5 Healthy Homemade Versions of Kids’ Favorite Snacks

posted: 08/13/15
by: Blythe Copeland
cute kid eating snacks

Every mom knows that a purse well-stocked with snacks is key to warding off meltdowns in long supermarket lines, at playdates, and in boring waiting rooms. But the portable, grab-and-go snacks your kids love aren't always the healthiest option when you consider the added sugar, fat, and salt in many of them. Make your own versions of these favorites to control the ingredients--and ward off a meltdown of your own.

1. Granola bars

The oats, nuts, and dried fruit in granola bars make them a healthy snack, but the added sugar and preservatives in store-bought versions can counteract the good stuff. Try the Barefoot Contessa's recipe, packed with oatmeal, almonds, coconut, wheat germ, dates, dried apricots, and cranberries, or keep it simple with five-ingredient granola bars from the Minimalist Baker.

2. Goldfish crackers

The original cheesy, salty crackers may be the ultimate snack for toddlers (and we know plenty of parents known to sneak a few, too). Give goldfish a homemade makeover by using whole wheat flour and adding onion powder using this recipe from Smitten Kitchen, or make a more traditional version from Tasty Kitchen. You can use a tiny goldfish cookie cutter to get the same look, but they're just as delicious in any shape your kids like.

3. Fruit leather

Haven't had a Fruit Roll-Up since the days of lunch in the elementary school cafeteria? Revisit this childhood classic with a DIY version from the Food Network using just three ingredients: fruit, sugar, and lemon juice. It's not a quick process -- expect to simmer the ingredients for abut 45 minutes, and then bake for three hours -- but having the choice to use any fruit you want (including peaches, raspberries, apples, or mangos) will make up for the time you spend cooking.

4. Graham crackers

Graham crackers are one of the most versatile treats to stock in your pantry: use them for s'mores, crush them for dessert crusts, spread them with jelly or peanut butter, or layer them with ice cream for a frozen treat. And you can find nearly endless ways to customize them at home: Alton Brown's traditional recipe makes a classic cracker; Martha Stewart uses whole wheat flour and wheat germ; and the how-to from King Arthur Flour adds a cinnamon sugar glaze for a boost of sweetness.

5. Applesauce

Making your own applesauce isn't complicated, but the first step -- peeling, coring, and slicing all the fruit -- is definitely more labor intensive than picking up a jar at the store. But using fresh fall apples, cooking them slowly on the stove, and adding your favorite spices (this recipe from The Pioneer Woman suggests cinnamon, brown sugar, nutmeg, allspice, or maple syrup) will give you a finished product tastier than any you can buy at the supermarket.