Cooking for your children can feel like an impossible challenge when they have allergies or dietary requirements, especially when it comes to expanding their taste beyond the reliable favourites they’re used to. May is Celiac Awareness Month, and while the range of gluten-free options in supermarkets and restaurants has grown massively over the past few years, a lot of them still aren’t super healthy, and they usually come with a higher price tag than other snacks.
We have a few suggestions for healthy and yummy gluten-free treats that you can pop in your child’s lunch box or whip out when they get home from school that won’t break the bank!
Homemade Fruit Roll-Ups
Dried fruit snacks are a delicious way to get your children eating a little healthier (they’re definitely better than biscuits and chocolate bars!) but a lot of the products you’ll find in the supermarket are really just sugary snacks in disguise. This homemade recipe is all-natural and super adaptable to your tastes!
- Pick out some fruit and/or vegetables – you can use just one kind, or mix a few flavours together. Your children will love playing chef and trying out new combinations! You’ll need about 3 cups of chopped fruit. We love:
• Strawberry and banana
• Apple and cinnamon
• Orange and pineapple
- Chop up your ingredients into small pieces, and puree them until smooth in a food processor or blender. It can help to put in a squeeze of lemon juice and a teaspoon of honey to balance the flavours – taste it yourself and adjust to your liking!
- Spread the puree evenly onto a lined baking tray and pop in the oven at the lowest temperature, leaving the door a little bit open. The puree should be in a thin, smooth layer (about 3mm thick) if you want to roll it up, but you can leave it a little thicker if you’d prefer a chewier snack.
- The cooking time will vary depending on your oven and the fruit you use, but it can take anywhere from 4-8 hours – check after 4 hours, and if it isn’t quite ready, check again every hour after that. When done, the sheet should feel dry and not sticky to the touch.
- Cut into strips about 3cm wide and roll them up! These keep great in the fridge and are super handy as a quick snack.
This is a great savoury snack that’s super healthy and easy to make! Chickpeas are high in protein and fibre, which means they’ll help you and your little ones stay fuller for longer, and they’re also a great source of nutrients such as magnesium and potassium.
- 400g tin of chickpeas
- 1 tablespoon of ground spices – try paprika, cumin, chilli powder or garlic powder!
- 1 tablespoon of oil
- Preheat your oven to 180 degrees Celsius.
- Drain the chickpeas and gently pat them dry with kitchen paper – if you keep the chickpea water, it makes a great substitute for egg whites in all sorts of recipes!
- Mix together your chickpeas, spices and oil in a bowl and spread out into one layer on a lined baking sheet. Bake for 30-40 minutes, until nice and crunchy.
- Remove from the oven and sprinkle with a pinch of salt.
Granola has to be one of the most versatile things you can have in the cupboard. It’s way healthier than most breakfast cereals, super quick if you’re under time pressure, and it keeps forever – but best of all, it couldn’t be easier to make at home!
- 300g rolled oats
- 2 tablespoons honey/agave syrup/maple syrup
- 2 tablespoons of coconut/vegetable oil
- 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
- Flaked almonds
- Sunflower seeds
- Pine nuts
- Pumpkin seeds
- Pistachio nuts
- Flax seed
- Coconut flakes
- Dried fruit
- Preheat an oven to 130 degrees Celsius.
- Prepare your ingredients – the great thing about this recipe is that you’re able to adjust it however you like! Make sure to include all of your basic ingredients, and about the same amount of optional extras as oats. If you’re including dried fruit, leave it out until after the granola is baked. You might prefer to chop up any nuts into smaller pieces.
- Mix together the ingredients in a bowl.
- Spread over a lined baking sheet and bake for around 15 minutes. Remove from the oven, scrape up the mixture and spread it out again, then put it back in the oven for another 15 minutes. It should be golden brown and crunchy when you take it out.
- Enjoy! This works great sprinkled over low-fat yogurt for breakfast, or as a quick snack at lunchtime.
Have you tried any of the above recipes? Make sure to let us know how you get on at firstname.lastname@example.org!