Kids do not need to use the oven to cook. Teaching children how to prepare their own healthy snacks empowers them to take charge of their nutrition. The use of fruit and vegetables and the omission of high-calorie, high-fat and high-sugar foods make these no-bake snacks healthier than packaged crisps.
Rather than turning on the oven, make cookies without baking. The basic recipe calls for eight crushed sheets of graham crackers to be stirred into 1/4 cup of peanut butter and shaped into cookies. Adding 2 2/3 tbsp of honey is optional to the recipe, but it increases the sweetness. Substitute reduced-fat cream cheese, chocolate hazelnut spread, or honey peanut butter for the peanut butter to bind together the graham cracker crumbs. If you use cream cheese instead of peanut butter, the cookies must be kept refrigerated. Add up to 1/4 cup of chopped nuts, dried fruit or chocolate chips for added sweetness and texture. Opt for whole grain graham crackers, but you can also use cinnamon or chocolate graham crackers to change up the recipe to make it your own.
No-Bake Marshmallow Squares
One of the most common no-bake treats is the cereal marshmallow square made from melting butter and marshmallows and stirring in crispy rice cereal. These are high in sugar from the marshmallows and low in fibre. Create your own version that kids can make in the microwave, without baking. Replace the crispy rice cereal in the original recipe with a high-fibre cereal such as toasted oats or raisin bran. Reduce the amount of marshmallows needed and add peanut butter for extra protein and healthy fats. Combine 1/3 cup of peanut butter, 2 tbsp butter and 3 cups of miniature marshmallows in a microwave-safe bowl. Heat the mixture on high power for three to five minutes, stopping to stir the mixture after each minute. Stir in 6 cups of high-fibre or whole grain cereal into the melted marshmallow mix and press into a greased pan until they cool and harden.
Roll Up Snacks
Kids and pizza go together like salt and pepper. Instead of turning on the oven for a pizza fix, kids make their own hand-held version with a tortilla. Kids spread marinara or pizza sauce over a whole grain tortilla. Offer them reduced-fat shredded mozzarella cheese and vegetable toppings to add to the top of the "pizza." Alternatively, microwave the tortilla pizza for 10 to 30 seconds on high power or until the cheese melts. The kids roll up their own tortilla and enjoy the pizza-flavoured roll up snack. Cut the rolled-up tortilla in half or in quarters for younger children to better hold it together while they eat.
Kids can make their own sandwiches for a hearty snack. This "monkey sandwich" gets its name from the use of a banana instead of a hot dog wiener inside of a whole grain hot dog roll. Offer the kids peanut butter or reduced-fat cream cheese to spread on the inside of the hot dog roll. These spreads hold the banana in place and add extra protein to the snack. Let the kids peel the banana and place the whole fruit into the hot dog roll as they would a hot dog wiener. Eat the sandwich like a hot dog or top it with a drizzle of jam or honey for extra sweetness.