You're a busy mom. From the moment the alarm goes off until you hop into bed, you're always doing something – dropping off the kids at school, picking them up from soccer practice and getting some work done somewhere in between the madness.
Who has the time to make snacks? You're too busy wondering what you're going to make for dinner. I know this sentiment all too well. It's much easier to pick up a few staple snacks at the store and call it a day.
But I've found that it really doesn't take that much time to make some of your kids' favorite snacks at home. As a bonus, your homemade versions are usually healthier and less expensive.
Here are five easy snacks to stop buying and start making at home:
1. Yogurt Pouches
My kids love yogurt pouches, better known as "Go Gurt." And I always assumed they were a healthy snack choice – until I read the ingredients.
Aside from the strange ingredients I couldn't pronounce, the yogurt in these pouches had a surprising amount of sugar.
Yogurt pouches are so easy to make at home, and you can buy ZipZicles online that can be filled with your own little concoctions.
When I say these snacks are easy to make, I'm not exaggerating. If you have a blender (food processor will also work), yogurt and fruit, you're good to go.
Experiment with different fruits and ratios of fruit to yogurt to get the flavors and textures you want.
When you're done blending, use a funnel to fill the ZipZicles pouches and enjoy. If you don’t want to use pouches, you can just fill a baby mason jar with your yogurt. But kids really do love eating out of these pouches.
2. Apple Chips
We love fruit chips in our house, but apple chips are the best, according to the kids. Store-bought apple chips can be expensive (like $1.50 for a very small bag), but you can make your own for a fraction of the cost. Plus, you can use your own ingredients and ditch the preservatives and added sugars.
To make your own apple chips, you'll need two things:
Sure, you can make these chips in a dehydrator, but that would take forever. We bake ours in the oven at 250 degrees for about an hour and a half.
- Bake for 30-45 minutes.
- Flip the apple slices.
- Sprinkle with cinnamon.
- Bake for another 30-45 minutes.
The chips come out crispy, and they're naturally sweet. Cinnamon makes this treat taste delectable.
3. Cereal Bars
Cereal bars are a great way for the kids (and adults) to get their servings of whole grain and fruit. But these bars can be expensive when you buy them in the store. They're also loaded with sugar and other questionable ingredients.
Making your own is easier than you think.
The trickiest part (and it's really not that tricky) is making the crust.
Here's what you'll need to make the crust:
- 1 cup coconut oil
- 1 cup agave nectar
- 2 cups oats
- I tsp. vanilla extract
- 2 eggs
- 1 tsp. salt
- 4 cups pastry flour
- 2 tsp. baking powder
You could even turn this into a yeast-based crust and make the dough in your breadmaker to save time.
The filling is so easy to make. Just blend your favorite fruit with a little bit of water.
To make your bars, roll out the dough, cut into bar-sized rectangles, place a dollop of filling in the center, fold the dough over, and seal the edges to keep the filling inside.
We bake ours at 350F for about 15-18 minutes.
4. Trail Mix
Have you seen the cost of a bag of trail mix? Furthermore, have you looked at the ingredients in these mixes?
It's incredibly easy to make your own trail mix blend, and you can add whatever ingredients you want.
- Cashews, almonds and pecans.
- Pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds and dried fruit
- Dark chocolate chunks, peanuts and pistachios.
You're only limited by your imagination and your taste buds when making your own trail mix blend. We've even added spices to our mix for a unique flavor twist.
5. Fruit Leather
I can remember eating Fruit Roll-ups as a kid, and now, my kids love them, too. But I can't bring myself to buy a snack that's loaded in sugar and preservatives. The amount of actual fruit in these snacks is questionable.
Like apple chips, fruit leather is so easy to make at home. You don't need a dehydrator either – just some parchment paper and a little time.
To make your fruit snack, puree your fruit in a blender or food processor. You can blend just one fruit, or a mixture of different fruits.
Next, line a baking sheet with parchment paper and spread the puree onto it. Make sure the puree is evenly distributed across the pan to allow for even cooking.
All that’s left to do is bake your snack at 175F for three to four hours. After two hours, check the fruit leather every 30 minutes, and remove it when it's ready. It will be done when it's dry to the touch.
Which snacks do you make at home? Share in the comments!
Bio: Joe Hughes, known by most as the Village Baker, is an expert in homestyle cooking techniques, with a primary interest in baking. He runs the very popular website, http://www.village-bakery.com, which provides the latest homestyle cooking news, techniques, tricks, and recipes. He can be reached at Joe@Village-Bakery.com.