(homemade Lara Bars chilling out before their final cut)
I had planned on posting on raw snacks today, so my friend’s email asking for advice came at a good time. She sent me the following request a couple days ago:
“I would love advice on how to incorporate more raw foods into my three year old son’s diet. I think I prepare healthy meals for my family but snacks are hard. I’m worried about sugar and bad carbs. Buying a juicer is out of the question right now, so what are some quick and easy things I can do (w/o using a juicer) to ensure he eats more raw foods? I think he is also getting bored with the same cut up veggies. Oh, and I have a food processor and standard blender .”
It seems like most children eat a variety of processed food for snacks. The most popular I’ve seen are: goldfish, granola bars or other cereal bars, chips, pretzels, animal cookies, and anything else that comes out of a box or bag. Usually I think its convenience that causes moms to resort to these foods, but it doesn’t have to be this way.
Raw snacks are actually one of the easiest ways to incorporate raw foods in a child’s diet, including a toddler’s diet.
Our pantry is full of some basic raw ingredients that make it simple – a variety of raw nuts bought in bulk or from the bulk section at our local store; boxes of dried fruits-raisins, dates, prunes, cranberries – be sure none of these have added sugar when you buy them (If you go to the store and buy a bag of dried cranberries it probably has added sugar – just check the ingredients); cocoa; and agave syrup. These few ingredients with some fresh fruit can get you a long ways in the snack department.
Here are some snack ideas for your children:
The Simplest Raw Trail Mix – just grab a variety of nuts and a variety of dried fruits and throw in a bowl. Just a few of each is all it takes. In 20 seconds your children are happily eating a healthy trail mix.
Nothing fancy, Just Fruit – I sometimes think we try to overdo it and make things too complicated. God made an apple perfect just as it is. And while I’m no fan of raw apples, my toddlers are delighted when we hand them half an apple (or more) to munch on. On the way to the park? Grab some fruit.
Homemade Energy Bars or Lara Bars – If you love energy bars, granola bars, or something of the sort, and don’t want to pay the hefty fee that comes along with buying RAW organic bars then its time to make them. These are very simple and super easy so don’t fret. And they taste great. And all you need is a food processor – so my friend is in luck. Here is a recipe from Choosing Raw for raw vegan bars. They look great, but since we are avoiding all grains I usually stick to these recipes for homemade Lara Bars. In fact I made some this past weekend – which is what is pictured above chilling in the fridge prior to their final cut.
RAW Smoothies – Any concoction of fruit and nut milk can be whipped up in a blender. For added nutrients add green leafy vegetables, maca, spirulina, or aloe. Here are some recipes I posted a few weeks ago. This morning I blended a smoothie using the water from a young coconut. It was nice to have a little variety, and I love young coconut water.
Raw Cookies – Yes, you heard me. There are numerous raw cookie recipes online that are available for free. These are largely another nut/dried fruit combination. Add a little raw shredded coconut and vanilla and you get some more variety. In our home, any raw cookie gets eaten up quickly. And even though they last for several days in the refrigerator, we can’t seem to keep them around that long. And of course – these are easier and quicker than regular cookies because there is no baking required.
RAW Banana Ice Cream – Just say YUM! If you love bananas this is a real treat. This looks just like real ice cream and all you need is bananas and a food processor. Another favorite recipe from Choosing Raw, go here for a post that will change your life (aka – the recipe).
Any RAW DESSERT – Any raw dessert would thrill a child if given as a snack, and there really is no reason to feel bad about handing a child a raw dessert for snack considering the ingredients. Again there are numerous recipes online. My favorite raw dessert at this time is still the raw mini chocolate cupcakes.
Next week on my Raw Wednesday post I’ll try to tackle raw breakfast ideas!