Chewy Granola Bars In a Flash

What: Relatively no-bake Granola Bars (unless you count quickly toasting the Oats and Nuts)  that are the perfect healthier treat for your picky toddler. Customize them to your liking with easy ratios of Nuts and Dried Fruit. You could even add in ground Flax or Chia to up the nutrition content.

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When: This recipe comes together in about 15 minutes. Allow about an hour for them to firm up in the freezer before you cut them into bars.

How: You’ll need an 8 inch pyrex or small baking pan with high sides, some aluminum foil and a food processor or high powered blender. Toast Oats and Nuts in the toaster oven or conventional oven before you start the mixing process.

Why: Because Granola Bars are a good opportunity to add nutrition to your toddler’s diet. They’re handheld, chewy, and a little sweet – three things young children can resist. Still, I wanted to make the best of this opportunity and create an easy to make recipe that is as junk free as possible. That means less added sugar, and no ickies like tons of corn syrup or other sticky, nutritionally-vacant binders. Super tender Dates (we love Date Lady brand, also available on Amazon) do the trick to knit these bars together, and an hour in the freezer helps them set up. When ready to serve, bring to room temperature and slice. You can wrap them in Saran  or in an airtight container in the fridge and use them for up to 4 days.

Easy Chewy Fruit & Nut Granola Bars

Adapted from Inspired Taste

Yield: Makes about 8 Bars or 16 toddler-sized Granola “sticks”

Ingredients:

3/4 Cup very soft pitted Dates, finely chopped. If pitting yourself make sure you check them carefully after removing the pit.

2 Cups Organic Rolled Oats

1/4 Cup mixed, chopped Nuts of your choice (we used Pistachio & Walnut). For a nut-free option simply sub in the same amount of seeds such as Sunflower Seeds.

1/4 Cup chopped Dried Cranberries (or other dried fruit – i.e. Raisins, Apricots, etc)

1/4 Cup Salted Butter

1 teaspoon Honey

1/2 teaspoon good Vanilla Extract

1 teaspoon Light Brown Sugar

Method:

Preheat Oven or Toaster Oven to 350. Line an 8-inch pyrex plate or small baking pan with high sides with some aluminum foil. Mix Nuts with Oats on the foil. Toast Oats and Nuts for 5 Minutes. Take care not to burn. Remove them from the foil covered pan to a bowl and grease the foil with Oil, Cooking Spray or Butter.

Mix in Dates and Dried Cranberries.

In a small pan or the microwave, warm the Salted Butter Until Melted. Add Honey, Brown Sugar, and Vanilla Extract. Blend until all are dissolved.

Pour butter and sugar mixture over the oat/nut/fruit mixture, carefully incorporating. Remove mix to a Food Processor and process until Dates are incorporated as well as possible. You may need to scrape down the sides.

Press Mixture into foil-lined pan and remove to freezer for an hour. When ready to serve bring to room temperature, slice and enjoy!

 

Strawberry Frozen Yogurt Kebabs

What: A treat on a stick you can feel good about – today’s snack uses ingredients toddlers are unable to resist – Yogurt and Berries! Plus, have you ever found a food that comes on a stick that they don’t love?

When: When you have 5, count em, 5 minutes in which to craft your kid’s newest favorite treat. Just allow about an hour to freeze! These yummy mini pops are also a great, guilt free birthday party bite hat look impressive and take practically zero effort.

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Why: I once promised you that this wouldn’t be the blog where you’d find cutesy things like mini chia puddings in frosted mason jars, or anything that takes more than a short time to toss together. Who has the time? Certainly not your impatient toddler. I was drawn to the idea of making these healthy little kebabs because they are ready in no time flat and can have as little as 3 ingredients.

How: I purchased Wilton Lollipop Sticks on Amazon because I was smitten with the fun colors and patterns, but you could certainly find something far more basic to use. Just try and be sure whatever sticks you choose aren’t too sharp so your little one doesn’t end up poking themselves. Once you’ve dipped the Strawberries in the Yogurt mix, sprinkle with topping of your choice. Get creative with it! I chose some chopped Nuts because my son has a peanut and nut allergy yet there are a few nut varieties he can eat without an issue. For this reason, we do our best to keep them in his diet to hopefully help him remain tolerant to them.

Strawberry Frozen Yogurt Kebabs

YieldL Makes about 12

Ingredients:

One small cup, 5.3 Ounce Full Fat Greek Yogurt (for this recipe we chose Stonyfield for its consistency).

1 teaspoon sweetener of your choice – such as light Agave, Maple Syrup or our fave Honey *(Important note: Honey is only appropriate for children 1 year and up only!)

12 Large Organic Strawberries (they should always be organic where possible), hulled

Kebab Toppings of your choice- chopped Nuts, Coconut Flakes, Sprinkles, Mini Chocolate Chips

Parchment or Wax Paper

12 Popsicle or Lollipop Sticks

Method:

Line a plate or large tupperware container with parchment or wax paper

Mix your sweetener of choice in the Yogurt container

Place the Strawberries on their stick, inserting where they were hulled and continuing half way through. Don’t pierce the other end of the berry

Dip Gently into Yogurt Mix until coated, or spoon on if easier. Place on the parchment and sprinkle with toppings. Remove to the fridge for an hour and enjoy!

 

 

Super Green Veggie Patties

What: Easy do-it-yourself veggie patties modeled after a popular grocery brand.

When: When you’re looking for a  fun and clever way to get nutrition into your toddler and you’ve got about 40 minutes to spare (with very little active time). It’s also never too early to get them used to all things green.

Why: Kids just love handheld food, and if it comes in fun shapes, all the better. With today’s recipe, you’ll get more for your money and use leftover greens wisely. And don’t be afraid to try out new flavor combos using this method – my son enjoyed these both with Yams and White Potatoes. Also take the opportunity spice these up according to your little one’s preferences.

How: If you have a microwave for defrosting the spinach and baking the yam, the prep for these Patties will be super-fast. Just have your food processor ready to go to blend the baked yam and greens together. I like to make large batches Veggie Patties and freeze them. Use cookie cutters to turn these tasty green nibbles into fun, kid -friendly shapes.

Super Green Veggie Patties 

Yield: Fills about 1 8×8 square baking pan – cut into the shapes and sizes you wish

Ingredients:

10 Ounces Frozen Organic Spinach, defrosted and squeezed as dry as possible using a colander or dish towel

1 Large Yam, pierced all over and microwaved in a wet paper towel for 7 minutes until flesh is very soft.

Garlic Granules or other spices (Cinnamon is good too) as desired

1 Egg

1/8 teaspoon Salt

4 Tablespoons All-Purpose Flour

Parchment Paper

8 inch square baking pan or pyrex glass dish

Method: 

Preheat oven to 375.

Prepare Yam as above in the microwave. Scoop the flesh into a food processor. Add the defrosted Spinach and blend until smooth.

Add Egg, Salt and Spices. Blend for another 10 seconds.

Remove blended mixture to bowl and stir in the Flour as gradually as possible.

Line your baking pan with Parchment so that there is some overhang on all sides. Press Parchment into the corners of the pan.

Spread the mixture evenly into the pan – it will be about an inch thick.

Cook for 20 minutes until firm but not dry and toothpick comes out clean. Allow to cool a bit and cut into shapes using cookie cutters. Freeze or serve warm or room temperature!

Sweet Potato Waffles

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What: Delicious Waffles that help get healthy veggies into your kids. Also, since we are family dealing with several food allergies, these have a reasonable amount of Egg in them, so they’ve been a useful vehicle to get our son to, slowly but surely, tolerate it in a baked format.

What makes these extra wonderful is that they are free of added sugar and just one Waffle is quite filling so they make for a comparatively low-calorie adult breakfast. Just pop in the toaster or toaster oven. I have to thank my coworker, Lara, for sharing her recipe adaptation of these tasty and very satisfying waffles. I admit it – I love them as much as my son does!

When: Whenever you’ve got about 30 minutes to make a big batch – 6 waffles, just over three minutes each on the waffle iron.

Why: Because you don’t want to miss a chance to sneak more nutrients into the foods your kids already love. These Waffles freeze well and can be toasted up from frozen in just a minute or two. They’re a great portable work breakfast for moms and dads on the go!

How: All you need is a preheated waffle iron and the below, easy to find ingredients. If you cannot find BPA-free Canned Organic Sweet Potato, you can always prepare and mash your own Sweet Potato ahead of time. Alternately, canned pumpkin makes a great substitute.

Healthy Sweet Potato Waffles

Recipe Yields 6 Large Waffles which can be split into four quadrants (24 pieces)

One 15 Ounce Can Organic Sweet Potato Purée

1/2 Tablespoon Melted Unsalted Butter

2 Medium Egg Whites Lightly Beaten

1.5 Cups 2% Milk

1/2 Cup Flour

1 Cup Whole Wheat Flour

2 teaspoons Baking Powder

1/2 teaspoon Sea Salt

1/4 teaspoon Real Vanilla Extract

1/4 teaspoon Cinnamon

Nonstick Vegetable Spray (or extra Butter for greasing iron)

Maple Syrup, for serving

Method:

Preheat waffle iron. In large bowl combine Sweet Potatoes, Butter, Egg White, Milk. Beat well with a whisk until well blended. Add both kinds of Flour, Baking Powder, Salt and Vanilla Extract and Cinnamon.

Grease waffle iron  with spray or Butter and pour batter on. Cook until golden, crispy, and easily removable from the iron.*See note below.

*Note: We had the best results cooking these longer but on lower heat on the waffle iron- Exactly 3 minutes and 30 seconds on a moderate heat – (position 3 on a Cuisinart Iron). Cut Waffles into quadrants for your little ones, serve and enjoy!!!

Spinach Avocado Toast

Kids love bread, kids love avocados. Do the math! There’s no reason that little ones can’t take part in the latest overexposed food trend.

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Guppy’s Easy Baked Fish Bites

What: Your kid’s frozen fish sticks without all the crap.

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When: Whenever you’ve got about 25 minutes to create an almost effortless fish dinner, without the heavy oils and frying. These fish “bites” can also be frozen up to three months. Freeze in layers on wax or parchment paper to prevent sticking.

Why: Who doesn’t love an excuse to crack a bag of potato chips? This incredibly easy recipe is adapted from a dinner recipe my husband and I absolutely love, so it’s actually perfect for the whole family – but when we’re making it for babies we don’t use cod. There are lower mercury options that are much more cost effective.

How: Follow the simple toddler adaptation below and watch as your guppy gobbles up their yummy fish bites.


This recipe yields 2 hearty toddler dinners (cut recipe in half for 1 serving)

Guppy’s Easy Baked Fish Bites 

Ingredients:

2 – 6 Ounce pieces Pollock, Haddock, or other firm fleshed white fish with low mercury (review the list HERE)
Salt & Pepper

2 Cups of Salt and Vinegar Flavored Kettle Chips (choose brands with the shortest ingredient list like these)

A few small pinches Paprika
2 heaping teaspoons Light or Fat Free Mayonnaise (we like Spectrum organic brand)
Parchment Paper

Method: 
Preheat oven to 400.
Crush potato chips into fine crumbs by placing them in a plastic bag and smacking them with a blunt object. Sprinkle paprika into the potato chip crumbs and combine.

Check fillets for bones and remove if necessary. (in the adult version with cod, most bones will be down to middle/spine)

Place fish fillets on a piece of parchment in a baking dish.

Season fish fillets lightly with a pinch of salt and some pepper. Evenly spread 1 teaspoon or so of mayonnaise evenly over each fillet.

Gently press Potato Chip Crumbs all over each fillet, covering the top of them completely.
Bake for 10-12 minutes until somewhat firm and opaque.

Turn on Broiler and finish the Fish for 1.5 minutes under the Broiler to brown the crust. Keep an eye on it so it doesn’t burn. Fish is done when it is easily flaked off with a fork.

Allow to cool, and slice each fillet into bitesized portions.

Almond Butter & Fruit Waffle Fingers

Snack time is everyone’s favorite. Today’s healthy bite is kid and adult friendly. Just be sure to leave some for your little one!

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What: A healthy and fun finger food that’s hard not to love

When: Snack time, breakfast time, anytime – it’s ready in minutes!

Why: Kids love to be independent and these Waffle Fingers are easy for little hands to grab.They’ll love the taste too! Almond Butter is a healthy alternative nut butter. Be sure to check label to be sure it is made in a peanut free facility if peanut allergies are an issue.

How: Frozen Whole Grain Waffles are great to have on hand. Spread the Almond Butter very thinly (it can be a choking hazard if too thick). It makes a great “glue” to stick your child’s favorite, seasonal minced fresh fruit. Pears are great right now, so that’s what we chose.


Almond Butter & Fruit Waffle Fingers

Ingredients:
Organic Whole Grain Waffles

Almond Butter

& Minced Red Pears

Method: 

Lightly toast the frozen waffle. Thinly spread almond butter and press in minced fruit. Slice into fingers and serve!