cooking it anyway. For example, frozen organic green beans are generally cheaper than fresh ones, and fresh ones go bad quickly.
5. Make your own butter
Organic butter can be expensive. HERE is a great recipe for making butter. All it involves is heavy cream and a pinch of salt. Cheaper and tastier.
6. Make your own bread
This is easier than you think. If sprouted grain bread is too hardcore for you, start out with a basic whole grain recipe. You can google a zillion recipes for that, but I won’t give a link because I’m not a huge fan of wheat. I make my own bread using flax seeds:
FLAX SEED BREAD <–click for video tutorial
7. Stay away from pre-packaged food
Here are some commonly used pre-packaged items that can be easily made into organic food:
- “Shake N’ Bake chicken coating“- take a leftover loaf of bread or baguette and leave it out over night, uncovered. The next day the bread will be hard. The next day, cut the bread into chunks, and grind it up into crumbs in the food processor. Bam, that’s what breadcrumbs are, folks. Add some dried herbs: salt, pepper, paprika, garlic salt, oregano, basil, and onion powder & there ya go, shake n bake chicken without cancer. Every time I have an old loaf of bread, I dry it, grind it, and freeze it in a bag so I always have fresh breadcrumbs.
- Organic Salad Dressing- combine olive oil, juice of a freshly squeezed lemon or lime, 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar, salt, pepper, and a teaspoon of grainy dijon mustard. Whisk together. Super cheap & delicious.
- Organic Whipped Cream- Empty a chilled container of heavy whipping cream into a stand mixer, along with 2 tsp of vanilla extract. Whip till it becomes whipped cream!
- Organic Baked French Fries- cut potatoes into french fry sticks (not thin). Coat with olive oil, salt & pepper. Spread on baking sheet. Bake at 400 degrees for 40 minutes, turning and flipping fries every 15-20 min. Can also be done with sweet potatoes. These are insanely delicious.
8. Cut back on spending in other areas
It is worth it to give your family what they need nutritionally, I promise. If you can afford to not buy certain things you don’t need during the month, spend that money on GOOD groceries. Your health is important.
The list goes on…From now on, every time you go to cook or eat something pre-packaged, google to find out if there’s a way to mimic the recipe using real, whole food ingredients. That is a great way to start transitioning into healthier eating habits. Just to prove to my skeptics that this can be done without spending a ton of money, I will regularly be posting photos and recipes of the foods I cook and eat.