It's been a long time in between posts here. I've been too busy enjoying my break before school goes back next month. The kids and I have also been very busy smashing candies "Candy Crush Saga" style.
Here's a question I get asked a lot, in social media and also in my personal life.
What are some quick gluten free/sugar free snacks to feed the kids.
Firstly I must point out that my kids do not have Coeliac disease (that we know of) and do eat wheat from time to time. But they (and I) do enjoy lots of gluten free snacks.
Now that two of the kids are at school, there is less time during the day for them to be whinging at me for food. But god, a few years back they used to drive me batty with their constant requests for food. WHY ARE THEY SO HUNGRY?
Now my 2 year old opens the fridge and will stare at it for hours if I didn't tell her the fridge might blow up if she leaves the door open.
So here are my top snack options for kids
1. Nuts! My 2 year old eats a lot of nuts. She has her faves. She likes the most expensive ones (of course). Macadamia's are popular in our house, along with raw almonds and raw cashews. You want your nuts raw if possible. Beware of nuts which may have been roasted in a seed or vegetable oil. Heck you can even activate them if you have time. Alternatively you can buy them raw and roast them yourself.
2. Cheese. We love us some expensive cheese. We have some posho kids at our place. Kids like "hole" cheese, otherwise known as Jarlsberg cheese. My son likes parmesan cheese. My 2 year old will knock off a whole of wheel of Cambembert or Brie. They also have cheddar. Cheese is great because a good slice will fill them up.
3. Baked goods which have been made and frozen. If you're a busy mum, then I'm guessing you probably don't have the time to bake everyday. I love big batch baking. Make something you know the kids love and freeze them. Just about any wheat recipe can be made gluten free, using the appropriate flours. Just as any recipe can be made sugar free. I love savoury muffins for kids. Fill them with cheese and vegetables. Zucchini muffins are a favourite in this house. Make a few different types so the kids don't get sick of the same one over and over again. Make some sweet ones and make them sugar free. Get what you need out of the freezer each day and defrost them slowly so you're not having to use the microwave every single time.
4. Vegetable sticks - carrots, celery, fennel can be dipped in a yummy dip. If you have a Thermomix, it's easy to whip up a batch of hummus. A dip that is popular in my house is a block of cream cheese mixed in with spring onions and garlic and a little milk to thin it out.
5. Sushi is a great option but it can be time consuming. If you have rice left over from a meal you can just use that in between some nori and fill it up with whatever protein you have and some vegetables.
6. Polenta is great and very easy to make. Here is how I make it. If I don't have chicken stock I just use salt and water. Polenta needs to be seasoned VERY WELL otherwise you'll be eating a cardboard tasting equivalent. You can serve it warm straight out of the pot or let it set in a rectangular dish and cut out little "chips". Warm these in the oven, grill them or fry them off and serve. Polenta keeps well in the fridge for about a week.
7. Popcorn. Possibly the best ever gluten free snack known to mankind. I'm not talking about popcorn you buy in bags from the supermarket that are cooked in vegetable oil! YUCK. Buy a popcorn maker at Kmart for a few bucks and pop the damn kernels yourself. Coat it with melted butter and salt and watch the kids go nuts. My popcorn maker sits permanently on our kitchen bench.
8. These muesli bars are great and also lunchbox friendly
9. Fruit is easy and convenient. But it's easy to give the kids too much. No more than 2 pieces of fruit a day. David Gillespie says no more than 1 piece a day for kids. Do what's best for you.
10. Eggs! Hard boiled eggs are delish! We like them with the yolk still a little gooey. Add a little salt or dip them in some home made mayo. Frittata makes an easy and delicious meal and snack which will go a couple of days in the fridge. I add cream to my egg mixture and throw in whatever you can find lurking about in the fridge.
11. Yoghurt! Full fat Greek yoghurt with no added sugar can be a delicious treat for the kids. Jazz it up a bit with putting in some berries, nuts, fruit or even some steamed fruit. Adding cream into it is also delicious.
12. Custard! Do you have a Thermomix? Making custard in one of these babies is easy. Custard lasts a few days. If you add some cocoa or cacao you have yourself a chocolate custard which beats any crap you can buy at the supermarket. There are many alternatives to sweeten without using fructose. Look at dextrose, stevia, Natvia or Rice Malt Syrup. Put them in little containers for the kids to take to school.
If you're stuck for ideas, have a look at the recipe section above.